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Catalogue Blog

In The News … (More!)

Good morning, folks! A few more intriguing items caught me eye today, so I thought that we’d double up on the news digest this week. On a related note, I spent yesterday evening at the Atlas Performing Arts Center (a Catalogue non-profit!) on H Street NE for presumptive mayor-elect Vince Gray’s Ward 6 town hall meeting. Do let us know if you were there and have any post-town hall thoughts; I was in the over-flow room with the video feed, so I would certainly be interested in tales from the main room! Speaking of which:

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Put Me In, Coach!

“Our work is very individualized for each client, but many people want to be more strategic, more proactive. We serve as a sounding board, as well as provide information … The coaching role comes into play more when someone wants to go down a distinctive path, developing a strategy with measurable impact.”

- Lisa Philp, JP Morgan Private Bank

Sound like solid and standard advice from a wealth manager? Turns out, Philp is not talking about buying stocks or investing in a start-up. She is talking about philanthropy.

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Companies for Causes

A few times, yesterday included, I touched on the application (or imposition?) of for-profit business models on non-profit organizations. Should non-profits take the lead from more traditional businesses or are the two models incompatible? In the future, I would like to delve further into this question. But for now, I’d like to raise a more specific one: can and do these two entities meet and talk about one another? In other words, do non-profits have a forum to discuss corporate partnerships and do corporations have one to discuss community outreach?

Enter Companies for Causes, whose aim is just that: bringing together medium-sized local businesses to brainstorm and launch philanthropic endeavours as well as entrepreneurial ones. Essentially, this effort will provide the network and resources for companies to expand their reach (and deepen their impact) in the Greater Washington community. Their first symposium is coming up next Wednesday, October 27. You can see the agenda here, sign up for more info, and check out these interviews:

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In the News (More) …

Greetings! I wanted to focus on this post from Greater Greater Washington yesterday, so I moved the other news items-of-interest to today. Besides, why have a blogging pattern in place if you don’t break from it more or less immediately?

Game Changer? Gates Foundation Funds ABC News: an interesting one! The New York Times reported yesterday that, for the first time, the ABC network has accepted a cash grant from a foundation. The Gates Foundation will supply $1.5 million, which ABC News will supplement with $4.5 million of its own funds, “to back a yearlong project investigating global health problems and their potential solutions.” Any thoughts on this? Would you call it a “game changer?” (Two words that I have been hearing quite a lot recently …)

DC sheltering many homeless people from outside city: Washington Post reported last night that “about 10% of families receiving emergency shelter in the District live elsewhere” and questioned what effect this may have on the District’s human services budget.

Dancing With the Board – Against the Grain: Rick Moyers had a great piece over at the Chronicle for Philanthropy on Tuesday, regarding the Executive/Board relationship; he writes, “It’s complicated. It requires negotiation, practice, and constant attention. And when it works, the results can be beautiful.”

New Tools Available to Grant Seekers: the Foundation Center in New York has started GrantSpace, an online resource and “one-stop shop for grant seekers worldwide to get information they need.”

keeping the conversation going: check out Philanthropy 2173 for a very cool post about “attending” the SOCAP 10 conference from afar via Twitter, archived video, blogs, texts, and so on — “another great example of how this works when it works.”

Did we miss anything? Post more news items right here!

Moving (and Working) Together

From bright-red bikes to non-profit administrative operations, what are we ready and excited to share?

Regarding the new Capital Bikeshare program, the New York Times explains that Internet services, from Netflix to Pandora, have “changed the way Americans think about sharing and ownership. Collaborative habits online are beginning to find expression in the real world.”

Perhaps this ethic of collaboration spread from products and purchasing to operations and funding. Just last Friday, the Boston Globe reported that the Boston Foundation (along with three others) has unveiled “a new fund to help local charities … form partnerships, combine functions like bookkeeping or community services, or merge into new groups … to better serve their communities.”

Of course, the comparisons are not perfect. But speaking broadly, have cooperation and sharing become newly interesting? Haven’t they always been part of the picture?

Says the founder of NeighborGoods, an online resource where users can enter their zip code and locate neighbors willing to borrow or loan, “everyone thought we were completely crazy two years ago a desire for community, a desire to be more sustainable and, frankly, it’s the economy.”


Philanthropy 2173 asks an intriguing question: “if communities and businesses built on sharing — mutual aid — can really regain traction … what will this mean for organized, outside philanthropy as we know it?”

Will this trend last? Does it excite and inspire you? And are new models indeed on the horizon? Or have non-profits long employed this model and businesses are actually catching up? What do you think?