Archive for philanthropy

Patient Philanthropy in Northern Ireland

The recent news out of Northern Ireland, although momentarily obscured by the March 17 celebrations, signals such a profound change in attitudes there that it made me stop and think. A number of years, all right decades, ago, I first got involved in philanthropy because of the terrible conditions in Northern Ireland. “The Troubles,” and various eruptions of inter-religious and political conflict had caught children in the cross-fire, figuratively and literally. Children trapped in gritty neighborhoods, walled off from their counterparts of a different religion, had few safe places to play, and grew up with no opportunity to encounter other faces, different viewpoints.

Many Americans, with wonderful intentions, began to bring children from Northern Ireland to live with their families for summer holidays. Their hope was that the guests would begin to understand a more open outlook, and at least enjoy a brief respite from the violence and hatred that pervaded their lives. Elsewhere, in Irish-American communities, funds were raised for the care of children in the North, and for the welfare of families whose husbands and fathers were imprisoned or killed in the conflict – which took thousands of lives and inflicted pain on countless others.

The problem with these collections, though, was that some of them were simply vehicles to raise money for guns – literally perpetuating the problem, not the solution. And even the well-intentioned holidays for children had a downside: often the child returned home to resentment from siblings or playmates. And the conditions from which they’d had a brief respite hadn’t changed. Yet these children bore the burden of expectations that they’d be individual ambassadors for peace, all on their own.

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The CauseWired Roundup

The CauseWired Roundup

CauseWired on Leading Podcast: How Nonprofits Can Use the Web to Create Real Causes

Corey Pudhorodsky has been producing the excellent 501c3cast, which deals with a wide range of issues in philanthropy and nonprofit management, since 2005 – and this week, I was honored to be his special guest on the 107th in this eminently NPR-worthy program. You can listen via the player below, but be sure to click through to Corey’s show notes and to sample the vast archive of essential programming – the 501c3cast really is a vital channel for any nonprofit leader.

I was also pleased to participate in a terrific panel on “Government by the People 2.0” hosted by the New York Software Industry Association last night in New York. Chaired by Howard Greenstein, my fellow panelists included Micah Sifry of the Personal Democracy Forum, Rachel Stern of, and Josh Levy of Over at his excellent Political Gastronomica blog, wired political consultant Sanford Dickert has a terrific live-blog of the panel (and includes his own observations).

Cause UnWired

Today’s New York Times has a wonderful column about peer-to-peer philanthropy: an effort in Ohio to provide targeted aid in response to requests from needy folks needing a little assistance over the holidays in very tough economic times.

But don’t look for it online: the year was 1933, and the economic downturn was the Great Depression.

Yet the system used by one mystery philanthropist in Canton, Ohio was amazingly like today’s red-hot micro-philanthropy models. Read the rest of this entry »

Mark Your Calendars: Live Chronicle Discussion

Next Tuesday I’ll be hosting a live lunchtime discussion online for the Chronicle of Philanthropy as part of their terrific Chronicle Live series. The “talk” gets underway at noon EST at the Live site. We’ll be discussing online social activism, digital story-telling, and some tips for foundations and nonprofits in staying ahead of the game – and I’ll share a story or two from my new book, CauseWired. Really hope to see you there!

Live From New York…It’s CauseWired!

We’re rolling out CauseWired in panel discussion form at the fifth annual Summit onPhilanthropy in New York on Tuesday. Joining me to discuss the topic (what else?) “CauseWired: Plugging In, Getting Involved, Changing the World” will be an all-star group of social media activism experts. Dig this lineup:

The Summit, which I created with editor-in-chief Susan Carey Dempsey, is an invitation-only conference of approximately 300 CEOs of leading nonprofit organizations; corporate, foundation and individual philanthropists; and leading companies serving the nonprofit sector. It’s sponsored by our company, Changing Our World, Inc. and also includes a keynote speech by Robert C. Orr, Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Planning and Policy Coordination of the United Nations.

Other speakers will include Susan Smith Ellis, CEO of (RED), Frank Kurre of Grant Thornton, Nancy Mahon, Executive Director of the MAC AIDS Fund, Mario Morino, the co-founder & Chairman of Venture Philanthropy Partners, Chronicle of Philanthropy editor Stacy Palmer, Sam Daley-Harris of the Microcredit Summit Campaign and Contribute Magazine editor Marcia Stepanek.

I’m looking forward to the panel, the first public roll-out of the book’s title and premise. And it’ll no doubt add to the text, which remains very much an intensive work in progress.