Nonprofit Radio for September 5, 2023: A Post-Fellowship Conversation With Amy Sample Ward


Amy Sample WardA Post-Fellowship Conversation With Amy Sample Ward

Amy Sample Ward, NTEN CEO

What did they do over their Bosch Foundation Fellowship, who did they meet and what did they talk about for three months abroad? For a tease: How tech could save an island nation, and the future of the internet. Trivial topics like that. Amy is our technology contributor and the CEO of NTEN.


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[00:00:36.69] spk_0:
And welcome to tony-martignetti Nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. I’m your aptly named host and the pod father of your favorite Heb Domin podcast. Oh, I’m glad you’re with us. I’d be thrown into toxicosis if you poisoned me with the idea that you missed this week’s show, Kate. Give us the highlights, please.

[00:01:10.66] spk_1:
Ok, tony, we have a post fellowship conversation with Amy Sample Ward. What did they do over their Bosch Foundation fellowship? Who did they meet? And what did they talk about for three months abroad for a tease, how tech could save an island nation and the future of the internet. Trivial topics like that. Amy is our technology contributor and the CEO of N 10 on Tony’s take two

[00:01:12.85] spk_0:
fair share. That’s fair.

[00:01:48.04] spk_1:
We sponsored by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity. Donor box fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor Boxx dot org. And Bikila grow revenue, engage donors and increase efficiency with Kila. The fundraiser CRM visit Kila dot co to join the thousands of fundraisers using Kila to exceed their goals. Here is a post fellowship conversation with Amy Sample Ward.

[00:02:20.21] spk_0:
It is a pleasure to welcome back Amy Sample Ward to nonprofit radio. They are the CEO of N 10 and our technology and social media contributor, their most recent co-authored book. And frankly, I think another one is due shortly uh is the tech that comes next about equity and inclusiveness in technology development. They’re at Amy Sample Ward dot org and at Amy Rs Ward. Welcome back, Amy.

[00:02:27.59] spk_2:
Thanks for having me. I’m excited to chat about so many things today. Yeah,

[00:02:56.76] spk_0:
it’s a genuine pleasure because it’s been several months because you were on this uh highfalutin fellowship, Bosch, the Bosch Fellowship, the Dishwasher Company Fellowship, which is so much more than uh dishwashers, of course, and vacuum cleaners. So you were in the Bosch Foundation Fellowship abroad based in Berlin, catch us up from there. What is sure. So look like for a summer.

[00:06:43.60] spk_2:
Totally, the Bosch Foundation is the shareholders of the Bosch Company. So I think fewer foundations and companies have this model in the US, but be more common in, in Europe where there is a commercial company and instead of having lots of shareholders and publicly traded stocks, the foundation is the owner and the foundation is a grantmaking organization. They provide grants for all kinds of, you know, nonprofits, um all around the world actually. And one of their programs is called the Bosch Academy where they have uh for nine years now, um a fellowship program that brings folks from truly all different industries and sectors to Berlin for a period of time. I was only there for three months but other folks are there for 69 plus months. Uh to really, I mean, I couldn’t believe it even up until the last day I was waiting for them to say, and here’s what you have to deliver, there was nothing you’re really there to pursue opportunities that you wouldn’t otherwise have kind of the mental space to do in your day to day, you know, work. Um So I was there for three months and all the fellows are on their own timeline. So, uh it was a little bit confusing because I think maybe at least in the US when I think of a fellowship, I think it’s like a cohort of people. We’re all doing like a program together that it, it’s much more of what we would call a residency. So people are on their own timelines. There’s no overarching programming. Uh Everyone is and I think it would be hard to do that because people really are from very diverse um backgrounds. So, while I was there as a fellow, some of my other, other fellow fellows, um you know, there was a GP from England who works in the NHS and had been leading their um digital health work. There was a former president um of Costa Rica. There was um someone from the State Department that now works at Brookings. Um researching industrialization that, you know, so there were people from all, all different backgrounds and interest areas and specialties and I would say the main kind of anchor that, that we did have together was twice a week. We all have lunch together, which feels like, ok, you just have, you know, lunch together, but really opportunities to sit at a, you know, a table that’s small enough, you really could have a conversation with everyone, you know, 10 or fewer people over lunch to talk about things with people who are working all different industries. It’s just not something we normally have the privilege and opportunity to do. Nor do I think we actively create those opportunities very much for ourselves. You know, and the, the kind of twice a week getting to sit together, share a meal talk about what is interesting to us. Um they often brought in speakers. So, um, you know, maybe it’s a journalist from one of the newspapers who’s coming in and sharing, you know, trends they’re seeing um in certain whatever they, you know, in the political section or, or whatever topic, maybe it’s um folks from Eu or German policy, uh houses sharing visa policies. We’re recommending, you know, all different opportunities just to learn and like sit together in conversation. So it was really powerful,

[00:06:51.00] spk_0:
former president of Costa Rica WW. What is he or she looking into?

