Have you ever struggled to find up-to-date information on topics relating to the work your foundation is supporting? Have you done countless Internet searches hoping you can locate what you need? Or has your organization gone to great lengths to distribute and disseminate reports and other publications but without certainty it was reaching key audiences?
Help is now available from IssueLab, an online service that collects, archives and helps disseminate a range of nonprofit research.
What do a foundation launch and Hollywood-style movie premiere have in common? For the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, quite a bit.
The foundation, which only officially opened for business in mid-July, has just released a major documentary about the perils of America’s growing debt, one of the issues at the core of its mission. At the same time, support for the documentary. I.O.U.S.A.– and all the effort it put into the film’s debut, including a nationally simulcast town meeting – show how the newly launched foundation intends to use all forms of media to engage the public in its work.
In 1999, the James Irvine Foundation launched Communities Organizing Resources to Advance Learning (CORAL), a major initiative to improve education achievement in low-performing schools in five California cities. Midway through the initiative, the foundation discovered that its $60 million reform effort was in danger of failing. Drawing on in-house expertise and outside experts, the Foundation studied the problem and made a series of mid-course corrections.
Spurred on by research from the Philanthropy Awareness Initiative that shows the public isn’t getting the full story about foundations because what’s reported by the media is mostly “transactional”—the number and size of grants awarded—the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is piloting a new way to bring attention to its work and more importantly, its accomplishments.
Most foundations believe that the best way to showcase their work and the causes they support is to highlight their grantees, and often by telling stories about who they are and what they do. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) believes so firmly in that idea that it has made grantee stories a centerpiece of its website.
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