Recent + Relevant News, Readings, and Podcasts!

A recap of recent news on progressive issues and philanthropy.

  • Amazon Second HQ: Amazon’s public request of proposals from cities eager to host its new, second headquarters has catalyzed important discussion around the role of corporate tax breaks, subsidies, gentrification, jobs, transportation, and the future of post-industrial cities. This week labor and community groups put forward an open letter to CEO Jeff Bezos outlining their wish list for the new HQ. Separately, Bezos, one of the world’s richest people, has recently suggested he’ll do more philanthropic work, but has yet to get specific.

  • Open Society Foundations: This week, George Soros, who has long said he would turn the majority of his wealth over to his foundation, moved $18 billion to OSF, making it now the second largest foundation in the U.S. after Gates. No public word on how this will impact their grantmaking. Soros had previously allocated operating funds to OSF on a regular basis.

  • Inspiring News Alert: More than 2,000 donors contributed a total of $72,000 to a memorial fund set up to honor Philando Castile. The funds will be used to clear student lunch debt across St. Paul, MN, where Castile worked as a school nutrition supervisor. Castile was shot and killed by police in his car last year, sparking a wave of protest in St. Paul. Separately, school lunch debt has received new national attention in recent months, with some states and districts moving to end the practice and donors becoming involved in wiping out the debt.

  • Google announced $1 billion grant program over five years to help train workers for the new, digital economy. How should they measure the impact of this work beyond dollars spent?

  • The MacArthur Foundation announced this year’s new fellows. Wonderful activists and changemakers, including Greg Asbed of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers were recognized. Greg and the CIW are also profiled in the NYT this week. 

  • Ford Foundation president Darren Walker co-authored an Op-Ed about how public-private partnerships can produce economic opportunity in New Orleans and beyond. This topic picks up on deeper community development research and strategy about how anchor institutions, like medical centers and universities, can promote equitable development in communities.

  • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations published recommendations from nine nonprofit leaders on key best practices for funders  can better support nonprofits to create real change

  • ICYMI - Tech Money, Community Foundations, and DAF: A long article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review on the powerhouse Silicon Valley Community Foundation is renewing discussions around the role of community foundations, donor advised funds, and the flow of major tech money into philanthropy. Read a response from The Center for Effective Philanthropy too.

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