Earlier this week, Madison Initiative Director Daniel Stid responded to a broadside critique of our new line of grantmaking from David Callahan at Inside Philanthropy, which is neatly summarized by it's title: “Why Won’t Foundations Like Hewlett Just Stand Up and Fight For Their Values?” While we, of course, disagree with much of what he wrote, we appreciate the directness of Callahan's piece. It gave Daniel an opportunity to clarify how, in this domain as in others, the Hewlett Foundation strives to be pragmatic and non-ideological in its grantmaking.
In his response, Daniel also emphasized that the Madison Initiative, “is emphatically not a value-neutral exercise. We will be partisans—but for representative government. In this effort, we will work with grantees and funding partners not only in the center but also on the right and left who—whatever their other commitments—believe in the fundamental importance of our representative institutions and processes, have good ideas about how to support and improve their health, and are prepared to engage in reasoned debate with others about the best way forward.” The full post contains some important ideas about the nature of about our grantmaking, and we would appreciate your thoughts on it.
Global Development and Population Program Officer Helena Choi, writing with David Devlin-Foltz of the Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program, at Stanford Social Innovation Review:
A few years ago, the Hewlett Foundation realized that supporting national or sub-national advocacy within the Global South required a new grant-making strategy and partners. The foundation worked with the Tides Foundation to launch the Money Well Spent initiative in 2009. The initiative was intended to support advocacy and policy-related activities to solve specific problems that hinder the efficiency and effectiveness of spending in the family planning and reproductive health sector.
From the 151 initial letters-of-interest received, Hewlett selected six projects for funding in August 2009. The projects shared a focus on sub-Saharan Africa, but represented a wide diversity of scale, context, and approach. Three of these projects inform this essay: Pathfinder International’s Tanzania office’s work to encourage districts to fund family planning and reproductive health services; Gender Action’s advocacy to eliminate user fees based on evidence of their impact on women’s access to services in Cameroon and Uganda; and Ipas’s projects in Malawi and Nigeria to demonstrate the cost savings associated with shifting from treating complications of unsafe abortion to providing safe abortion care. These three best illustrate the issues we wish to explore here: the relationships between a US-based funder, international non-governmental organizations (INGO) intermediaries, and local NGOs, and the use of locally generated evidence in support of advocacy.
Global Development and Population Fellow Rachel Quint recently co-authored a blog post with Allison Anderson of the Brookings Institution about the two leading proposals for education goals and targets in the post-2015 development agenda.
From Brookings' Education + Development blog:
One of the key questions facing the framers of the post-2015 agenda is how to best address education access, quality, outcomes and equity. While the Millennium Development Goal targets successfully prioritized schooling access, the last 15 years have illustrated that schooling access must be paired with actions that address education quality. Moreover, the expansion of access seen so far has left behind many of the most marginalized and poor children, including girls, and many who are in school face the “hidden exclusion” of being in school but not learning.
Lively discussions among U.N. member states, U.N. agencies and civil society representatives are helping to craft meaningful goals and targets to shape international education policies. At the crux of these discussions are two proposals for education goals and targets: one from the inter-governmental Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals and the other from the Education for All Steering Committee (EFA SC).
But with two global proposals, how do we know which language to use in a post-2015 framework?
San Francisco's ABC 7 News recently reported on the The Kodály Center for Music Education and their efforts to preserve American folk music. A recent grant from our Performing Arts Program is intended to help the Center double the size of its collection.
As part of our Grantmaker Speaker Series, Joel Fleishman of Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy visited the Foundation to discuss spend-down foundations. While the Hewlett Foundation is intended to operate in perpetuity, a growing number of foundations plan to grant all of their assets within a specific timeframe.
Mr. Fleishman served from 1993-2003 as president of the Atlantic Philanthropic Services Company, the U.S. program staff for the Atlantic Philanthropies, which is scheduled to spend down by 2016. During this session, he discussed his reflections on the advantages and limitations of spend-down foundations as compared to perpetual foundations.
Nell Edgington interviews Fay Twersky, DIrector of our Effective Philanthropy Group, for the Social Velocity blog. Topics covered include need for openness in relationships among funders and grantees, our Organizatonal Effectiveness grantmaking, and the importance of evaluation for examining nonprofit effectiveness.
Fay Twersky, Director of our Effective Philanthropy Group, writing in Stanford Social Innovation Reviewabout research she has conducted into philanthropic leadership and the qualities of successful foundation CEO:
My research led me to conclude that successful CEOs at foundations of all sizes tend to be artful jugglers—people who can pursue multiple high-pressure goals at once. They are able to tend to their board of directors, to manage their organization internally, and to drive their foundation to make an impact externally. By their own reckoning, few CEOs are equally successful in all three domains.
Fay Twersky, the Director of our Effective Philanthropy Group, has responded to Bill Schambra’s recent op ed about our decision to end the Nonprofit Marketplace Initiative in a letter to the editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy:
As we have already shared openly, we took advantage of the fact that a whole new team had arrived—not just a new president but also my own arrival as head of the newly created effective philanthropy group and Lindsay Louie’s coming to replace Jacob Harold as program officer for philanthropy grant making—to take a fresh look at the initiative.
By then, we had more information than just the Money for Good data from 2010, including several more years of experience and a recently completed external evaluation from Arabella Advisors. Taking all that data into account, we concluded that we were not making the headway we had hoped for and were not on track to do so. After a discussion with our board of directors, we ended the initiative and shared the decision and reasons publicly.
Congratulations to the Co-Founders of First Voice, a Performing Arts Program grantee. Mark Izu and Brenda Wong Ioki were honored recently in different ways: Brenda was named the recipient of the 2014 Circle of Excellence Award from the National Storytelling Network, and Mark is the subject of a documentary film, "Don't Lose Your Soul," about his music airing on PBS this month. Mark also scored two other films in the same PBS series, Japanese American Lives.