Discussing a non-profit org to benefit IndieWeb and the indie web
Playing catch up on some of the sessions I wish I’d had time to be at in person.
There are several ways of doing the non-profit thing in this venue. Many of them don’t bring a lot of additional benefit however. One could set up a side foundation to help on the fundraising and spending side, but as a group, I suspect we’re more than fine for right now.
We live in a country where billionaires make the decision to pay their workers less than minimum wage & then when they donate the most infinitesimal amount of their relative wealth to a decent cause they get buildings named after them & endlessly praised.
It’s all so backwards.
— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) June 18, 2018
In the early ’90s, Hank Rowan gave $100 million to a university in New Jersey, an act of extraordinary generosity that helped launch the greatest explosion in educational philanthropy since the days of Andrew Carnegie and the Rockefellers. But Rowan gave his money to Glassboro State University, a tiny, almost bankrupt school in South Jersey, while almost all of the philanthropists who followed his lead made their donations to elite schools such as Harvard and Yale. Why did no one follow Rowan’s example?
“My Little Hundred Million” is the third part of Revisionist History’s educational miniseries. It looks at the hidden ideologies behind giving and how a strange set of ideas has hijacked educational philanthropy.
The key idea laid out stunningly here is strong links versus weak links.
I’m generally flabbergasted by the general idea proposed here and will have to do some more research in the near future to play around further with the ideas presented. Fortunately, in addition to the education specific idea presented, Gladwell also comes up with an additional few examples in sports by using the differences between soccer and basketball to show the subtle differences.
If he and his lab aren’t aware of the general concept, I would recommend this particular podcast and the concept of strong and weak links to César Hidalgo (t) who might actually have some troves of economics data to use to play around with some general modeling to expand upon these ideas. I’ve been generally enamored of Hidalgo’s general thesis about the overall value of links as expressed in Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies1. I often think of it with relation to political economies and how the current administration seems to be (often quietly) destroying large amounts of value by breaking down a variety of economic, social, and political links within the United States as well as between our country and others.
I wonder if the additional ideas about the differences between strong and weak links might further improve these broader ideas. The general ideas behind statistical mechanics and statistics make me think that Gladwell, like Hidalgo, is certainly onto a strong idea which can be continued to be refined to improve billions of lives. I’ll have to start some literature searches now…
Hidalgo C. Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies. New York: Basic Books; 2015.
A charity that honors the memory of the late school nutrition supervisor has erased the lunch debt of every student in public schools in the St. Paul, Minnesota, district where he worked before his death by a police officer in 2016.
A new meaning for Philanthropy.
I find it unconscionable that school districts would penalize the poor this way and prevent them from getting the services that the schools should be encouraging. This is simply morally wrong and is a prime example of a negative feedback mechanism that drags society in general down instead of improving it.
Legendary investor William H. "Bill" Miller III has committed a record $75 million to the Johns Hopkins University Department of Philosophy to broaden and intensify faculty research, graduate student support, and undergraduate study of philosophical thought.
Support for the humanities like this is definitely a worthy cause!
To that end, the missing piece on the other side of the equation seems to be the profile page of sorts that identifies me as a supporter of various causes. To remedy that, I’ve created a /Supporting page as the beginning of showing which organizations, institutions, artists, and other entities which I’m actively supporting or have supported in the past.
If you’re looking for something to support yourself, I highly recommend any of the organizations which I list there. I’ve added links to the organizations themselves as well as quick links for how to support them directly.
For the technically inclined, I’ve marked up the organizations with h-cards and include their homepages with u-url and p-name microformats as well as the rel=”payment” and u-payment microformats.