Information Wants to Find People
The following op-ed was published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review on June 9, 2014.
“What business are you really in?”
Economist Theodore Levitt established this question as a central consideration for any enterprise in his classic article “Marketing Myopia.” It sounds like such a simple question, but it can be very difficult to answer, and answering it well can mean the difference between thriving and dying.
As Levitt pointed out in his article, the railroads—once dominant forces in the US economy—fell into decades of decline because “they assumed themselves to be in the railroad business rather than in the transportation business. The reason they defined their industry incorrectly was that they were railroad-oriented instead of transportation-oriented; they were product-oriented instead of customer-oriented.” In other words, focusing on their existing mode of operation gave them myopia about their business and market. They neglected opportunities to develop strongholds in trucking, telecommunications (they owned rights of way for wirelines), and other areas.
Viewpoints: California Must Confront How Money is Allocated to Schools
The following op-ed was published in the Sacramento Bee on Thursday, January 10, 2013.
In California we talk a lot about money for schools. Unfortunately, that's because there just isn't enough of it, and school budgets have taken a real beating in recent years.
Perhaps a signal that the tide is shifting, voters passed Proposition 30 in November to stave off drastic cuts to California schools and the Legislative Analyst's Office cautiously predicts moderate revenue growth in the next few years. While this is good news, those of us committed to improving student achievement and restoring excellence in all California schools will continue to fight for more resources because the need is so great.
"Reform at a Time of Regret … Or, Spend that Brand, Baby"
On April 18, 2012, Dr. Robert Ross from The California Endowment spoke with California United Ways at our annual Capitol Day in Sacramento. In his speech, Dr. Ross discusses the distinct role United Way plays in the social sector and the opportunities we have to improve well-being in health, education and income throughout the state. Dr. Ross graciously provided us permission to share his speech.
Nonprofits Shouldn't Mistake Nonpartisanship with Neutrality in the 2012 Elections
The following op-ed was published in the The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
August 19, 2012.
By Peter Manzo and Jan Masaoka
As partisanship heats up in anticipation of the November election, some nonprofits, think tanks, watchdogs, and good-government folks are seeking refuge in the cooler climes of nonpartisanship.
But in doing so, many charity and foundation leaders are mistaking nonpartisanship with neutrality and sitting on the sidelines while important economic and social issues are under debate.
Viewpoints: Are feds set to pull rug from under charities?
Sacramento Bee (Opinion)
October 28, 2011
By Ruth Blank
For a region still struggling with some of the worst economic conditions on record – a region that, even before the economy tanked, lagged the rest of the nation in philanthropic giving – proposals by the Obama administration and the so-called supercommittee to decrease the deductibility of charitable gifts are a very bad idea. They could severely damage our communities and set a dangerous precedent.
A recently completed multi-county study of philanthropic giving and attitudes in the region, the Greater Sacramento Generosity Project, highlighted the challenges local nonprofits face.