What Surprises Me about Human Rights Grantmaking

When your job centers on helping funders assess needs, devise strategies, and manage and evaluate their grantmaking, you wish that every field would have a resource like Advancing Human Rights: Update on Global Foundation Grantmaking. Since IHRFG and Foundation Center launched this series four years ago—and added an interactive website three years ago—I have made regular use of these tools to understand levels of foundation engagement within and at the intersection of issues ranging from women’s rights in the Global South to environmental justice in the United States. This research has also been invaluable in helping the foundations I work with to see just how many peers and practitioners have aligned interests and could become partners in realizing their goals.

That is why I was surprised when I sat down to read the 2017 Edition of the Advancing Human Rights report. I realized that in using these resources to answer my very specific, client-focused questions, I had been missing some findings and trends that are beginning to reshape my thinking about foundation support for human rights. Continue reading

How to Strengthen Your Family Foundation’s Impact

As with all foundations, family foundations work to have a meaningful and measurable impact on social problems. But they also have a second, unique purpose: to serve as a unifying vehicle for multiple generations, providing opportunities for family members to share philanthropic interests. Establishing this cohesion can be accomplished by Continue reading

Game-Changing Philanthropy: Is Sean Parker the Daenerys Targaryen of Philanthropy?

Dany: I’m not going to stop the wheel. I’m going to break the wheel. −Game of Thrones, Season 5, Episode 8.

In his characteristically splashy way, Sean Parker made headlines recently by coining a new phrase: “philanthropy for hackers.” His Wall Street Journal op-ed (which also marked the unveiling of his new private foundation) outlines some basic ways that “hacker philanthropy” is a departure from the past. Continue reading