Indiana philanthropy center to become school

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University is on track to become the world’s first school dedicated to the study and teaching of philanthropy.

Led by the Center, which was founded in 1987 at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus, Indiana University was the first university in the world to offer degrees in philanthropic studies.

Those include a master of arts in 1993, a Ph.D. in 2003, and a bachelor of arts in 2010.

The board of trustees at Indiana University has approved formation of a School of Philanthropy, with the proposal now to be submitted for consideration by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

“Philanthropy and nonprofit organizations are fundamental to a healthy society, and they operate in a constantly-changing, ever-more-complex environment,” Gene Tempel, president of the Indiana Foundation, says in a statement.

Tempel has been named senior fellow at the Center and will play a key role in the university’s effort to establish the School of Philanthropy.

Philanthropy and the nonprofit sector represent roughly 10 percent of the U.S. labor force and about 5 percent of the annual gross domestic project.

The U.S. is home to over 1.4 million nonprofits that will need to hire another 640,000 executives by 2016, according to a study by The Bridgespan Grop.

“Philanthropy’s role and impact in the business and government sectors and around the globe, as well as in the nonprofit sector, are increasing dramatically,” Patrick M. Rooney, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy, says in a statement.

The Center, which has mentored dozens of philanthropy-education programs at other universities in the U.S. and abroad, offers research for nonprofit professionals and donors, as well as research, training and service programs, including The Fund Raising School, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, and Women’s Philanthropy Institute.

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High Point group serves Latinos

By Todd Cohen

HIGH POINT, N.C. — Last fall, nine juniors and seniors from High Point Central High School and Andrews High School completed their resumes and college applications with the help of eight students from a Spanish class at High Point University who worked with them over five work sessions.

Fostering the collaborative effort was the Latino Family Center of Greater High Point, a nonprofit that was formed in July 2010 from a program spun off from Catholic Social Services.

Operating with an annual budget of $118,000 and a staff of four part-time employees and a volunteer part-time executive director, the organization serves about 800 people a year.

With a staff that is entirely bi-cultural and bilingual, the center provides mentoring programs for students in middle school and high school; offers parenting courses; provides translation and interpretation services for adults and helps them get access to community services; and serves as an advocate for the Latino community.

“Helping people achieve their potential and their ability to further contribute to society is the American way,” says Evelyn Morales, a second-generation Mexican-American who serves as the agency’s volunteer, part-time executive director. “That’s what made our country great.”

Last summer, the Latino Family Center sent a group of kids to a NASA camp in Ohio.

It also works to plug Latino youth into local enrichment opportunities, and has participated in research by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro on attitudes and knowledge of Latino parents about helping their children move on to higher education.

And some older Latino youth volunteered last summer at a camp that was a joint project of the Latino Family Center and Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, with some of those volunteers having attended the camp themselves as youngsters.

The center is the only local agency dedicated solely to working with Latino families in a city of 100,000 people, including 8,500 Latinos, Morales says.

Now that it is a separate nonprofit, she says, the agency is working to boost its fundraising, and has worked with consultant Michelle Speas on its fundraising strategy.

That effort will include doubling its 12-member board, getting more board members involved in designing a signature fundraising event, and raising awareness of the organization in the community, particularly among larger donors.

It also is making greater use of volunteers, and now counts on a core of 20 active volunteers.

And it is collaborating with other organizations.

Through a grant from the High Point Arts Council, the Latino Family Center and the YWCA will offer a drama program to provide diversity training to Latino children to help them better understand discrimination and bias, and how to deal with it, Morales says.

“We really want to give our kids hope,” she says, “and help them believe in themselves and not be dismayed by the lack of external validation from society.”

Nonprofit lobbying fell with economy

Lobbying by nonprofits fell slightly with the economic downturn that began in September 2008, a new study says.

Total spending by 80 big nonprofits that reported lobbying activity in Washington this year in the fields of human services, arts and culture, health and the environmental, total spending fell 3.3 percent from 2007 to 2011, says the study by First Street.

