Adin Miller's blog

Jill Friedman Fixler and Beth Steinhorn on the Tragedy in Haiti -- How Can We Help?

Much has been written about the urgent need for cash in the immediate response to the tragedy unfolding in Haiti. However, many have also expressed interest in how to best engage volunteers who want to help both in the immediate timeframe and in the longer recovery stage. I'm pleased to offer the following guest post by Jill Friedman Fixler, owner of JFFixler & Associates, author of Boomer Volunteer Engagement: Collaborate Today, Thrive Tomorrow, and a nationally known leader recognized for her innovative approaches to strengthening nonprofit organizations through volunteer engagement and management, and Beth Steinhorn, Senior Volunteer Engagement Strategist with JFFixler & Associates.

Highlights from a Funders Call on the Social Innovation Fund

Last month, the Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation), the federal agency that manages AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, and Senior Corps, released its draft Notice on Funds Available (NOFA) for the $50M the Social Innovation Fund (SIF). The Corporation is accepting comments until January 15.

Earlier this week, three affinity groups of the Council on Foundations – Grantmakers Income Security Taskforce, Grantmakers In Health, and Grantmakers for Children, Youth & Families – hosted a funders discussion on the Social Innovation Fund (SIF).* The call included Steve Gunderson, President and CEO, Council on Foundations, Michele Jolin, Senior Advisor, Social Innovation, Domestic Policy Council at the White House, and Marta Urquilla, Senior Advisor for Social Innovation, Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation). The audio of the conference call will be posted, although I have yet to see it on the Corporation’s website. Until then, and with the hopes that it might generate additional comments on the draft Notice of Funds Available for the SIF, here are a few points from the call.

A Communitiy Foundation Perspective on the Social Innovation Fund

Last month, the Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation), the federal agency that manages AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, and Senior Corps, released its draft Notice on Funds Available (NOFA) for the $50M the Social Innovation Fund (SIF). The Corporation is accepting comments until January 15.

In my most recent post about the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), I commented that the cash match requirement at the minimum grant award level might prevent most community foundations from participating in the program. Today’s guest post on the Tactical Philanthropy blog by Eileen Ellsworth, president of the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia, greatly expands on this issue and illustrates how the new minimum grant award level and one-to-one cash match requirement will prevent her community foundation from participating. Specifically, she writes, "the increase in the minimum grant level from $1 million to $5 million now constitutes an insurmountable barrier for our SIF application....raising the minimum grant level to $5 million will prevent all but a tiny handful of very large foundations from applying." This issue is further reinforced by the Council on Foundation in a short commentary published today.  The Council notes that some foundations “have expressed concerns about the match requirements for the minimum grant threshold of $5 million…and the difficulty that small communities may experience in trying to take advantage of this program.”

Could the Social Innovation Fund Generate More Foundation Transparency?

Happy New Year everyone! We are one step closer to the release of the official guidelines for the Social Innovation Fund (SIF). On December 18, the Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation) released its draft Notice on Funds Available (NOFA) for the $50M SIF; the comment period is open until January 15. Several people who have carefully followed the developments related to the SIF will engage in a conversation on the subject on Sean Stannard-Stockton’s Tactical Philanthropy blog. I’ll post comments there as well on Twitter using the #SIF hashtag. To start my part of the conversation, I’ll use this space to follow-up on my original post on the SIF and outline both the issues I identified in my review of the NOFA and questions I’ll submit to the Corporation.

What? My Nonprofit is Profiled on How Many Websites?

During the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s online discussion on trends affecting philanthropy in 2010 I briefly noted an issue that I had identified in my work with several nonprofit clients, namely how to manage and interact with the multiple websites profiling their organizations. The growth of online donation portals has provided nonprofit organizations with additional means to augment their fundraising efforts.

What if the data is incorrect?

More and more attention is being placed on the need to gather, analyze, and present data in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. The fascination with data and how to present it seems to have entered into a hyper-intensive period.

A Follow-up on The Foundation Center and Its Online Database

Last week I posted a note about the Foundation Center and its online database. I got a reply from George Ford that clarified the Foundation Center's approach to the information available online.  In particular, George wrote:

A few questions on the Social Innovation Fund

Yesterday, the Corporation for National and Community Service held a conference call on the Social Innovation Fund (SIF). The conference call was revealing in the information it provided. However, many significant challenges and questions remained unaddressed and could potentially derail the effectiveness of the SIF. 

Patrick Corvington and the Corporation for National and Community Service

Two weeks ago, President Obama announced his nomination of Patrick Corvington to serve as the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (the Corporation), the federal agency that manages national service programs such as AmeriCorps, Learn & Serve America, and SeniorCorps.

Social Media for Seniors

My father and I have been having an ongoing conversation about the Twitter and how it can be used to promote a blog.