Weekly Reader July 22, 2013

Top reads we’re recommending this week:

The 10 most charitable companies in America  (Business Insider)
After 7 straight years as the single largest giver in corporate America, Walmart has been knocked down to No. 2. Wells Fargo is now on top, having donated well over $300 million in the past year. The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s yearly corporate giving survey finds that Wells Fargo is now on top, having donated well over $300 million in the past year.

How contests strengthen our philanthropy (Knight Foundation blog)
Knight Foundation has supported nearly a dozen open contests, reviewed almost 25,000 applications and chosen more than 400 winning ideas. We’ve learned a lot from this experience about how good contests work, what they can do, and what the challenges are. We’ve captured this in an array of materials that share these lessons.
Why This Small Social Enterprise Failed (Nonprofit Quarterly)
In October, Prairie Harvest Mental Health, a nonprofit serving adults with serious mental illness, will close one of its employment and revenue-producing schemes, The 4th Street Eatery. The Eatery is a small café that served homemade lunches, mostly to employees of the building in which it was situated. According to Executive Director Debra Johnson, the enterprise has lost too much money and exhausted too many resources—but still, she said,closing “it was really a hard decision for us.” The county, whose building the eatery was in, provided the facilities free of charge to the group and reportedly its view of the Red River was a draw especially during flooding but the café, which is staffed by Prairie Harvest clients, could not turn the corner. For your information, should you be considering a similar venture, these are the problems that were cited in a letter the organization sent to the county.


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