Annual spending during period peaked in 2008, with many groups spending most of their lobbying budget before the economy collapsed.

Spending on lobbying grew at 35 of the groups, or 45 percent, and fell at 38 groups, or 48 percent.

The study excluded “lobby powerhouse” AARP because “its spending is so high that its year-to-year shifts can obscure underlying patterns,” First Street says, as well as nonprofits that were political advocates, religious organizations, trade groups, professional associations, colleges and health systems.

Brookstone Schools aims to grow

By Todd Cohen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — At Brookstone Schools, where 87 percent of the 105 students qualify for free or reduced lunch, many of the students also are performing well above grade level in reading and math.

Serving low-income kids from throughout Charlotte, the Christian school is part of a broader effort to boost academic performance at underperforming schools in low-income West Charlotte.

Growing steadily since it was founded in 2001, Brookstone Schools now has moved into a larger building and added a summer program, and is considering a campaign to raise capital and endowment funds to help it add two more grades and possibly a residential program.

Founded with 18 children in kindergarten and first grade, Brookstone Schools has added additional grades as it recruited new students, including a sixth grade this school year.

The school operates with an annual budget of $740,000 and 13 employees working full-time and four working part-time, and generates seven percent of its funds from student tuition and fees.

Contributions from individuals account for 48 percent of its funding, along with 39 percent from foundations, 8 percent from corporations, and 5 percent in church support.

That funding includes $2,500 sponsorships from individuals and organizations to support each of 88 students for a year.

Brookstone Schools also received a big boost from Carolina School for Children, a 10-year effort to create a faith-based residential school for children in need modeled on the Milton Hershey School in Pennsylvania.

Last year, however, the organizers opted to contributed to Brookstone Schools the roughly $250,000 they had raised.

That gift could serve as seed funding for a campaign to raise endowment and capital funds to support expansion, says Suzanne Wilson, director of development.

And at its annual fundraising dinner March 22, Brookstone Schools raised over $98,000, giving it a big boost to match a $125,000 dollar-for-dollar challenge grant from the Leon Levine Foundation, which offered a challenge grant for the third straight year.

While planning for a campaign still is in the early stages, Wilson says, the goal could range from $4 million to $5 million.

After spending its first 10 years in space leased from a series of churches, the school in December moved into the Amay James Pre-K Center, which had been a public school but was closed by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Located in the Reid Park neighborhood, the school is near the Stratford-Richardson YMCA in a region that is the focus of Project L.I.F.T., an effort supported by a coalition of foundations that supports nine elementary and middle schools that feed into West Charlotte High School.

The region also is the focus of the Reid Park Collaborative Initiative, a partnership of Mecklenburg County, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Council for Children’s Rights and other human-services agencies that provide support services for students and families of Reid Park Academy, a public high school adjacent to Brookstone Schools.

Partners who support students in Brookstone Schools participate in special events throughout the school year when they can spend time with students in hands-on activities and tutoring in the classroom.

And nearly every child has an adult “lunch buddy” who eats lunch with them at least twice a month.

With its building, which it is leasing for five years from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the school also is considering subletting some of that space to a group that serves the neighborhood.

Brookstone Schools last year launched a six-week summer program that drew roughly 50 new and existing students, and it plans to continue the program this summer, expecting about 80 students.

All the efforts seem to be working: In general, Wilson says, 35 percent of Brookstone students taking the Stanford Achievement Test are scoring among the top 25 percent of U.S. students in math and reading.

“Our goal,” Wilson says, “is to equip students to get a taste early on for academic success.”

Political values tied to charitable giving

Americans are more likely to give to a charity that reflects the values of their political affiliation, a new research paper says.

Donations to a specific charity by Republicans and Democrats are strongly affected by their perceptions of its alignment with each party’s respective “moral foundations,” Vikas Mittal, co-author of the paper and a marketing professor at Rice University, says in a statement.

