Skip to main content

What should we include in the Philanthropy Canon?

By November 4, 2011September 8th, 2021No Comments

I’ve been working with a team to meet with and mentor community leaders and staff associated with Israel’s first community foundation. The community foundation, Takdim, is based in Ramat HaSharon (a city comparable to Palo Alto) and officially launched in May 2011. The story behind this effort is fascinating and signals the potential shift in philanthropic culture in Israel (the Center for the Study of Philanthropy at the Hebrew University calculates charitable giving at 0.74% of GDP in comparison to the 2.1% in the United States). Two interesting articles about the new community foundation, its challenges and opportunities are available here and here.

As part of my work with Takdim, I was asked to provide a landscape overview of philanthropy in the United States. I took that as an opportunity to focus on some core concepts around best practices in grantmaking and emerging issues affecting charitable giving and philanthropic efforts. But, I also wanted to provide Takdim with a list of seminal articles, essays, books, and blog posts that have been pushed over the past ten years (in the end I extended it out to 12 years) – in essence, an informal canon on philanthropy.

I’ve already had a few interesting conversations through Twitter about several such publications. Below, I’ve summarized my personal favorites. But, I’ve also started a larger list of these published works. What else would you add to the list? And what should belong to the canon?

Author, Title, Publication Date, Publisher, Subject Area, Type

  • Michael E. Porter & Mark R. Kramer, “Philanthropy’s New Agenda: Creating Value”, 1999, HBR, Effective Practice, Essay
  • Joel J. Orosz, The Insider’s Guide to Grantmaking, 2000, Jossey-Bass, Effective Practice, Book
  • Tony Proscio, In Other Words, 2000, Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Effective Practice, Book
  • Tony Proscio, Bad Words for Good, 2001, Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Effective Practice, Book
  • The Center for Effective Philanthropy, “Indicators of Effectiveness: Understanding and Improving Foundation Performance”, 2002, CEP, Effective Practice, Essay
  • Ronald A. Heifetz, John V. Kania, & Mark R. Kramer, “Leading Boldly”, 2004, SSIR, Strategy & Leadership, Essay
  • The Center for Effective Philanthropy, “Beyond Compliance”, 2005, CEP, Strategy & Leadership, Essay
  • Tony Proscio, When Words Fail, 2005, Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Effective Practice, Book
  • Joel Fleishman, The Foundation: A Great American Secret, 2007, Public Affairs Books, History, Book
  • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, “Assessing the Impact”, 2008, GEO, Effective Practice, Essay
  • Grants Managers Network, “Project Streamline: Drowning in Paperwork”, 2009, GMN, Effective Practice, Essay
  • Susan Wolf Ditkoff and Susan J. Colby, “Galvanizing Philanthropy”, 2009, HBR, Effective Practice, Essay
  • Lucy Bernholz, Edward Skloot, & Barry Varela, Disrupting Philanthropy, 2010, Duke University, Strategy & Leadership, Book
  • Monitor Institute, “What’s Next for Philanthropy”, 2010, Monitor Institute, Effective Practice, Essay
  • Antony Bugg-Levine and Jed Emerson, Impact Investing, 2011, Jossey-Bass, Emerging Practice, Book
  •  John Kania and Mark R. Kramer, “Collective Impact”, 2011, SSIR, Effective Practice, Essay

Leave a Reply