Commentary and Opinion

Philanthropy News Digest invites opinion and commentary on topics of importance to the philanthropic sector. For more information, contact Kyoko Uchida, PND's features editor, at kyu@foundationcenter.org.

Helping Low-Income Students Gain College Access AND Success

Helping Low-Income Students Gain College Access AND Success

William Goodloe   |   September 18, 2014

As children across the country headed back to school this fall, the United States reached a milestone of sorts: nearly half the children enrolled in public schools now come from low-income families. As the public school population in the U.S. grows poorer, the need to improve college access and success for low-income students grows ever more acute....

Making School Choice Work Requires New Cross-Sector Investments

Making School Choice Work Requires New Cross-Sector Investments

Robin Lake   |   September 15, 2014

As many thoughtful education reform advocates now admit, public school choice has created new possibilities for families desperate for better options. But it can also create significant access challenges for disadvantaged families. In cities where many state and local agencies oversee district and charter schools, fragmented governance makes solving those challenges especially difficult....

How Philanthropy Can Help Unaccompanied Child Refugees Now

How Philanthropy Can Help Unaccompanied Child Refugees Now

Daranee Petsod   |   August 19, 2014

Ten-year-old Lucinda sits alone in a courtroom awaiting her fate. In front of her is a judge who will decide whether she is deported to her native Honduras. At the opposite table sits an experienced attorney advocating for her deportation. Her case will be argued in English, a language she does not speak. No one sits beside her....

Philanthropy, Diversity, and Equity

Philanthropy, Diversity, and Equity

Susan Taylor Batten   |   July 24, 2014

In May, the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE), in partnership with the Black Philanthropic Network, released the report The Exit Interview: Perceptions on Why Black Professionals Leave Grantmaking Institutions (21 pages, PDF)....

Charities and the 'Compassion Gap'

Charities and the 'Compassion Gap'

Mark Rosenman   |   July 18, 2014

Any traces of the "compassionate conservatism" championed by George W. Bush in the early days of his administration has long since evaporated under the heat of Republican extremism....

NGO-Run Schools: Three Ways to Increase Value

NGO-Run Schools: Three Ways to Increase Value

Maude Bourassa, Shujaat Wasty   |   July 15, 2014

It's no secret that international development work has more than its share of challenges, especially when it involves a project that espouses a long-term goal such as improving access to or the quality of education. While some schools run by nongovernmental organizations fare better than others, most experience varied levels of success, depending on a range of factors. While many of these factors lie beyond the control of NGOs, others can be addressed at the local level....

Game-Changing Philanthropy Through Funder Collaboration

Game-Changing Philanthropy Through Funder Collaboration

Leslie Boissiere, Patrick Corvington   |   June 5, 2014

Philanthropy has spent decades focused on achieving good outcomes with not enough to show when it comes to population-level impact on intergenerational poverty. It's clear that to achieve better results, we need to change the way we do our work.

As we ask nonprofits to collaborate to ensure better alignment and more secure hand-offs between and among programs, we funders have got to be prepared to do the same....

Aligning Investments in Water Quality

Aligning Investments in Water Quality

Nathan Boon   |   May 29, 2014

One of the most exciting aspects of philanthropy is the prospect of effecting systematic change, yet many of us in the sector often struggle with the scale of the systems we’re trying to influence. Certainly this is true in environmental philanthropy....

Time to Put Poverty Back on the Education Reform Agenda

Time to Put Poverty Back on the Education Reform Agenda

Kent McGuire   |   May 19, 2014

Nearly half of all public school students in the nation and a majority in Western and Southern states are low-income and qualify for free and reduced lunch — and an increasing percentage of those are students of color....

Nonprofits and Oligarchy

Nonprofits and Oligarchy

Mark Rosenman   |   April 29, 2014

The Supreme Court's recent campaign finance ruling is fraught with irony for lovers of democracy, underscoring as it does the fact that the United States is becoming more and more like Russia, where wealthy oligarchs dominate the political system as well as the marketplace....

Thinking of Starting Your Own Nonprofit? Think Again.

Thinking of Starting Your Own Nonprofit? Think Again.

Susan Danish   |   April 21, 2014

Every year, Americans start thousands of nonprofit organizations. Some are dedicated to eradicating disease, others to addressing social issues such as poverty, homelessness, or gun violence....

Financing Sustainable Development Around the World

Financing Sustainable Development Around the World

Tensie Whelan   |   April 10, 2014

More than two billion people around the world are dependent for their livelihoods on five hundred million smallholder farms. Yet these smallholder farmers, who typically have less than five acres under cultivation, operate far below their potential because they lack access to the technical assistance and credit they need to implement better farm management practices....