This week, we’re excited to share a round-up of articles and information on topics that are core to our work – and the work of our problem-solving network – like Civic Technology and Impact Investing. These are #GoodReads you won’t want to miss!
Assessing Civic Tech - The Knight Foundation
The Knight Foundation and Network Impact conducted a field scan of civic technology. Their paper, released this week, summarizes assessment approaches, tools and case studies that Network Impact identified and developed through their extensive research and consultations with thought leaders in the field.
Recommended by Tamir Novotny, Senior Program Associate, Public Sector Innovation
550: Three Miles - This American Life
This is not exactly a “good read”, but it is definitely a good listen. The latest episode of This American Life introduces us to former students from a low-income high school in the Bronx that is predominantly Black and Hispanic who participated in an exchange program at an elite private school that is just three miles away, but might as well be in another universe. We hear firsthand from the protagonists about what it was like to be confronted with such stark inequity at such a young age, and we follow them on their journeys to try to escape the confines of shamefully low investment and low expectations for their futures. What we see through their eyes are all of the barriers—tangible, intangible, systemic, and psychological that are set before them. And, we are asked to confront our collective deeply ingrained belief in our national ethos that with hard work comes opportunity and prosperity.
Recommended by Nadia Owusu, Assistant Director, Strategic Communications and Storytelling
Pay For Success
Urban Institute Gets $8.4 Million to Help Measure Pay-for-Success Programs - The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Earlier this week the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) awarded $8.4 million to the Urban Institute to help launch Urban’s Pay for Success Initiative. The grant is significant not just because of its size, but because of its focus on building tools and sharing lessons to more quickly build the field than is possible without a central clearinghouse for knowledge. This creates a way for governments, service providers and investors to have a head start when entering this nascent field. This is great news for accelerating the results possible from pay for success projects.
Recommended by Eileen Neely, Director of Capital Innovation
Impact Investing Can Help Foundations Avoid Obsolescence - The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Foundations are required by law to distribute at least 5% of their assets every year, but what about the other 95%? This op-ed uses the example of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which recently divested all of assets from fossil-fuel investments, to make the case that foundations should do more with their endowments. Impact investing can help address the disconnect many foundations face between their endowments and their social goals.
Recommended by Jeff Raderstrong, Program Associate, The Integration Initiative
The resurgence of interest in place-based grantmaking led the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions and Neighborhood Funders Group to start a collaborative effort to help understand how to more effectively do place based grantmaking. Recently, over 100 funders and leaders attended an Aspen/NFG convening to learn from one another on this topic. This post-event report provides an overview of the discussions that took place at this conference, including:
- Lessons shared by experienced place-based funders
- Key challenges and tensions that arise in place-based grantmaking
- Participants’ learnings and takeaways from the conference discussions
- Ways to support grantmakers to improve the practice of place-based grantmaking.
Recommended by Juan Sebastian Arias, Program Associate, Collective Impact