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Weekly Reader – May 8, 2017

What we’re reading and recommending this week. We add to this post throughout the week and look for your suggestions in the comments.

Monday, May 8

A World Without Charity (Jeff Polet, Philanthropy Daily) Of late 19th century American novels only Uncle Tom’s Cabin outsold and outpaced in significance Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, the story of Julian West, who falls asleep in 1887 amidst the chaos of late capitalism and awakes to the socialist utopia of the year 2000. Bellamy’s story sparked the formation of “Bellamy Societies” across America and was an important intellectual progenitor of the Progressive movement.

Tuesday, May 9

Systems Thinking: A View from the Trenches (Srik Gopal, Donata Secondo, & Robin Kane, SSIR) Four lessons from one foundation’s effort to put systems thinking into practice.

Wednesday, May 10

Philanthropy, Coal Country, and a Just Transition (Marc Gunther, Nonprofit Chronicles) Rural whites in WV are hurting, in part because of the deep decline of the coal industry. Big Philanthropy has been part of the problem.

Thursday, May 11

Ford Foundation MRI Investment a Historic Challenge to Other Funders! (Bhakti Mirchandani, Nonprofit Quarterly) Ford Foundation’s historic announcement on April 5th to commit up to $1 billion from its $12 billion endowment over the next 10 years to mission-related investing has changed the discussion in board meetings of other foundations and other institutional investors, which are increasingly examining the holistic results of their work on local communities.

Friday, May 12

We Can’t Force Philanthropy to Talk About Power Dynamics, Can We? (Jen Bokoff, Philanthropy New York) As a sector, we embrace and use power every day, but we don’t talk about it. Why?

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