Whether our work is community organizing, policy advocacy, or direct social services, our focus in the nonprofit sector is on achieving impact. But, what about all the important work that happens behind the scenes? At Tides, we know that "infrastructure" work is fundamental to social change—it's the lifeblood of the nonprofit sector. It consists of the systems that serve organizations, foundations, and activists; structures that enable the work to happen; and networks to share ideas and information.
Nonprofits are promoting shovel ready capital projects, taking advantage of stimulus funds and drastic drops in commercial real estate prices, and finding new opportunities and innovative strategies to improve their infrastructure, share administrative operations and avoid redundancies. In this economy, we think that's downright sexy.
Sharing People, Space & Systems
REPORT BACK - Building Opportunities Conference Hosted by Tides: Last week leaders from the nonprofit, philanthropic, private, and public sectors came together in Washington D.C. to experience the largest event in North America dedicated to creating and managing shared workspace, administrative services, technology and programs for the nonprofit sector. The conference presented collaborative tools and models to help nonprofit organizations reduce costs, gain greater efficiencies, and enhance community programs. As the social change sector searches for strategies to weather difficult economic times, the need for this forum has increased and participants requested changing this bi-annual conference into an annual event.
SHARED SPACES: Nonprofit centers, as well as their funders and investors are stimulating the economy, increasing access to social services, and creating lasting social change in their communities. Many nonprofit centers are also green buildings which lower operating costs and help the environment. Planting a Seed, a guide from the NonprofitCenters Network showcases successful nonprofit centers across North America.
INFRASTRUCTURE STUDY: The Nonprofit Quarterly's recent Study on Nonprofit and Philanthropic Infrastructure (PDF): 'As a tool for the sector, infrastructure facilitates collaboration, saves money for donors and activists, makes work more efficient, leverages assets, and builds connections across nonprofit, corporate, and public sectors.'
SHARED SERVICES STUDY: Tides has evolved from operating independent businesses with coordinated shared services into an integrated enterprise. As part of this effort, we recently completed research into shared service models run by organizations who serve internal business units. The goal is to run the whole organization more effectively. Download the executive summary of Tides' Shared Services Benchmarking Study (PDF).
Federal funds are coming from Washington for energy efficiency improvements, weatherization, and plant retooling. Now that the federal government has embraced America's transition to a clean energy economy, Tides project Apollo Alliance is redoubling its efforts to ensure that the new economy creates widely shared opportunities. Their goal is to develop high quality green-collar jobs that pay well, provide benefits, and can turn into rewarding careers in the clean energy sector.
Tides project GLUE (Great Lakes Urban Exchange) is a coalition of young leaders who are devoted to the revitalization of older industrial cities in the Great Lakes "rustbelt." GLUE is a forum to exchange stories, ideas, and best practices between otherwise isolated cities, and they invite activists, policy makers, and advocates to Great Lakes Metros: A Time of Opportunity, June 18-19, 2009 in Buffalo, NY. This summit will focus on the stimulus bill, future allocations, and other federal support to promote sustainable and equitable cities in the region.
FILM: Ready-made infrastructure for mission-related investments, including investing in social change media, is an innovative and unique way to create social change.
Amreeka, supported a Tides donor, documents the life of a Palestinian immigrant and her teenage son who arrive in rural Illinois to escape a life of oppression only to encounter the fallout from the war in Iraq. The film, which was just picked up by National Geographic for national distribution, "reaffirms social realism's validity as humanistic art with an educational frisson" (from a feature in the New York Times).
Please join us for this free Tides community event. Mal Warwick will speak on maintaining and improving your fundraising efforts in the current economy. RSVP at email@example.com.
Join Us! USAction Celebration to Honor Ellen Friedman
June 18, 6-8pm
San Francisco USAction is honoring Ellen Friedman, Executive Vice President of Tides, as part of their 10th Anniversary celebration. Please join us! Register here.
Registration Open! September 7-9
Recently confirmed speakers include Amy Goodman, Bishop Gene Robinson, and Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins.
Tides Opportunities & Deadlines
State Equality Fund
LOI deadline: 5/29. Grantmaking fund of Tides furthers equal opportunity for people at state and local levels regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. > More info
"Women's Health, Ungagged." This editorial from the New York Times lauds President Obama's lifting of the Bush-era gag rule that denied women around the globe access to desperately needed contraceptives, HIV/AIDS prevention education, and maternal care.
Destigmatizing condoms is key in preventing HIV. At the International Conference on AIDS & STIs in Africa, Tides' Condom Project creatively displayed male and female condoms, educated and demonstrated about condoms and lubricants, and displayed three dazzling condom dresses made by local partners.
THE REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE INITIATIVE &
THE CATALYST FUND
national foundations, local funders, and individual
donors, Tides offers opportunities for support
to create a ripple effect not just in dollars,
but in capacity, commitment, and the visibility
of the reproductive justice movement. To learn
more or to contribute, please contact Vanessa Daniel or visit www.tidesfoundation.org/reproductivejustice.
A model of both direct services and nonprofit shared space, The DC Developing Families Center is the only birth center in the country co-located with family-centered women's and children's health care, child care, family resource and support services, confidential counseling, and adult education, and has been successful in cutting low birth weight, pre-term and C-section deliveries in a high-risk, low-income community. DCDFC is member of the NonprofitCenters Network, a Tides initiative.
Tides' Center for Genetics and Society examines current issues in genetics, such the moral implications of modern reproductive technologies. "Preventing the Next Fertility Clinic Scandal" by Jesse Reynolds advocates regulating assisted reproduction.
The rapid advance of biotechnology is outpacing our ability as a society to absorb the effect it will have on our lives. Tides' Women's Bioethics Project invites participation on their website, blog, and book club to debate and discuss these issues.