Looking over the horizon
January 10th, 2008When I want to read about trends in the world of philanthropy, measuring impact and more thoughtful and provocative commentary, I turn to Lucy Bernholz's blog and other writings. Her link is on the side of this page - and here. I am also currently enjoying a reenergized discussion on the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) listserv spurred on by Seattle SVP executive director, Paul Shoemaker on the nonprofit capital market which is an extension of a great discussion from last year on providing operating support to nonprofits. That discussion led to an action guide published by GEO!
Well - because I have been SO consumed by community "politics" and some pretty nasty power struggles, I haven't lifted my head to go to my favorite blogs and listservs to read what is happening in the larger world of philanthropy! So what have I missed? The notion of "embedded philanthropy" - seems to be a reconstituted social marketing effort from 20 years ago. And I've missed much more.
So as I was looking beyond the borders of Kent County, lo and behold there is an article in this morning's edition of The New York Times about two former hedge fund analysts who have created an entity that measures the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations in their missions and programs. Here's the link.
I dug into the links provided in the article and have three initial observations - and I will continue to follow this and learn more:
1) Go to GiveWell.net website and read the bios of the two young men who are on the journey of creating this entity. Describing themselves as spending years in analyzing hedge funds, I guess really says it well regarding hedge funds - - - both graduated in the past 3 years or so from Ivy League schools and then became hedge fund analysts. They are 26 years old. Let's hope wisdom will follow.
2) Charity Navigator's president, Trent Stamp, commented on GiveWell's system and approach - he doesn't seem too pleased. This is interesting given the fact that many endowment building organizations like community foundations have tried to impressed upon Charity Navigator for years the limitations of their approach to measure nonprofits' performance.
3) The aforementioned person - Lucy Bernholz - is on the board of the Clear Fund which was created by the two former hedge fund analysts to help fund their evaluation effort. I trust that she will guide them well . . .
I think I'll come up more often and take a look around!