July 4, 2017 From the President

Summer 2017: Time To Read!

As you head off for summer holidays, or simply clear your desks for a little catch up reading on issues and topics in philanthropy that you haven’t had time for in the busy season, I offer some suggestions for summer reading. Whether focused on how a foundation runs, or what roles are played by organized philanthropy, or indeed what people are thinking about in the philanthropy world, we hope this will be useful to you. Enjoy the break!

  • Frameworks for Private Foundations: A New Model for Impact.This GrantCraft paper produced in partnership with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) has just been published. It offers a useful exploration of the “theory of the foundation”, including models of a foundation charter, accountabilities and required operating capabilities. It also offers a roadmap for funders interested in reflecting on how core frameworks can better align purpose, public benefit, and action.
  • Benchmarking Program Officer Roles and Responsibilities. This is a new survey report from the Center for Effective Philanthropy aimed at foundation leaders and grant managers and focusing a role that is important but under-researched. It provides some interesting comparative information about the structure of the program officer role and program officers’ perspectives on aspects of their work, such as the funder-grantee dynamic.
  • A new book on organized philanthropy that has had a good deal of attention this year is David Callahan’s The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age. For a very thoughtful discussion of the ideas in the book check out the four-part book forum on HistPhil. As the editors explain, at HistPhil, we were keenly interested not only in the content of the book but in its reception as a way to understand how leading thinkers approach the questions regarding philanthropy, freedom, and civic equality that Callahan raises. To that end, we asked a few of those thinkers to weigh in with their responses to The Givers; we then added some thoughts of our own to create a mini-book forum.
  • Browsing the Philanthropy Blogs. If you want to spend an afternoon catching up on and bookmarking your favourite philanthropy blogs, check out this list of American and European blogs and of course PFC’s own blog archive of posts from PFC and guests that you may have missed.
  • Don’t forget The Philanthropist, Canada’s own philanthropy journal, which has been running a great series on social innovation in four parts. If you haven’t read it, also take time for the continuing series (now in eleven parts) on indigenous communities and philanthropy.

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