LearnPhilanthropy Team's Blog

Submitted by LearnPhilanthro... on March 12, 2012
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LearnPhilanthropy's Content Partners have caught our attention with the following great resources. All are at the intersection of learning and philanthropy, for greater impact:


"Joining Forces: Funder Collaboratives for International Projects" GrantCraft hosted a free webinar to explore how funder collaboratives can help grantmakers aim for larger goals, distribute risks, learn together, and achieve greater impact. Produced in partnership with the Africa Grantmakers' Affinity Group, the discussion was moderated by Foundation Center President Bradford Smith and featured speakers from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Firelight Foundation, New Field Foundation, and the Wallace Global Fund.

National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

"Leveraging Limited Dollars: How Grantmakers Achieve Tangible Results by Funding Policy and Community Engagement" This report distills findings from research amassed over three years as part of NCRP’s Grantmaking for Community Impact Project (GCIP). The project documented $26.6 billion in benefits for taxpayers and communities in 13 states, and found that every dollar grantmakers and other donors invested in policy and civic engagement provided a return of $115 in community benefit.

Grantmakers for Effective Organizations

"Reframing the Conversation: A GEO Briefing Paper Series on Growing Social Impact" Authored by Dara Major and other contributors, the collection pulls together the best thinking, research and actionable approaches to scaling impact, and provides additional resources for grantmakers that seek a deeper dive into these concepts and questions.

Submitted by Dara Major on February 29, 2012
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Philanthropy rocks! There's a whole lot of collective intelligence in this community. How can we, together, get better at tapping into and using it?

As the LearnPhilanthropy team member leading our knowledge and content efforts (including framing initial ideas about what this collaborative network might support, and identifying relevant knowledge frameworks and content areas), I’ve taken a deeply engaged, social learning network approach – facilitating conversations with and capturing collective reflections by a really diverse community of stakeholders.

We're kicking social learning up a notch through LearnPhilanthropy's prototype platform, and excited about launching this new resource... soon. Meanwhile, with your help, we're putting some cornerstones in place.

Big thanks to the more than 30 practitioners who, over just the last couple of months, have helped to inform and give shape to what we believe is the first general-purpose, field-wide taxonomy focused squarely on grantmaker learning. This “Real Simple Taxonomy” is a highly iterative work-in-progress, more user-generated folksonomy than the traditionally hierarchical taxonomy. Over time, it will be used to help inform search, browse, and whole lot of other activities on the platform.

But taxonomy is not the same thing as navigation!

Though we hope this entire taxonomy will make it into the platform.... to date, only a small slice of the taxonomy has actually been baked in to the platform pie. Most keyword topics or tags are not operational yet. That work is proceeding on a parallel but much longer technology execution timeline. Ditto re supporting contributions of additional tags and taxonomies by our community of users. In other words, this is a multi-faceted work in progress. (Oh to have Google's development budget!)

Our Real Simple Taxonomy co-creators so far have come from, to name just a few places: Center for Effective Philanthropy, Fleishhacker Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, McCormick Foundation, and the Southeastern Council of Foundations. Thanks to all for taking a deep dive with us.

The latest version of the Real Simple Taxonomy is HERE !! It includes the complete set of key topics, or tags, such as due diligence, strategy, and capacity building... clustered into a few simple buckets. All contributed and road-tested by our co-creators.

Check it out! And if you have a taxonomy to share or would like to get involved, please do leave a comment or contact me at info@learnphilanthropy.net.

Submitted by BADemarest on February 21, 2012
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Thanks to Career Strategist and Master Certified Coach Michele Woodward who kindly allowed us to re-publish her recent blog post.


On Being Kind

Meaning and purpose.


The power of choice.

Defeating stress.

How to listen.

These are all topics you and I have been talking together about so far this year. All topics I think are vital for success in today's world of work. And there's another important one I want to raise with you right now:

It helps to be kind.

I know, I'm a hopeless optimist. Because we all know, as Leo Durocher famously said, "Nice guys finish last". Guess what? A new study even seems to support that idea. The study found thatdisagreeable men made about $10,000 more a year than more agreeable men.

The big difference between agreeable people and disagreeable people seems to be the extent to which agreeable folks will go to preserve relationships.

Agreeable people will bend over backwards to prevent discord, difficult conversations or hard feelings.

And often lose something important in the attempt. When I'm overly agreeable, I lose my autonomy. My personhood. My ability to think for myself. My ability to advocate for myself.

