By Richard Marker A few years ago, a noted professor of History of Education invited me to speak to a graduate class about my role over the course of my career in the creation of a number of interesting and cutting edge nonprofit organizations. With the vantage of a rear view mirror, he noted, whether by serendipity or opportunity, I had been involved at an early stage with a surprising number of well-known and often honored ones. In inviting … [Read more...] about Is Non-Profit Impermanence A Synonym for Failure?
By Richard Marker That is a surprise, you say. Don’t you usually help funders develop a focus for their funding? Don’t you help them understand how a good strategy helps develop an approach that helps philanthropists and foundations know when to say “no,” and when to say “yes”? Doesn’t a funding mission help determine whether we are achieving the impact we want our funding investments to achieve? Wouldn’t you advise that “mission creep” … [Read more...] about A Little Mission Creep Can Be a Good Thing
My recent post “From Overhead to Infrastructure to Structure” has elicited a very flattering amount of attention, but also some questions and challenges. To all, thanks. The questions and challenges fit into two categories: One set was from those on the nonprofit side of the table who wondered how they could convince their funders of the indispensability of infrastructure support as a superior funding strategy. They felt that, even though I … [Read more...] about From Infrastructure to Structure – Part 2: Some Illustrations
Let me state right up front, I have nothing new to say about Brexit itself on top of the millions of words already written and said. I may have my opinion, but I suspect we will all have to wait until this plays out over the next few months or years. But Brexit does bring to the fore lurking issues in the philanthropy world that are reflective of major challenges we all need to face up to. After all, the underlying issue for most UK voters … [Read more...] about What does Brexit have to do with Place Based Philanthropy?
One of the great pleasures of being in the philanthropy space for a long time is watching ideas you helped postulate become mainstream. One of those is the welcome adoption of the concept of “infrastructure” as the way in which we refer to non-direct service support, previously known as “overhead.” By now, most funders are well aware of the debate about “overhead.” There were numerous parties who can share the blame for that preoccupation: … [Read more...] about From Overhead to Infrastructure to…Structure