According to Viking tradition, Loki, the uninvited 13th guest at a banquet of gods in Valhalla, orchestrated the assassination of Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and goodness. Reflecting this and similar stories, folkloric traditions around the world have long attributed a pall of misfortune to the number 13.
Fortunately, our Center was able to beat these odds and turn this nearly completed thirteenth year of the twenty-first century into an abundant source of joy and goodness. More specifically, 2013 for us was full of Culminations, Beginnings, and Connections.
Perhaps the most gratifying source of 2013’s joy and goodness has been the range of long-standing Center initiatives that came to culmination during this year.
New Frontiers of Philanthropy Book. A major highlight of the past year was the completion of a major volume on the New Frontiers of Philanthropy edited by Center Director Lester Salamon. This book, to be published by Oxford University Press, brought together an all-star team of experts to author chapters on such topics as “capital aggregators,” “social secondary markets,” “social stock exchanges,” “foundations as philanthropic banks,” “loans and credit enhancements,” “securitization,” and other strange lifeforms occupying the “new frontiers of philanthropy,” and calls attention to the “big bang” that is currently transforming the financing of social-purpose activity. Our goal with this book is to provide the first authoritative and comprehensive overview of the new actors and tools that are emerging as a consequence; it should be a valuable resource to a wide array of audiences – from nonprofit managers, business leaders, corporate social responsibility officers, foundation officials, to public policy experts, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, investors, investment advisors, bankers, public officials, and students in nonprofit management, public policy, and MBA programs.
The full manuscript of this book was delivered to Oxford in mid-November and is due out by June 1. In addition, Oxford has agreed to publish Dr. Salamon’s introductory chapter as a separate monograph under the title Leverage for Good: An Introduction to the New Frontiers of Philanthropy and Social Investment, which will be released in early April. Both volumes will be available in print and electronic versions. Advance orders for single or multiple copies can be made via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Oxford has agreed to keep the price within reach ($19.95 for the monograph and $55.00 for the full volume) and to offer discounts on orders of 50 or more copies of either book. Custom editions are also possible containing messages from sponsors that purchase bulk orders for distribution (but not re-sale) to their clients or colleagues.
UN Nonprofit Handbook Implementation. 2013 also afforded us the opportunity to showcase the 16 countries—from Canada to Kyrgyzstan—that have now completed at least an initial implementation of the United Nations Handbook on Nonprofit Institutions in the System of National Accounts, which was developed by our Center in collaboration with an International Technical Experts Group and released in 2003. To mark this culmination point, we issued a major report comparing and contrasting the scope, structure, financing, composition, and contribution to GDP of the nonprofit sector in these 16 countries. This represents the first solid fruits of the effort we launched in 2003 to enlist national statistical authorities in the effort to put the NPI sector officially on the economic map of countries in a systematic, comparative way and serves as the culmination of the first phase of implementation of this important addition to the guidance system for international economic statistics.
ILO Volunteer Measurement Manual Implementation. This year also saw the culmination of the initial efforts to promote the implementation of another important addition to the international statistical machinery that our Center had a significant hand in developing: the International Labour Organization’s Manual on the Measurement of Volunteer Work. Statistical agencies in three countries — Poland, Portugal, and Italy — generated major new bodies of data on volunteer work based on the guidelines laid out in this Manual. Coupled with the work of Hungary in 2012, this marked the first time that comparable data on volunteer work and its value, covering both direct and indirect volunteering, has become available on multiple countries.
Philanthropication thru Privatization. 2013 also saw the culmination of the research phase of another important long-term project. “Philanthropication thru Privatization,” or PtP, which examines the prospects for building substantial charitable assets in less developed countries by capturing all or a portion of the assets involved in privatization transactions. This Initiative is being conducted by Center Director Lester Salamon in cooperation with the East-West Management Institute (EWMI) and a team of Associates around the world, with the support of a network of Italian foundations of banking origin and the Volkswagen, King Baudouin, and Charles Stewart Mott foundations. The Project has so far identified over 500 foundations with assets in excess of US $130 billion that have resulted from one of five different forms of sales or transfers of state-owned or state-controlled assets or streams of revenue. An exposure draft of this project’s final report was presented at a conference in Hanover, Germany in September 2013 attended by a broad cross-section of nonprofit, foundation, business, and government officials from throughout the world. The report has been very well-received and has already been featured in the The Economist and Alliance magazines. A final draft of this report incorporating comments from members of the Project Advisory Committee will be released in late January. In the meantime, efforts are going forward to disseminate the PtP concept and arrange a series of pilot implementations of the concept in countries where extensive privatization transactions are under way. If you know of other PtP foundations or want to know more about bringing the PtP concept to your area, contact Naomi Hansen at EWMI.
