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Thank you for the very kind and thoughtful comments! Jenn, the power dynamic has not been broken, but I think it might be bending a bit :) Still miles to go before we sleep. And I think your side note is so true, Tierney. I don't know why so often we default to secrecy or opacity? Grant, you are doing this work every day and making a big difference. Keep on. Marie
Toggle Commented Mar 28, 2012 on Turning Inside Out at Transparency Talk
I've been so thrilled to see such thoughtful responses to my blog post, I haven't wanted to come back in too soon and break the momentum. But I can't wait any longer to continue this discussion... First, Jean, I think your description of how you view foundations matches very closely with what I used to think before I started working at one (my first blog post in this series at Once inside, though, I was really struck by how wrong I had been, because I saw that foundation staff really and truly wanted to support nonprofits and their work. But even with the strong desire to help, I learned there is something at work that keeps the power mismatch in place, and keeps foundations seem removed and even aloof. At Meyer Memorial Trust, we have worked hard to change that by talking in authentic human voices on our website and other communications, sharing all materials we produce through Creative Commons, creating tools for all community members to come together to share data and knowledge. (the subject of my second post at I think all these things matter a lot, but they aren't enough. Power is still mostly on the side of foundations. Fortunately – from my point of view at least – there is a global movement underway that I believe is fundamentally changing pretty much everything because it moves a lot more power into a lot more hands. Having the ability to report and share one's own perspective and experience in real time, having instant access to global information and conversations, having tools that offer the power to participate to a growing number of people on the planet – these things are revolutionary. Those of us who have lived through many decades and watched this happen still marvel at it. Our grandchildren can't imagine life being any other way. They take this power of participation for granted. They are the webkids. We should expect them. So, Jean, yes, I believe foundations are among those who should expect them. The expectation of participation will not go away. The proverbial horse has left the vintage barn. I ran out of space before I could quote the We the Web Kids manifesto I referred to in my blog post, but I was so happy that Amy offered up what I think is the key passage in her comment. And I think the key sentence within that passage is this: "And we have learned that change is possible: that every uncomfortable system can be replaced by a new one, one that is more efficient, better suited to our needs, giving more opportunities." There is no philanthropic or charitable donation exception. I agree with much of what Heather Higgins argues in the blog post you referred to, Brad, and can only imagine the horror of our presently constituted Congress having control of philanthropic dollars! And voluntary participation in Glass Pockets and any other transparency/accountability measure is quickest and cleanest. But the webkids have put us on notice that everything is up for reform. I think institutions with disproportionate power will be questioned and scrutinized as never before. Trust will have a lot to do with which institutions survive and in what form, as you noted. Trust is gained by being accountable for our work, honestly measuring and showing its successes and failures, sharing what we learn, and more – and that is an important part of transparency. But trust is also gained by showing our processes, being clear about our rationale, letting people watch how we make decisions and even inviting participation. I think the webkids will expect both from us. And it will be a global conversation. (For more to think about along these lines, read "Why It's Over" at Fortunately, new tools and technologies make it possible and much easier to do a lot of these things without huge staffs. Especially if foundations hire webkids to help them. At my age, I think a lot about passing the torch. I plan to spend the time I have left working at my foundation doing what I can to help make a world deserving of the webkids. I'd love others to join me.
Oh Alicia. Oh Andy. No words. Heart breaking. But knowing someone else will find you.
I'm reading your blog in bed on my iPad :) I really liked Moda's birds nest collection, made a quilt from a layer cake. But I have a feeling my new favorite will be sherbet pips!
Toggle Commented Jan 31, 2011 on pips, pillows and a give-away! at comfortstitching
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You have really outdone yourself, Alicia! Every time you come up with something, I think, okay, she'll never top this, she has reached the max with this one. Then you go and do it again! These are so special, I can't wait to get it in my hands. And I still have to get you to sign my books, but I think we shall require you and Andy to do that in person, like come over for dinner soon! We miss you two! --Marie
Toggle Commented Sep 16, 2010 on That Winter Afternoon . . . at Posie Gets Cozy
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Sep 15, 2010