Council on Foundations Annual Conference

We had the pleasure of attending the Annual Council on Foundations conference in Los Angeles last week. Although we could have done without the gloomy weather, we really enjoyed learning more about the current challenges foundations face. We met great people, had inspiring conversations and shared what we know about the industry as well.

One week later, here are the top three things that stuck with us from the conference:

1. The disappearing middle class and what philanthropy can do about it. A panel with very quotable moments from Don Peck and  Angela Glover Blackwell. If people go to conferences to feel inspired, then this panel would have accomplished that goal. Don Peck started by defining what he thinks of as middle class: everyone with a high school diploma but less than a four year college degree. Angela Glover Blackwell drove home the point that America needs to invest in everyone that we’ve been too comfortable leaving behind.

2. Social Gaming for Social Good  – Everyone is talking about it, but it is right for you? At WizeHive, we don’t build games, but we do understand startups. If you are considering funding a grantee who wants to build a game, or building a game for your foundation, the process can seem intimidating. What do you know about a game? More than you’d think, actually. Investing in a game is pretty similar to investing in a project at a startup.

3. Data driven decision making. Everyone is talking about it, but is anyone doing it? WizeHive can help with this. With WizeHive, you can report on any piece of information collected, throughout the lifecycle of the grant and manipulate that data so that it is meaningful to you. Do you agree that determining the efficacy of your grant making is based on analysis of the data? Or do you think that measuring social impact is too difficult and you should invest in ideas and people over results that may or may not be the right thing to measure? We’d love to hear what your foundation does.