The Attitude of Gratitude

When I was a kid, my parents forced me to write thank you notes after every birthday and Christmas. I HATED doing it. I struggled to find something creative to say beyond “Thank you for the sweater. I can’t wait to wear it. Hope to see you soon.” [in reality, I was returning that so-not-cool sweater for a store...

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The Value of Time

What if you could calculate the value of the time you ask of your grantees? Would knowing the value of their time change what you asked of them? What if you found out they are 'spending' more then they 'earn' going through your grant making process? A few weeks ago we attended a workshop run by Jane Leu (PF...

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What is Our Approach in East Palo Alto?

That’s a good question that we haven’t quite nailed yet. Here’s my attempt at explaining where we are in the process. Feel free to leave comments if you have suggestions as we continue to sort through this. In the Local Portfolio, our work is heavily steeped in the communities of East Palo Alto and Belle Haven. The way we...

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A Glance at the PF Team Through Email Metrics

This past January, the Peery Foundation team got out of the office for our semi-annual retreat. It was two intense (but obviously rewarding) days of brainstorming and discussing how we define our role as individuals and as a foundation. One of my roles at the Peery Foundation is to make sure that while...

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In Nigeria, University Degrees Can Lead to Poverty

Christiana Ubah left school at 17 without prospects for further education, let alone a job. Born in the Lagos slum of Ajegunle, she had completed secondary school but could not afford further studies. But she was willing to learn; she had enthusiasm and a determined attitude. After a three-week employability skills...

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Funding and Privilege

Recently, I was reading about race and discrimination. A key theme reoccurred: most people with privilege are unaware of, ignore, or deny their privilege. Perhaps this is obvious. But it's a powerful idea to consider and apply personally. Where do I benefit from what Peggy McIntosh describes as an "invisible package of unearned...

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Funder Feedback: Cycle 4 Report

We rounded up cycle 4 of Funder Feedback on March 31st. In cycle 3 we received one or two critical comments, but the majority of comments were about what grantees liked about working with the PF. In cycle 4 I think people are beginning to trust that it's truly anonymous. How do I know? Because we got more critical feedback. Woohoo! This is where the real value in Funder Feedback lies...

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Why I Do What I Love

While I was growing up just outside of Washington D.C., my parents and all-girl’s college-prep school instilled a strong sense of service that has followed me throughout my life. I was surrounded by confident and accomplished women personally and academically who inspired me with their achievements. I decided then...

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Getting on the Same Page

At a recent conference (yes, another one! I get inspiration talking to grantees that attend), I met the leader of an educational non-profit in New Orleans. After about 5 minutes of conversation, he cut straight to the chase, “Okay, so what is it that you all [read: funders] want to see from us?” He was talking generically, trying to get...

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Risk & Rebuilding

I’m writing this a few days after the earthquake in Nepal and I can’t stop thinking about Haiti. I’m thinking about how more than five years after Haiti’s devastating earthquake, conditions remain deplorable there despite a global outpouring of support that has totaled more than $13 billion. I am thinking about the human toll...

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Namaste Nepal

I had a much more light-hearted blog ready to go but couldn’t bring myself to post it after the disaster in Nepal. Nepal and its people hold a special place in my heart ever since I crossed the friendship highway from the majestic Tibetan plateau through the mighty Himalayas and into Nepal back in 2002.

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Dispelling the Poverty Monster

I was an hour and half outside of Kisumu, Kenya talking to 130 young men at their school when I heard something that surprised me –“Should your girlfriends and female friends take contraceptives, to protect themselves and their futures?” I asked. “No. Contraception is for older people, if girls take it they...

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Reflections on Risk

In philanthropy, we often talk about risk. How much are we willing to take? How do we strategically plan to minimise it? Can we mitigate it entirely? Are we taking enough? How do we manage it? As funders there is a risk to our brand if we make bad decisions about who and how to fund. Risk to our professional reputations...

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