Dr. Lucy Bernholz, a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, visited Pittsburgh in March for two packed days of conversations with funders, Pitt faculty and students, government officials and community activists. A self-described 'philanthropy wonk,' Lucy's current work is focused on what she calls the "social economy" -- defined as the ways we use private resources to create public benefits.
During her stay, Lucy stressed that the social economy includes - but not is limited to - public charities supported by philanthropy. Crowdsourcing platforms, B corps and L3Cs are among the proliferating new vehicles for participating in the social economy. Within the social economy, "digital public goods" (valuable data created by nonprofits, government agencies and others) are being produced at a tremendous pace. However, Lucy pointed out that few leaders in philanthropy, the nonprofit sector or government are tackling the necessary national discussion of about how to regulate the creation and use of the social economy's digital assets.
GWP member Tony Macklin, in his terrific blog post about our community discussions with Lucy, took her observations and questions a step further. He wonders whether we might need to create local or regional "Social Economy Leagues" similar to local chambers of commerce, or "Digital Public Good Trusts" that aggregate digital assets the way community foundations preserve and deploy financial assets. Pittsburgh has been described as the cradle of 20th century philanthropy: maybe our region, or others, can take a leading role in re-inventing how we use private resources for the public good in the future. Check out Lucy's work at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society as well as her blog Philanthropy 2173.
In mid-March, GWP hosted an informal conversation between the funding community, Mayor Bill Peduto and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.GWP members heard them describe their top priorities for the region, as well as their perspectives on the region's assets and challenges. Questions ranged from how these leaders viewed the role of the region's nonprofit sector to how they are thinking about balancing economic growth with sustainability. Asked to name Pittsburgh's greatest strength, Mayor Peduto said, "Accessibility - anyone can get to anyone."
NAACP National Education Program has tapped POISE Foundation to partner in the management of its National Scholarship Program. The NAACP National Education Program strives to ensure that all students have access to an equal and high-quality public education by eliminating education-related racial and ethnic disparities in our public schools.
"POISE Foundation is honored to provide scholarship administration for the National NAACP Scholarship Program," stated Karris Jackson, Vice President of Programs at POISE. "We believe education is one of the key ingredients to success and envision a nation in which all members of the Black Community are empowered and self-sufficient."
Currently the POISE Foundation manages over 60 scholarship funds and provides management and support to a host of individual donors and review committees. POISE will manage the online submission process for applicants and serve as the main contact for students applying for one of the two NAACP scholarships: Agnes Jones Jackson and Hubertus W.V. Willems Scholarship for Male Students.
On the Huffington Post, Gregg Behr, executive director of The Grable Foundation, makes the case for cultivating all kids' creativity and their ability to solve problems we can't even imagine today. He describes the work of the Pittsburgh Kids+Creativity Network by writing, "While still building kids' skills in the tried-and-true subjects of reading, writing, and arithmetic, today's innovators -- like those in the Kids+Creativity Network -- are simultaneously attending to learning that helps kids develop critical thinking, tenacity, and resourcefulness. They're thinking more like the Jetsons and less like the Flintstones."