What’s up at Kintera?

Kintera, a firm that provides software and services for nonprofits and has never has reported a profit, has reported a shakeup in its leadership.

Co-founder Harry Gruber, who remains as CEO, has been replaced as president and board chair, while his brother, co-founder Allen Gruber, who remains as executive vice president, has resigned from the board.

See PJ story.

Duke Endowment aims to share knowledge

PJ reports today that the Duke Endowment, moving beyond support that responds to funding requests from individual organizations, wants to make grants to groups of organizations that can test promising approaches to widespread problems.

Microsoft boosts tech for nonprofits

PJ also reports that, with $5 million from Microsoft, NPower plans to diversify its funding sources, and broaden and strengthen its efforts to help nonprofits maximize their use of technology.

Duke embraces civic engagement

PJ reports that Duke University will launch a major program in the summer of 2008 to move its undergraduate students beyond the classroom and engage them in giving back to the community by taking on social issues at home and abroad and learning from those real-life experiences.

Family foundations growing

PJ also reports that the number of family foundation in the U.S. has grown over the last four years by almost a quarter, to 34,000 funders that gave over $14 billion in 2005, according to a new study by the Foundation Center in New York City.

Who’s responsible for corporate social responsibility?

Proxy season is here, and time is ripe for foundations to be more active shareholders.

In recent years, a small but growing number of foundations have joined the ranks of activist shareholders to push companies to adopt more socially responsible corporate policies.

That activism has produced results: Wal-Mart Stores, for example, has agreed to report on its social-responsibility practices.

And as the Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 31, citing proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services, activists are pushing for similar disclosure from 37 firms, up from 20 last year.

Yet most foundations seem content to hang back as passive investors.

In response to the recent Los Angeles Times report that its investments conflict with causes it supports, for example, the $30 billion-asset Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation issued a statement saying it could best advance those causes through its grantmaking, not its investments.

But foundations, with over half a trillion dollars in combined assets, have a lot of clout, and can use it to work with companies to adopt policies that advance critical causes like protecting human rights and reducing global warming.

To truly make a difference, foundations must take responsibility for the policies of the companies in which they invest.

New, traditional donors can learn from one another

PJ reports today on a talk by Susan Berresford, president of the Ford Foundation, who says new philanthropists are generating excitement in the charitable world but also creating risks for it.

Mega-donors’ business-oriented approach to giving could hurt philanthropy by prompting other donors to abandon traditional strategies for those favored by the new generation, Berresford told a Duke University seminar.

Kids materialistic, altruistic

PJ also reports on a new study that says appreciation for family and belongings is driving the giving spirit among American teens and “tweens.” While they may be materialistic on the whole, the study says, that doesn’t mean they aren’t generous.

Disclosing grassroots lobbying

OMB Watch is conducting a survey on federal grassroots lobbying disclosure. Current law requires disclosure of direct lobbying but not grassroots lobbying, which was included in a provision that was passed by the Senate last year but struck in January during Senate debate of lobby reform. OMB Watch says grassroots activities and the financial interests behind those activities should be disclosed.

Anti-terrorism screen

A new survey has found support for a centralized repository of data on prospective grantees outside the U.S. that grantmakers could use in assessing grant requests. Conducting the survey were the Council on Foundations, Independent Sector, the Foundation Center and GuideStar.

Bush budget

The Council on Foundations is touting proposals in the Bush administration budget for fiscal 2008 to boost charitable giving by taxpayers, including permanent extension of the charitable IRA rollover provision enacted last year.

Postage rate delay

The Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation wants the U.S. Postal Service to delay a move to more than double the postage for many nonprofit mail pieces.