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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.
Social Innovation Fund discussion turns into a "kerfluffle"
A few weeks ago, the Nonprofit Quarterly published this highly critical article of the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) for its lack of transparency and unwillingness to publish the names of the applicants, reviewers and proposals that were submitted, or the contents of the ratings forms provided from members of the panel to the SIF staff. However, the discussion really began to heat up late last week following this somewhat scathing WashingtonPost.com piece from one of the fund’s reviewers, NYU professor Paul Light and subsequent response from fellow reviewer Steve Goldberg, who described the discussion as a "kerfuffle." This blog post from Sean Stannard-Stockton has a good recap of how the criticism evolved from the initial Nonprofit Quarterly piece through last Friday. Over the weekend, Stephanie Strom at the NY Times published an article shedding a little bit more light on the criticisms both around the lack of transparency and potential conflicts of interest, bringing the discussion into the mainstream media and setting off a stream of tweets and blog posts reacting to the piece. Adin Miller has a great recap of the salient posts that went up last weekend.
As the story evolved, the Corporation for National and Community Service released most of the proposal narratives, application materials and review comments on Monday, and as the NonProfit Quarterly reported on Wednesday, has agreed to release the ratings of its review panels.
One of the most interesting elements to come out of the discussion, however was a Twitter debate initiated by NY Bureau Chief of the Economist and Philanthrocapitalism author, Matthew Bishop - you can review a full transcript of the discussion here. And PND blog captured some of Matthew's thoughts about SIF on video (in an article that also covers the progress of the Giving Pledge).
WSJ article offers the business case against CSR; CSR community rebuts
Another passionate discussion in the blog and Twittersphere took place this week after an article in the Wall Street Journal by University of Michigan Professor Aneel Karnani shared “The Case Against Corporate Social Responsibility,” opening up the piece with his assertion that “the idea that companies have a responsibility to act in the public interest and will profit from doing so is fundamentally flawed.”
Not surprisingly, the article resulted in an outcry from the CSR community and there have been quite a few rebuttal blog posts and tweets about the article, including from Matt Bishop on his Philanthrocapitalist blog where he picks apart some of the arguments made in the article and argues the case for truly strategic CSR efforts. Our friend and managing principal of CauseShift, Scott Henderson published a response on the Chronicle of Philanthropy blog, and argues for the need to rethink how businesses can play a role in helping to solve social problems:
Historically, corporate social responsibility programs, along with corporate philanthropy, government affairs, and cause-marketing activities, have been sequestered in different silos within corporate structures. They have been kept away from operational decision making, seen instead as a marketing opportunity or a reputation management necessity. This type of approach and thinking is inherently flawed—especially when the world is no longer about controlled messages and imagery.
The folks at Fenton Communications have also posted a great roundup of the various articles responding to Professor Karnani's article.
More links we like
This article from Care2's Frogloop blog has some great examples of how donors are engaging with mobile.
Congratulations to our friends at SnagFilms on this week's launch of SnagLearning, an online platform dedicated to presenting high-quality documentary films as educational tools to ignite meaningful classroom discussion.
Are there other stories you were keeping an eye on this week? Share them with us in the comments!