Republicans’ moral foundations are rooted in respect for authority and traditions, loyalty and purity, he says, while those of Democrats are rooted in equality and protection from harm.

“The political divide not only impacts political actions, but everyday actions such as donating to charity,” he says.

The paper, which will appear in the International Journal of Research in Marketing: Special Issue on Consumer Identities, is based on three studies.

Two of them consisted of nationally-representative samples of adults, while a third was based on a randomized experiment with students who were asked why liberals or conservatives would give more or less to a specific charity.

In that experiment, researchers gave participants a description of the same charity, Rebuilding Together.

But they tweaked small parts of the description to suggest the charity either was supporting American traditions and loyalty or ensuring equality.

Among participants who indicated morals are highly important, Republicans were nearly three times as likely as Democrats to give when the charity was described as supporting working American families, following traditions and supporting their communities.

Democrats, on other hand, were twice as likely as Republicans to give when the charity was described as ensuring the protection of a home to every individual.

The researchers said their findings were supported in two additional studies that focused on children’s charities, including one for children’s advocacy that seeks to break the cycle of child abuse through prevention, education, advocacy and funding. The charity was described as in sync either with Republican values of purity and loyalty, or Democratic values of equality and protection from harm.

Focusing on participants who value morals highly, the researchers found that when the charity description emphasized protection from harm, Democrats were much more likely than Republicans to give, and when the charity description emphasized purity and loyalty to community, Republicans were more likely than Democrats to give.

“We found that while both Republicans and Democrats tend to equally value justice and caring for the vulnerable, Republicans place a much higher value on issues of purity and respect for authority,” Karen Page Winterich, study co-author and assistant professor of marketing at Pennsylvania State University, says in a statement.

“Given these differences,” she says, “Republicans are more inclined to donate to a charity when these values of purity and respect are met, whereas Democrats are more inclined to donate when the emphasis is purely on equality or protection rather than respect or purity.”

Yinlong Zhang, study co-author and associate professor of marketing at the University of Texas at San Antonio, says that, in addition to focusing on their main mission, charities “must also clarify how their mission is aligned with the moral foundations of a donor’s political identity.”

A simple “repositioning of the charity’s description so that it aligns with a person’s political identity can increase donation intentions two- or threefold,” he says.

“Of course, this raises important questions for charities in terms of their communication strategy,” he says. “But assuming this divide does not exist can only hurt their chances of maximizing donations from liberals and conservatives.”

Teamwork urged for fixing communities

By Todd Cohen

Taking on urgent community problems is a tough job that requires new ways of thinking and working together, a new report says.

In Needle-Moving Community Collaboratives, a report based on a look at hundreds of community partnerships throughout the U.S., The Bridgespan Group found some common “operating principles” at 12 partnerships it considered to be successful.

Those include a “commitment to long-term involvement;” the involvement of “key stakeholders” across sectors; the use of shared data “to set the agenda and improve over time;” and the engagement of community members as “substantive partners.”

The report also finds five common elements that are essential to the success of community collaboratives, including a “shared vision and agenda;” effective leadership and governance; “alignment of resources toward what works,” as well as the use of data to “continually adapt;” dedicated staff capacity” and “appropriate structure” that links “talk to action;” and “sufficient” funding, targeting investments “to support what works.”

The report says most of the “ingredients” for a successful collaborative must be “locally grown.”

But it also says collaboratives can benefit from some key resources provided by institutions beyond the community, such as state and federal government, national networks and national philanthropy.

Those institutions can increase the “visibility and legitimacy” of a collaborative’s work; support policy and environmental change; provide support for knowledge and implementation; provide funding for the collaborative’s infrastructure and implementation; and help push for greater community partnership.

To achieve the efforts by communities as they struggle to find ways to better address their biggest challenges and “achieve more impact,” the report says, “government, community members, nonprofits, philanthropy and business must pull together.”

Those partners, it says, “must create common goals and singleness of purpose around what works, supported by adequate resources and outstanding leadership.”