Yay summer!

  • This initiative to provide college students with real money to donate to local causes as part of coursework on philanthropy sounds totally amazing. As Robert Egger (of DC Central Kitchen) says, “just being asked what they think is HUGE” for under 30s, and “it is even more appreciated if you really listen.” And hey – besides being a great learning experience for the students, it’s a way for the funders involved to outsource a portion of their program operations for a fraction of the cost. An idea the right and left can love!
  • If you’re in the lucky position of trying to figure out where your own charitable dollars should go, GiveWell is out with its 2008-09 Report on International Aid Charities. In an amazingly (and for them, typically) thorough process, Holden Karnofsky and Elie Hassenfeld give VillageReach and Stop Tuberculosis Partnership their highest ratings.
  • I had to laugh when I saw that this (otherwise very helpful) timeline of “the pivotal moments in the development of America’s philanthropic sector,” published by Charity Navigator, just happens to include “moments” like “Charity Navigator is launched to help charitable givers make intelligent giving decisions” (2002) and “With evaluations of over five thousand charities, Charity Navigator is the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities” (2008). Think this was prepared by the marketing department?
  • Nice post on the nature of artistic quality from August Schulenberg of the Flux Theater Ensemble.
    Excellence in theatre is often a matter of a beat longer, a foot farther, a minute faster, a line shorter, a turn away, a word that echoes, a gesture that lingers, a blackout that came a moment too late, a sound cue a hair too loud, a gel just pale enough, a set piece that finally makes a scene playable. We see each others work and we make judgements about these decisions, but we often don’t talk about these choices, even within our own company, let alone outside of it.

    As I get ready to further explore research literature on the arts, I’d like to think more broadly about how the quality of artistic experiences affects their impact, and if it can be isolated from “value” (or, as I would call it, “taste”) the way that Schulenberg describes.

  • The jury may still be out on opportunities for women in theater, but female nonprofit executives are paid 27% less than men in Central Florida, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. (And a Guidestar report on charities nationwide found the gap to be 34.8%.)
  • Researcher danah boyd says that Facebook is not so much dominating Myspace as drawing all of the white, affluent, educated users away from it. Rather than eradicating social divisions, according to boyd, social media is “making the old divisions obvious in totally new ways.” boyd’s work seems on cursory investigation more anecdotal than data-driven (though maybe I just missed the charts and graphs), but this assessment fits with what I’ve observed online, and it’s interesting to think about why.
  • Whoa, the former finance chief for the Dutch national arts funding body is the subject of an international police hunt? He’s accused of stealing 15.5 million euros from the agency.
  • Two more entrants to the microphilanthropy field.
  • Tony Wang speaks of the potential for better information sharing in philanthropy. (Amen to that!)
  • Seth Godin takes a shot at Malcom Gladwell for his negative review of Chris Anderson’s Free. Meanwhile, the magic flow of free information that is Twitter brings you this remarkable music video that was put together on a budget of $0 (sort of).
  • My old friends at Sequenza21 land a coup: their newest video blogger is none other than violinist uberstar Hilary Hahn. I’ve long been a fan of Hilary not just for her playing, but for her extraordinarily articulate and open public persona — she was effectively one of the first classical musicians to have a blog, which you can read here. For her first installment, Hilary interviewed the multitalented Judd Greenstein, composer and head of New Amsterdam Records.