Hey, I don't want you to lose. Really. So let me offer a slight re-definition and shift that might give you a different perspective.

You see, in my mind, there's an important difference between being overly agreeable and being kind.

It's kind to offer advice, support and guidance to someone as they work through a challenging project at work.

It's overly agreeable when  I take over the project at the last moment when you drop the ball - and you take full credit for the end result.

It's kind when I give a chance to a kid looking for her first job.

It's overly agreeable when I make room for the Area Vice President's shiftless, idiot nephew in my department.

It's kind to remind the boss when I'm going to be on vacation, and create a plan to make sure everything's covered in my absence.

It's overly agreeable to take work with me on vacation.

It's kind when I quietly draw you aside and whisper that you have spinach in your teeth.

It's overly agreeable to pick the spinach out for you.

Note the distinction?

That's why the modern workplace could use more kindness and less at "any costs" agreeableness. I'm not saying we go all Meryl-Streep-in-The-Devil-Wears-Prada - in fact, the economic difference between agreeable and disagreeable women in the study was negligible. Researchers remind women: "Nice girls might not get rich, but 'mean' girls do not do much better. Even controlling for human capital, marital status, and occupation, highly disagreeable women do not earn as much as highly agreeable men."

The thing is this: too many of us - overly agreeable men and agreeable women - bring to work all of our childhood "stuff" about being good and making everything right and smoothing relationships so no one yells at us, or tells us we're big disappointments, or grounds us on Homecoming weekend.

We operate from fear, people. Which puts us at a disadvantage right from the start.

We've got to knock that off. Right away.

Because overly agreeable men and overly agreeable women lose when we mistake agreement with kindness. We lose money, we lose opportunity, we lose values, we lose ownership, we lose, lose, lose.

So, let's re-define.  Kindness means: 

Having an opinion.

Listening to the opinions others and respectfully disagreeing if that's the way it is.

Saying no sometimes.

Saying yes only sometimes.

Appropriately helping.

Taking the risk to be fully yourself.

Truly kind leaders - regardless of their position on the org chart - are the ones we all remember. They're the ones we are grateful to. Who are our most memorable mentors.

They're the ones who make a difference.

Know what? That can be you.

You can leave a truly indelible legacy.

It all starts with kindness.

Submitted by Dara Major on February 9, 2012
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The level of personal giving in the U.S. hovers at 2-3% of income. According to GivingUSA's most recent study, in 2010 "Americans contributed about 2 percent of disposable personal income to philanthropic causes, a number that has remained remarkably consistent over the decades, regardless of economic climate."

The organization Bolder Giving is trying to increase that - and inspired the billionaire Giving Pledge - by encouraging people of all backgrounds to:

  • Give More - increase their giving as a percent of income, assets or business profits;
  • Risk More - shift how they give by exploring opportunities to give collaboratively, to communities besides their own, to social change and entrepreneurial efforts; and
  • Inspire More - spark discussions about giving with others and share their giving stories to provide a catalyst for new conversations.

Bolder Giving and Tides are holding an event in San Francisco on February 22, 2012 to share details about their collaborative work - if you're interested in learning more and in the Bay Area, rsvp & drop by!  Or join one of Bolder Giving's free monthly teleconferences with a bold giver.

Submitted by BADemarest on February 7, 2012
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The Council on Foundations has set an early application deadline of February 20, 2012 for its Career Pathways leadership program. Career Pathways is a twelve-month experience that seeks to increase the number of candidates from diverse backgrounds in the philanthropic leadership pipeline.

The program is conducted annually for approximately a dozen mid-career professionals who have a serious interest in pursuing executive and senior leadership positions in philanthropy.

The program was developed as a response to the field's commitment to diversity and inclusion practices. For the purposes of the program, "diversity" encompasses but is not limited to ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation and identification, age, economic circumstance, class, disability, geography, and philosophy.

The Career Pathways program is open to individuals currently employed in COF-member and non-member grantmaking institutions and foundations. Those working outside philanthropy may also submit applications which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Self-nominations are not permissible.

Invitations to participate in Career Pathways are highly competitive, and the offer is based on the strength of the individual's application, nominations, leadership experience, and potential. Participants must commit to fully participate in and prepare for all program learning sessions and related programs and activities. While there is no programmatic cost, if selected participants are responsible for their own accommodation and transportation expenses.

For more information or to complete the RFP, visit the Council on Foundations website.

Click here to read a related LearnPhilanthropy post by Elizabeth Myrick.