As 2014 came to a close, I set out to identify where philanthropy had impact during the previous year. It was an interesting exercise. Obviously, this wasn't the kind of rigorous analysis that a place like MRDC might undertake. Rather, it was a search for spots where the fingerprints of funders could be clearly seen on some important event.
Here's the piece: Philanthropy's Greatest Hits, 2014
One key takeaway of this effort is that philanthropy had the most impact when it invested in a big way in urgent efforts to deal with fast-moving events, including rescuing Detroit, saving Obamacare from failure, and containing Ebola.
As I wrote: "some of the most notable successes of philanthropy in 2014 did not involve traditional grantmaking. Funders should take heed of that fact and get more used to whipping out the checkbook in the face of urgent crises, even if it means ignoring carefully crafted annual grant budgets."
In other cases, though, traditional grantmaking did yield results, particularly in regard to medical research and policy advocacy.
Check out the article.