Adin Miller's blog

New Gates Foundation Partnership Raises Additional Conflict of Interest Concerns

In a well covered decision in April (see New York Times article, for example), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation terminated a $5.2 million grant to the International Development Research Center (IDRC) because of an unacceptable conflict of interest. IDRC, a Canadian research center, had originally received the grant to advance tobacco control work in Africa. Unfortunately, the chair of the IDRC Board of Directors also served as a Director of Imperial Tobacco Canada, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco. When this conflict came to light, the Gates Foundation immediately ended the grant (see Gates Foundation statement).

Apparently, such concerns about conflicts of interest do not extend to other areas of the foundation’s work.

What are the Critical Issues in International Grantmaking Raised at the Grantmakers Without Borders Conference?

This week foundations, international grantmaking institutions, individual donors and global Southern activities have gathered in San Francisco for the Grantmakers Without Borders (Gw/oB) annual conference. As Gw/oB marks its 10th anniversary, its conference participants continue to focus on issues of social justice, gender equity and reproductive rights, agro-ecological production and food security, and human rights. Emerging issues – such as LGBTIQ movements and the ongoing humanitarian and development needs in Haiti – have also generated strong interest.


Lessons from an Advocacy Campaign on Twitter - The #losethecig Case Study

Two and a half weeks, a unique advocacy campaign on Twitter came to a successful close. The #losethecig campaign – an effort that started off innocently enough with a simple tweet – generated more than 500 individual posts encouraging Supercool Creative, a Los Angeles marketing firm, to change its corporate logo and online avatar. It also represented the first anti-smoking campaign on Twitter and an important litmus test for future online advocacy efforts. Below, I summarize the campaign and note many of the lessons learned from the experience.


How will the $45M matching funds for the Social Innovation Funds be distributed?

Last week’s a group of five philanthropic institutions – the Skoll Foundation, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Omidyar Network, Open Social Foundation's Special Fund for Poverty Alleviation, and John and Ann Doerr's Family Foundation – announced that they will provide an additional $45 million in matching funds to support the Social Innovation Fund.

Stephen Colbert Pokes Holes At Corporate Social Responsibility

Here's a light moment and an interesting ironic look at corporate social responsibility via Stephen Colbert. The video is here (starting at the 1:29 mark).

Analysis of Social Innovation Fund Update

On Thursday, the Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation) held a media advisory conference call to provide details about the Social Innovation Fund. Paul Carttar, Director of the Social Innovation Fund, and Marta Urquilla, Senior Advisor for Social Innovation, framed the conference call as an opportunity to provide details about grant application process and next steps. Following the call, the Corporation released a press release on the SIF process and a link to the conference call audio (which will be up for about 30 days).

Breaking Social Innovation Fund News - Summary of Applications Received

The Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation) held a media advisory conference call today to provide details about the Social Innovation Fund. At the April 8 deadline, the Corporation received 69 proposals representing more than 260 collaborations of foundations, private investors, businesses, higher education institutions, nonprofits, and local government.

How Palin, Yee, and California State University Are Affecting Philanthropy

Earlier this month Jane Wales of the Aspen Institute wrote a post published in the Huffington Post about a possible populist threat to philanthropy. In her piece, she stated her faith that foundations will continue to do their best to create social benefits, but "the way in which they do it must take into account the public mood, and even distrust." Sadly, the populist threat and backlash against philanthropy may already be on exhibit in California.

Can Paul Carttar Reclaim Missed Opportunities with the Social Innovation Fund?

Just ahead of its deadline for Social Innovation Fund applications, the Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation) announced that Paul Carttar will serve as director of the Social Innovation Fund.

The Questions Submitted to Bill Gates for TED2010

On Tuesday, Bill Gates posted a short Tweet: "Headed to TED - - I will be sending notes and taking your questions. Send them to @BillGates and tag them #BillatTED." On Friday, some of those questions will be answered via a video feed following his TED presentation on energy and climate change. (UPDATE: The video link is here.)

As is typical with a Bill Gates Tweet, the post was retweeted and referenced a lot. The questions submitted have also been interesting to review. Using the webstie What the Hashtag?!, I  pulled together a listing of most of the questions submitted in advance of Friday's presentation at TED. Of the nearly 500 tweets using the Hashtag, approximately 70 or so where actual questions. The rest were retweets, nonsensical questions or personal pleas, and comments.