Global Civil Society, Volume 3. Another long-simmering project that is coming to fruition as we come to the end of 2013 is the third volume of our Global Civil Society series. The most notable development here has been the decision of the Johns Hopkins University Press to publish this volume and the completion of a first draft of the manuscript. Unlike prior volumes in this series, this third volume will move decisively beyond description toward an attempt to offer a systematic explanation of the diverse patterns of civil society development we have found among countries, drawing heavily on our previously formulated “social origins” theory.
In addition to bringing old initiatives to fruition, we had the joy during 2013 of launching a series of new initiatives.
Revision 1.0 of the UN Nonprofit Handbook. With the revision of the System of National Accounts (SNA) that guides international economic statistics in 2008, it became clear that our 2003 UN Nonprofit Handbook, which is tied to this system, also needed to be revised. Accordingly, with support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the encouragement of the United Nations Statistics Division, we have launched a major revision of this Handbook in cooperation with a wide array of national statistical agencies and outside experts. We have prepared a detailed outline of proposed changes and shared it with statistical agencies around the world, and have already produced initial drafts of portions of the revised Handbook. Our goal is to submit a proposed new draft for review in early spring and issue the revised version by early summer 2014.
Third Sector Impact (TSI) Project. Working out of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies Bologna Center, we joined a consortium of other European institutions organized by Norway’s Institute for Social Research in winning a European Union tender for a major study of the impact of the third sector in Europe. This three-year inquiry seeks to clarify the conceptualization of the third sector in Europe, to promote the implementation of the statistical machinery already formulated to measure the scope and scale of this sector, and to generate a better empirical understanding of the impact of this sector and of ways in which this impact can be further enhanced.
Building a University-based Nonprofit Management Program in Kyrgyzstan. With support from USAID, we have launched a significant 4-year initiative under the auspices of the East-West Management Institute to introduce a nonprofit management curriculum among a consortium of universities in the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. An initial fact-finding mission was undertaken earlier this year by colleagues Stefan Toepler and Patrice Flynn, followed by an initial training session for 17 university faculty members in Kyrgyzstan conducted in December by Center Director Lester Salamon, Project Manager Megan Haddock, and nonprofit training expert Joe McNeely.
The Nonprofit Value Initiative. Building on the threats to the nonprofit sector identified in the second edition of The State of Nonprofit America, and the results of our Nonprofit Listening Post Project report on the core values of the nonprofit sector that showed concern among nonprofit managers about how the value added by the contemporary American nonprofit sector was being perceived by various stakeholders, we decided to “double down” this year on the promotion of a clearer comprehension of the values that nonprofit leaders agree the sector should embody in its work. This ongoing initiative includes:
- A series of blog posts and infographics designed to highlight the seven key values that nonprofit leaders agreed should characterize nonprofit work and to show how sector organizations are embodying them. This has led to some powerful illustrations of how the nonprofit sector embodies the values of being EMPOWERING (Monterrey Bay Aquarium), ENRICHING (Chicago Symphony Orchestra), RESPONSIVE (Landis Homes), and CARING (Liberty Lutheran). Many thanks to the fine folks at these organizations who put their time and effort into producing these posts! You can check out all of the posts, reports, and infographics on the Nonprofit Values Initiative right here.
- Major speeches and presentations at conferences of the Unemployment Services Trust, LeadingAge Maryland, the Southeastern Council of Foundations, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, and the Greater Washington Society of CPAs‘ Nonprofit Finance and Accounting Symposium.
- Discussion sessions organized in cooperation with the Aspen Institute in Washington DC and the Foundation Center in New York. In addition, we organized a panel session at the 2013 ARNOVA conference in Hartford entitled “What Do Nonprofits Stand For? Renewing The Nonprofit Value Commitment.”
Through it all, we continue to strive to nurture the wonderful network of colleagues and friends we have created through our International Philanthropy Fellows and Comparative Nonprofit Sector projects.
In 2013, we had the joy of welcoming Mr. Tatsuaki Kobayashi (Japan) and Dr. Yuanfeng Zhang (China) to our International Fellows in Philanthropy family. Mr. Kobayashi – or TK as he is known – joined us for three semesters, from September 2012 through December 2013, to study the New Frontiers of Philanthropy. Dr. Zhang came to the Center in September 2013 to learn more about the ways that government and social service nonprofits in the U.S. work together to improve service provision. Their presence brought our Fellows network up to exactly 150 colleagues, a rich harvest indeed!
We sincerely hope that you, too, were able to beat the odds on the number 13’s reputation for misfortune and to turn the year 2013 into a time for goodness, joy, and satisfaction. We hope that 2014 will provide even more opportunities for good fortune, good health, and good work for all of us!