Impact investing has been on a lot of people’s minds lately in philanthropy, including ours. We are curious about how different foundations imagine and develop their strategies, and the Heron Foundation is one funder that’s been a real leader in this area. As we’ve previously reported, Heron is working to move its full endowment of some $300 million into investments that align with its mission by the end of 2017.To learn more about what Heron is up to, we got on the phone with Toni Johnson, who is a vice president charged with forging the path for Heron’s long-term public influence and engagement strategy.
Scholars like Benjamin Friedman have demonstrated that economic growth helps drive any number of positive trends: improved human rights, better health, women’s empowerment, higher education attainment, and on and on.
Historically, though, explicit efforts to foster growth haven’t been all that high on the agenda of a philanthropic world that cares about all the things I just mentioned. In particular, funders haven’t tended to do a lot in the way of supporting entrepreneurs, whose new businesses create many of the new jobs that propel growth. Meanwhile, small business has been on the decline in the U.S. for the last decade, a trend that was greatly accelerated by the Great Recession, with new business creation plunging by 30 percent in the wake of the economic crash.
Youth unemployment is a national problem that is now squarely on the agenda of funders. Just the other day, we wrote about a new initiative spearhead by Starbucks and its CEO Howard Schultz to provide jobs and opportunities to 100,000 young people. We’ve also written about a range of other philanthropic efforts to bolster the work readiness of young people.
Two themes stand out in these initiatives: One, most look beyond the concrete skills of young Americans, or what jobs are available to them, to a deeper, more complex problem—the alienation of many young people from the mainstream world of work and the challenges they face in engaging with this world.
The internet is a great platform to voice your ideas and advocate for social change. Kiersten Marek, writer for news website Inside Philanthropy, uses CoPromote to spread her knowledge and connect with other like minded individuals. Using real life experience, she brings different perspective on many issues. Check out the chat we had with Kiersten below about her content, and the issues she is most passionate about!
The desire to be a journalist — to tell the stories that inspire feeling and change lives — usually kicks in fairly early in life. Many of us discover in high school that a source of great meaning and gratification comes from being able to communicate with others through writing or another form of media.
Which foundations support youth journalism in its many current incarnations, which now include blogging, videography, Youtubing and podcasting? Which foundations should grant seekers for youth turn to if they want to do the work of cultivating media and journalism for young minds?
If you’ve been reading Inside Philanthropy lately, you know that a number of tech companies and leaders have stepped forward in the past year to address gender issues in tech with philanthropic initiatives. Awareness on this issue is finally growing, although change is still slow.
Now imagine that you are lesbian or transgender. The lack of representation for these minorities in the tech world is not even tracked for data, but based on the experiences of trans and lesbian people in the field, the need for more work on equity for this group is very real. With a high level of isolation and very few role models, lesbian and transgender folks face added challenges in starting and maintaining careers in the tech industry.
The concept of resilience is a great one to have planted in your brain early, and in fact, studies have shown that the more you know about and think about your own psychological resilience, the stronger you can become. But let’s face it—many people don’t really know what resilience means.
So what is resilience? It’s a term most frequently applied in the psychological and medical lingo, describing a person’s ability to withstand extreme hardship, trauma, or illness. The idea is that, constitutionally, people with more resilience are stronger.