The National Conference on Volunteering and Service is getting a lot of buzz this week in San Francisco. Michele Obama is the keynote speaker and Maria Schriver, the first lady of California is speaking as well.
What’s interesting to me is that there are a number of sessions on the relationship between philanthropy and services. Kari Dunn Saratovsky of the Case Foundation is organizing some of these sessions and she writes today about the philanthropy/service connection.
There’s been a lot of buzz this year about a renewed opportunity for collaboration between philanthropy and government. At the conference, I’ll be speaking on a panel along with Sonal Shah, director of the White House Office of Social Innovation & Civic Participation as well as representatives from Public Allies and the Points of Light Institute. We’ll have a conversation about the potential for collaboration, but I’ll be keeping in mind the comment made after the Council on Foundations conference by Kristin Ivie (also from the Case Foundation), when she wrote, “As with any partnership, we know that working with Uncle Sam may not always be sunshine and lollipops…”
I’ve been given some sample questions that we’ll be discussing for the panel and I’d like to post them here to solicit your input. Your answers will help me formulate my own thoughts and I may very well quote some of your responses as I did when I solicited input for my panel at the Center for Effective Philanthropy conference. Remember, the session is tomorrow afternoon, so get your answers in fast. Thanks!
- What stands in the way and what opens the path to fully realize the vision for service and civic engagement?
- How can interests of government and philanthropy be better aligned? What’s the low hanging fruit for aligning philanthropic resources with the provisions of the Kennedy-Hatch Serve America Act or the Social Innovation Fund specifically?
- What is the mechanism for achieving maximum impact with scarce resources? How do we go from conversation about this alignment to strategic philanthropy/investments?
- What does a merged strategy mean for the sector’s short-term and long-term goals? What do we lose? What do we gain?
- Are we taking advantage of social innovation as we look toward the future? Do things like social media and other innovative tools change our paradigm for understanding what works or how to best leverage resources? Is our view of philanthropy taking into account the democratization of philanthropy? Self-organizing? The information revolution?
- Does this work ensure that the endgame means changes in the lives of the most vulnerable in our society? Do our investments ensure participation from diverse groups and do so in equitable, accessible ways? How do we measure success for children, families, and communities?