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More Voices, Richer Data for Greater Impact

Fund for Shared Insight marks a new chapter for philanthropy In 2012, Oakland, California, was drowning in public record requests. An already overworked system had been flooded by requests for video, email and internal documents related to the Occupy Oakland protests. But there was no clear way…

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Collaboration for Discovery and Change

This summer brings exciting announcements from two core areas of the Rita Allen Foundation’s work. The first is the announcement of the 2014 Class of Rita Allen Foundation Scholars—seven remarkable biomedical scientists in the early stages of careers that promise to transform how we understand and treat disease. The…

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The Philanthropic Lab in 2014

I began 2013 writing about how the Rita Allen Foundation draws inspiration from the young biomedical scholars we support. We aim to be, in a sense, a philanthropic lab—where creativity, risk, collaboration, assessment and learning are part of everything we do. Never has there been a more exciting…

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Confronting the Data Dilemma

A few years ago, the City of Boston decided to tackle an age-old municipal problem in a new way. Using the motion-sensing capabilities of smart phones, volunteers who download Boston’s Street Bump app automatically send to the city information about the condition of the streets they’re driving on.

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Measuring to Learn

Last fall, the Rita Allen Foundation gathered six emerging nonprofits to talk about performance measurement. Each of the organizations works on some aspect of civic engagement. One, for instance, based in Seattle, seeks to change attitudes and action through environmental news, with a twist of humor. How do…

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Science and Civil Society

Young leaders in science and social innovation. Community building. Civic engagement. These are all areas of passion and investment for the Rita Allen Foundation—we sometimes call them our “domains.” But that makes them sound separate from each other, as if you close the door on community building, walk down the…

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Helping to Advance the Learning in Philanthropy

As Stephen Heintz, President of Rockefeller Brothers Fund, has emphasized, foundations such as Rockefeller and Rita Allen have a responsibility to support philanthropic stewardship for philanthropic leader organizations that develop and widely disseminate knowledge about best practices. The reports issued and information publicized by the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP),…

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Building Nonprofits Strategically through Social Media

It took 34 years for the telephone to reach 50 million customers; 13 years for television to attract 50 million viewers; but just 2 years for Facebook to surpass 50 million users. Social media is powerful and global, and nonprofits are eager to maximize the use of it to increase…

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Choosing the Right Philanthropic Investments

I am often asked what compass the Rita Allen Foundation uses for our charitable investment decisions: How do we choose to fund a particular group or cause when there are so many worthy organizations and projects in need of our support? Of course answers found on our Website include our…

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