Data Spurs Emergence of a "Digital Civil Society"

Cheryl Loe
Communications Project Manager
The Foundation Center
(888) 356-0354 ext. 701
communications@ foundationcenter.org

Jon Warne
Communications Officer
European Foundation Centre
+32 2 512 8938
jwarne@efc.be

New York, NY -- December 4, 2013. Released today, Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2014 is the much anticipated annual forecast for the industry of philanthropy. Written by leading scholar Lucy Bernholz, the latest edition -- which considers the European context for the first time in addition to the American landscape -- explains the shifts that come as civil society is manifested in digital environments, including opportunities to establish a new standard of trust regarding how private data are used for public benefit. As data become more and more a part of our everyday lives, ethical challenges facing philanthropic enterprises of all types emerge.

"Now, more than ever, we need new frameworks to understand and shape philanthropy for the 21st century," said Lucy Bernholz, visiting scholar at Stanford University's Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and author of Blueprint 2014. "I'm hopeful the Blueprint can further regional and global conversations about how philanthropy -- in all its various forms -- can best evolve to meet society's needs in this rapidly changing world."

The Blueprint is published by GrantCraft, a joint service of the New York-based Foundation Center and Brussels-based European Foundation Centre that taps the practical wisdom of funders to develop resources for the philanthropy sector. In addition to philanthropists, the Blueprint is a strategic resource for anyone using private resources for public benefit, including social business leaders, nonprofit and association executives, individual activists, and policymakers.

In this year's report, Bernholz presents her observations of European philanthropy, discusses how digital civil society can potentially change the root structures of the social economy, makes predictions for 2014 (and revisits those she made for 2013), and considers the reach of the "civic technology" efforts of governments and technologists to engage citizens.

"As changemakers strive to make the world a better place, Lucy Bernholz has their backs by looking ahead," said Bradford K. Smith, president of the Foundation Center. "Everyone in the social sector can benefit from Lucy's perceptive observations and insights on where we are now, where we are headed, and most importantly, where we should be headed."

A highlight of each year's Blueprint is a list of emerging philanthropy-related buzzwords ("privacy" ranks number one this time around). The Blueprint also lists wildcard world events -- unanticipated legislation, scandals, or disasters -- that have the potential to mitigate or accelerate the timing of big shifts in the social economy. One of Bernholz's predictions for 2014 is that a major crowdfunding scandal will draw scrupulous attention to online fundraising platforms.

In her career as a consultant, writer, and blogger, Bernholz has established herself as an incisive authority in the complex arena of data and philanthropy. The Huffington Post calls Bernholz a "philanthropy game changer," Fast Company magazine named her Philanthropy2173 blog "Best in Class," and she has been named to The Nonprofit Times' annual list of 50 most influential people. Throughout 2014, Bernholz will continue to investigate and cultivate conversations around the ideas in Blueprint at the GrantCraft blog and on Philanthropy2173.

Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2014 can be downloaded for free at www.grantcraft.org/blueprint2014 and discussed online using #blueprint14.

About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956, the Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants -- a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit the Center's web site each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and at more than 470 Funding Information Network locations nationwide and around the world. For more information, please visit foundationcenter.org or call (212) 620-4230.

About the European Foundation Centre
The European Foundation Centre, founded in 1989, is an international membership association representing public-benefit foundations and corporate funders active in philanthropy in Europe, and beyond. The Centre develops and pursues activities in line with its four key objectives: creating an enabling legal and fiscal environment; documenting the foundation landscape; building the capacity of foundation professionals; and promoting collaboration, both among foundations and between foundations and other actors. Emphasising transparency and best practice, all members sign up to and uphold the European Foundation Centre Principles of Good Practice. For more information, please visit www.efc.be.