After eight years evaluating advocacy and development programs for Oxfam, Allison Davis noticed a common factor in success stories.
“The No. 1 thing that determines the success of anything seems to be how much people feel ownership of it,” she says. “They really own it.”
Davis takes that observation to heart in her current career as a grantmaker. She’s at Global Greengrants Fund, one of a small but growing set of funders that are handing over decision-making power directly to people they serve, a practice known as participatory grantmaking. Read More
Bring leading computer scientists together with leading astrophysicists, and exciting stuff happens—complex computer simulations of galaxy formation, algorithms churning through terabytes of data collected by telescope arrays.
Same thing goes for biologists, as they work with programmers to bring order to the chaos of neurons firing by the millions.
But get everyone working together under the same roof with extensive time and funding, and unexpected work might take shape. New ideas could form as computer scientists and researchers from a variety of fields hold meetings, chat over lunch, or just run into each other in the hallways. Read More
For Boston’s working-class communities of color, the city’s economy is not working. That’s evidenced by a shocking racial wealth gap—the median net worth for black households is just $8, compared to $247,500 for white households. As in many cities, when economic development does happen in these neighborhoods, it often displaces, rather than benefits existing residents.
The Boston Ujima Project is a unique initiative posing the question of just what it would take to make a lasting change to that deep inequality—combining philanthropy, investing and organizing to build wealth in a way that benefits and is guided by communities. Read More
I think a lot about this Jason Isbell interview from a while back, where he talks about what it’s like being a country music singer who writes about politics and topics like racism in the South. Read More
I have this tailor who is like the best tailor in Boston, although this is a heated debate. For years, I had never really used a true tailor, just the ones that work at suit stores, sorry no offense to those guys. But when I got married a few years back, I wanted to get it done right. I had heard once that if you get it tailored right, even a pretty cheap suit can look great. So I bought a light grey suit, nothing fancy, few hundred bucks, but made sure to go to a good tailor so it fit right. Read More
Climate One is a terrific talk show/public forum/podcast focusing on all things climate change, and I had the great opportunity to join some very smart people to discuss philanthropy’s influence on climate action. It felt like we only scratched the surface, but also covered a ton of ground on this important topic. Read More
This is some of the best advice on process that I've come across. So simple, but the copy and write-over step makes it feel like you're always standing on something steady, instead of flopping around on thin ice the way writing usually feels. Read More
Here are some tweets I tweeted after I tried to ride one of those terrible Bird electric scooters: Read More
The day police confirmed they had recovered the body of Frightened Rabbit singer and songwriter Scott Hutchison, I was celebrating my 40th birthday in the Highlands of Scotland. It felt like a strange coincidence, that here I was, celebrating making it this far in life, while maybe a day before and just on the other side of this foreign island, Hutchison was apparently ending his own. I had made it about four years longer than he did. Read More
At some point, the central activity of online communication shifted from seeking to eliminating.
This is something I realized much later than I would have liked, but is fast becoming my grand unifying principle of networked life. It basically goes, when the internet was a new and wonderful place, it unlocked paths of communication, so its power was in what it could provide that was not previously there, or was only there through very limited avenues.
Today, the central feature of the internet is that everything is there, all the time, provided and consumed by everyone. That overabundance is not only abused for nefarious purposes, it’s simply, logistically unsustainable. There is so much information beaming out at us that if we're not careful we become effectively snow-blind.
So the central task of anyone seeking to consume information online in any kind of useful way is no longer to hunt things down; it’s to constantly eliminate as much as possible. To clear away sticky, screaming tidal waves of trash. Read More