Building a Foundation for the 21st Century: Part I – On Full Philanthropic Engagement

The Heron Foundation has long been an influential philanthropic player on the national scene. Its board’s historic advocacy on the use of philanthropic assets as mission related investments (MRIs) has been central to discussions of how to approach the full deployment of assets in pursuit of goals. Now, in this two-part series, Clara Miller, the foundation’s president, lays out in detail the ways that ideology and practice fit together in this foundation’s still evolving and historically ambitious engagement with the larger economy. In our opinion, this is a must-read for those serious about philanthropic impact.

The Four Horsemen of the Nonprofit Financial Apocalypse

In 2010, NPQ published this article by Clara Miller, then of the Nonprofit Finance Fund and now of the FB Heron Foundation. In it, she discusses four pre-existing conditions that could have made nonprofits particularly vulnerable to the Great Recession. NPQ invites its readers to write in about their own experiences with any combination of these problems during the downturn. Was Miller on the mark? NPQ has seen these very factors play out in arts organizations across the country, but let’s hear from you!”

The Four Horsemen of the Nonprofit Financial Apocalypse

A Timely Reprint from the NPQ Archives

NPQ has done any number of stories recently on nonprofits, their buildings, their debt, and finally the restructuring they are doing in the wake of the recession, so we wanted to rerun this excellent piece on those issues by Clara Miller in the hope that it may help with your own considerations in these areas.

Focus on the Core Business

As sources of capital, funders can unintentionally contribute to the systematic under-capitalization of the sector–encouraging the growth of programs without providing for a commensurate growth in capacity. Clara Miller offers advice for reversing this trend.

Patterns, Stories, and Systems: The Stuff of Our Work

Understanding where we want our organizations to go depends greatly on understanding where we are and how our organizations behave under different conditions. The case studies in this edition are an opportunity to look at patterns of organizational behavior and apply them to our own situations.