Monday, June 8, 2009

Picks of the Week: June 7 - 13, 2009

Website of the Week -- Applied Research Center

The Applied Research Center (ARC) is a racial justice think tank and clearinghouse for media and activism. ARC is built on rigorous research and creative use of new technology. The ARC goal is to popularize the need for racial justice and prepare people to fight for it. By telling the stories of everyday people, ARC strives to be a voice for unity and fairness in the structures that affect individuals and communities. ARC is currently developing a Toolkit on Equity and the Green Economy — including releases in Summer and Fall of 2009 of case studies, a model policy bank, and a framework of measures and standards—that advocates can use to design fair programs and policies within the burgeoning green economy. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Boardroom Realities: Building Leaders Across Your Board Edited by Jay A. Conger

From the publisher: There is renewed interest in new boardroom practices that aim to strengthen the leadership role of directors. This book assembles the biggest names in the study of board governance as well as corporate board members themselves to address the critical questions that corporate boards face today. Contributors include Joseph Bower, Jay Lorsch, Sydney Finkelstein, Ed Lawler, Richard Leblanc, Charles Olsen, Dan Dalton, Michael Useem, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, and board consultants such as David Nadler, Elise Walton, and researchers such as Kathrina Pick. Written for board members, leaders, and executives, consultants, and students of corporate strategy and leadership. Jay A. Conger holds the Kravis Research Chair in Leadership Studies at Claremont McKenna College. He is the coauthor of Corporate Boards: New Strategies for Adding Value at the Top, Building Leaders, and The Practice of Leadership as well as eleven other books on leadership. Click to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Family Foundation Decision-making About Lifespan

While existing in perpetuity continues to be the norm for the majority of family foundations, a quarter say they are currently undecided about their lifespan options and a small segment (12 percent) plan to limit their lifespan, according to the first large-scale study of family foundation lifespan plans, jointly released today by the Foundation Center and the Council on Foundations. The report, "Perpetuity or Limited Lifespan: How Do Family Foundations Decide?," benchmarks the intentions, practices, and attitudes of nearly 1,100 active family foundations and sheds light on future behavior as this very large and predominantly young segment of philanthropy matures. Nine out of 10 of the roughly 40,000 family foundations currently tracked by the Foundation Center were created since 1980. Key findings include:

• Foundations most likely to opt for a limited lifespan are small foundations established since 1980 that do not employ staff and whose founder is still living, though the percentage who expect to spend down is still modest.
• Foundations with a living founder are three times more likely to expect to spend down than those whose founder is deceased, and they are almost twice as likely to be undecided.
• When the decision to spend down is made at the foundation's inception, the leading factors are the desire of the founder(s) to have a greater impact during their lifetimes and to be involved in how the money is spent.
• The two leading reasons for deciding to exist in perpetuity are a desire both to have a long-term impact on the community and for family engagement across generations.

To download a summary of study highlights, go to:

Resource of the Week -- The Dynamic Board: Lessons from High-Performing Nonprofits

The Nonprofit Practice of McKinsey & Company:” The Dynamic Board: Lessons from High-Performing Nonprofits” This report from the Nonprofit Practice of McKinsey & Company, explores the issue of board effectiveness. The report summarizes the best practices identified through McKinsey’s interviews with the directors or board chairs of 32 highly-regarded nonprofits. Go to: McKinsey & Company also provides a valuable board self-assessment tool for nonprofits. This is one of the best board assessment tools available and in available in 5, 15 and 30 minute completion time versions. To access the assessments, go to: and scroll down to “The Dynamic Board: Self-Assessment Tool”. (Free registration may be required to access this article)

Tech Tip of the Week -- Change Text Orientation in Excel 2007

• Select the text you want to rotate, angle, or switch to vertical
• On the Home tab of the Ribbon, in the Alignment group, click the Orientation button

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