Guide Grassroots Philanthropy: Field Notes of a Maverick Grantmaker

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Review: Grassroots Philanthropy

As much a treatise on what is wrong in foundations and grantmaking as a game plan for how to set it right. Jun 10, Jocelyn rated it really liked it. Somerville's attitude can be really grating, but the book is a great insight into the world of philanthropic foundations and how you can make a big difference for someone with a small amount of money. A quick, worthwhile read.

Jul 31, Gloria rated it liked it Recommends it for: foundation employees and development directors. Recommended to Gloria by: my boss told me I had to read it. Please don't read this if you don't work for a foundation, or work with one.

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But please do read this if you do work for a foundation. Lesley rated it really liked it Jan 04, Jenny rated it really liked it Jul 25, Jan 17, Adam Meents rated it it was amazing. Excellent insight from a guru in charitable causes. Pair this book up with "Beyond Fundraising.

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Karen Clark rated it liked it Jan 23, Roel M rated it it was amazing Apr 19, Craig rated it it was amazing Dec 09, Apr 13, Beth rated it really liked it. Oh, if ALL foundations and granting agencies were like this. Jung rated it it was amazing Oct 19, Lanee rated it really liked it Jul 24, Durga Ji rated it it was amazing Sep 23, Anika rated it liked it Sep 04, Britt rated it it was amazing Mar 10, Florence rated it really liked it Nov 27, Tera rated it it was amazing Apr 09, Tanya rated it really liked it Feb 11, Suzanne rated it it was ok Feb 28, Nicole marked it as to-read Apr 24, Janelle marked it as to-read May 16, Nonprofit Awareness marked it as to-read Feb 26, Kristina marked it as to-read Mar 14, Figures like Melinda Gates and Pierre Omidyar clearly acknowledge the limitations and specificity of the model.

It is the commentators and journalists, not the principals in the leading philanthropies cited, who make the most excessive claims for the power and impact of the approach. It is difficult to avoid the impression that the dragon Edwards really wants to slay is the system that has yielded such extreme disparities of wealth and privilege. He is reacting to what he perceives as a hyper-capitalism that has seized control of much of the agenda at the expense of government and the third sector and which is fundamentally uninterested in the structural changes needed to achieve real social justice.

The philanthropies that are a product of these conditions are fundamentally suspect to Edwards, as ultimately they are creatures of a system they have no motive to dismantle. It is a pity that in his eagerness to engage he did not take the time to more clearly separate and distinguish crucial terms and concepts: venture capital, social enterprise, corporate social responsibility. Each term is addressed in the book, but the concepts and their implications remain slippery and elusive. His conclusion that the values and actions of business and civil society are distinct and largely unbridgeable seems draconian and extreme.

His book may better serve as an effort to provoke a more cogent understanding of the paths to intersection and effective collaboration between the two spheres. Edwards has set out to create a platform for a pressing and timely discussion. How will these vast resources by used? Will they go toward the pursuit of social transformation or will they be used to treat the symptoms of the current social order?

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That is a debate worth having, and Edwards has issued a provocative invitation to the new business tycoons to join in. To a Canadian whose philanthropic sector is both small and quiet, the conviction, ambition, and contention emanating from books like these is welcome. While the American examples and situations in which both are rooted do not travel to us in their entirety, the fact that the field now has an emerging literature and the prospect of strong views and disagreements is cause for celebration. Email: shouston metcalffoundation. Skip to content. Hear, hear. Grassroots Philanthropy is just the kind of short, easy-to-read book of valuable insights that an executive might pass out to each of the directors at a board meeting.

A book club-style discussion at a following meeting might be one of the most productive sessions a foundation board can have. Taking risks and reaching more people at the right place and time will be the results of successful grassroots campaigns.

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