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News from the Case Foundation and what people are talking about this week in the world of giving, tech and everything in between.
Assessment & Reflection on 2009 America's Giving Challenge Yesterday, we were very excited to publish the 2009 America's Giving Challenge Assessment & Reflection Report, written by Allison Fine and Beth Kanter. Our CEO, Jean Case, shared her thoughts on the research, noting that post-Giving Challenge, "We’re excited to see others from across sectors are innovating and experimenting with these formats to find the right formula that works for helping both individuals support the causes they care about, and for nonprofits to raise awareness and essential funds."
Katya Andressen also shared her thoughts on her NonProfit Marketing Blog, and also referenced our social media training program, Gear Up for Giving, which took place in the 30 days leading up to the Challenge, noting that "One of the greatest things the Case Foundation did this year (in my view) was to provide nonprofits with a lot of training on how to engage supporters online." Sean Stannard-Stockton of Tactical Philanthropy also referenced the research on his blog.
The charitable twist (and controversy) to the LeBron James announcement If you're a sports fan, heck, even if you're not a sports fan, the news was buzzing this week about the highly anticipated announcement from NBA star LeBron James as to which team he would be joining next season. So, what does this have to do with the Case Foundation weekly roundup? Well, unfortunately as the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported, a bit of controversy was stirred up when ESPN announced that it would donate advertising proceeds from the broadcast to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (after ESPN had been widely criticized for carrying the broadcast). While some were critical that the decision was advertising disguised as charity, others were more complimentary, like the Christian Science Monitor, who called the donation (and a subsequent announcement from the University of Phoenix to donate five full-tuition scholarships to the organization) a "redeeming virtue." And while I personally was pretty put off by all of the hype over the big decision, I agree with Allison Fine's assertion that "there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Boys and Girls Clubs associating itself with the broadcast or LeBron. They have done nothing unethical or even unseemly," and at the end of the day, I think Boys & Girls Clubs came out a winner in this situation.
Paul Allen pledges half his wealth to philanthropy Last month, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett made waves when they publicly committed to give half their wealth away to philanthropy, and encouraged other billionaires to make the same public commitment. (Sean Stannard-Stockton of Tactical Philanthropy had a great column this week on the impact this could have on encouraging increased giving beyond the wealthy). This morning, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen made similar waves with a surprise announcement that he, too, will pledge more than half of his wealth to be given to philanthropic efforts, as reported by Stephanie Strom of the New York Times. While Mr. Allen is not as well known as his fellow Microsoft co-founder for his philanthropic efforts, as Strom points out, he "has already given away more than $1 billion through foundations and nonprofit organizations he has created." CNN, Bloomberg, Reuters and many others have also covered the story.
Kind Snacks' new cause marketing campaign While this wasn't necessarily big news of the week, I enjoyed this article from Stuart Elliott of the New York Times, which featured Kind Healthy Snacks - a new line of health bars that has launched "Do the Kind Thing," a campaign that will donate $100,000 in total to causes that are "deemed worthy of assistance." As Elliott explains:
...the donations are not being determined by the public’s voting for which organizations deserve the money, as is the case with campaigns like the Pepsi Refresh Project...Rather, “Do the Kind thing” asks consumers to perform acts of kindness - deliberately instead of randomly - that are tracked through Kind cards bearing code numbers. A participant in the “Kind Movement” links his or her card and code to a charitable organization or other “redeeming” cause, as the campaign’s rules describe it; performs a kind act for someone else; and then passes the card and code on to that person... That someone can repeat the process, and so on and so on and so on - just like in that vintage Faberge shampoo “And they told two friends” commercial. Points accrue for the causes at each step of the pay-it-forward journey, and the causes with the most points receive the donations.
The first round of the campaign closed at the end of June, and the winners - Operation Gratitude, Good Girls Give, and the Suffolk Y Jewish Community Center - were announced this week. I'll definitely be watching when the next round kicks off in late summer!