Taking Stock of “Bring Back Our Girls” at Chibok’s Day 500

August 8, 2015; France24

The world united in outrage in April 2014 when news broke that nearly 300 girls had been snatched in the night from their school in northeastern Nigeria by the terror group, Boko Haram. In the ensuing pandemonium, vast national and global outpourings of grief and solidarity were punctuated by claims that the kidnapping was a scam and false reports of a military rescue. Amid this activity, former minister Obiageli Ezekwesili took on the role of champion for the cause and co-formed the Bring Back Our Girls movement (BBOG) demanding the safe and swift return of all the girls. BBOG launched from a hashtag into a digital activism hurricane whose highlights would come to include messages by Michelle Obama and pledges of military support by the U.S., Israel and Great Britain, among others. Today, 16 months after the kidnappings and a few days short of their 500th-day anniversary on August 27th, the girls are still not back (219 remain in captivity and sexual slavery after 57 escaped) and the clamor for their return has waned considerably—one writer describes it, rather harshly, as being in the junkyard of digital activism.


Brad Pitt Learns Community Development Lessons the Hard Way

While Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation has largely accomplished its goal of building 150 eco-friendly homes in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, the model cannot compete with the types of ambitious, scalable efforts needed to deliver necessary goods and services, along with housing, to all citizens.


MacArthur Foundation Makes Sharp Grantmaking Pivot

Significant course changes from major foundations under new leadership have become a feature of the philanthropic and nonprofit landscape. The latest to do so is the MacArthur Foundation, where new president Julia Stasch is calling for limiting its focus to a handful of fields and ending longstanding grantmaking in others.