[00:08:04.78] spk_2:
So, the fellow um that was there with me, that’s the former uh President of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado was um pursuing now um is a teacher at the Fletcher School. And his fellowship was focused on uh designing a new framework for diplomacy that would support folks entering into this world of, of policy and politics with a mindset on collective wins and kind of personal integrity and that each of our stories do matter and influence how we can build relationship to make more inclusive and hopefully better for our planet and our people policies. Um So really thinking about, you know, how do we teach people to, to be in this, in, in politics in ways that don’t just recycle and repurpose the same kind of oppressive systems that, that got us to today. Very lofty.

[00:08:06.25] spk_0:
Of course, we’re gonna talk about what Amy sample ward was thinking about investigating, talking to people. This all sounds, it, it all sounds very

[00:08:48.22] spk_2:
freeing. It was incredibly freeing and honestly, because it was in Berlin and I normally live out in Portland, Oregon ha, having nine hours difference. Uh also was freeing in my calendar. I went from having, you know, my days are 8 to 4 scheduled meetings to there’s a lunch and then, you know, maybe I’ve got an early morning pacific time check in with a staff person and that was it for what was scheduled, you know, really being able to have the, the freedom in your scheduled day to, to think and do work and do work and think in the ways that you want to was a huge gift.

[00:09:00.67] spk_0:
Uh And you, you took time off from work, right? You, you reduced to 15.

[00:09:06.21] spk_2:
Yeah, I reduced my hours but I didn’t fully step out so that there wasn’t also like an administrative burden to change all of our processes or, you know, I could still run payroll like, you know, those types of things.

[00:09:19.97] spk_0:
And uh is this fellowship a paying gig? Do they?

[00:09:50.26] spk_2:
No, they don’t. Um They don’t give you the place. I mean, they give you the stipend so that you can cover the cost of having somewhere and they can help you find a place. But um you know, there were folks there who are single and don’t have Children and then we were there as a whole family with a child, you know, so everybody has such different needs with their housing that they, they just support you finding what works for you? Ok.

[00:09:54.44] spk_0:
Ok. Uh And you and your husband Max, uh daughter Oren, did you? You traveled? I’m sure you’re in Europe

[00:10:00.92] spk_2:
must have traveled. Yeah, we actually, we, well, I

[00:10:06.61] spk_0:
know you were in, I know you were in Warsaw, Poland. Yeah, because we got you for the 650th show from Warsaw.

[00:11:35.21] spk_2:
Yes, we did spend some time in Warsaw um doing some project collaboration work there. Um And then they got to experience Warsaw where I’d been before but they hadn’t. And then, uh the other trip that we took was to take Oren back to England where we used to live and show her around London. Um go, you know, she got to see some proper castles. That’s really what she wanted. Um And all the fellows, uh and Max non went on a trip down to Stuttgart, which is the, the home of Bosch uh as a company and uh history. And that’s also where the Bosch affiliated hospital is. And, um got to see so many other parts. It’s certainly the first factory floor that I’ve walked, uh and got to see, you know, this mix of, of kind of classic industry, you know, building these things in a, in a building altogether, mixed in with more of the recent tech innovations of, you know, a little robot that delivered you the parts that you needed to inspect. Um And if you got in the way the robot would stop, but then get very frustrated that you were never getting out of the robot’s way for it to go deliver its parts, you know, um things like that. So it was a really cool experience in getting to see really so many other sides to the world that, you know, II I get stuck in my nonprofit space and, and think about our work. Um So it was really cool. That’s

[00:11:53.75] spk_0:
the free, the free, uh a luxury for three months, you said? Yeah, you there three months, right? So uh what, what were you uh investigating thinking about? I’m sure you had meetings, you were talking to people.

[00:13:15.62] spk_2:
Yes. So many meetings, so many conversations. But my focus really. And though, you know, of course, I’m just interested in general meeting with folks who are trying to make the world better and, you know, I had lots of conversations or questions with folks to say, you know, what are you trying and what’s working? What did you try that didn’t work? Like, how do we, how do we get traction? How do we succeed in making the world better? Of course. But the start of all of my conversations and my meetings with folks was this kind of one I know you’re gonna say lofty. But one big question, which was what does an internet that is actually built on safety and freedom and sovereignty look like? And can we build that? And there were a lot of people who, you know, didn’t think it is possible. Um That, that, that, that those, you know, true freedom and true safety and true sovereignty couldn’t all be achieved like they, they couldn’t all three be at the same time or that a better internet wasn’t possible. Um But there also were people who were like, yes, it is possible and we can build it and please can we start yesterday? You know. Um

[00:13:49.21] spk_0:
So I, I got my first interruption. So the uh the, the folks who say No, it, it, it can’t be done. Do they feel that we missed the, the opportunity to have built the internet that you described or is it more that it was never achievable? Not that we not that we went about it or allowed it to develop on its own in i in the wrong way or unobstructed? I

[00:16:49.31] spk_2:
think that honestly, the folks who had the most pushback um in my conversations were folks who were honestly pushing back on my view of the internet now, you know, saying, 00, it already is safe. It already is free, right? Um And so it was less that internet isn’t possible and more like discrediting the place from which the conversate the question is being asked, you know, um and that we can, we can make a few policies and like, we’re, we’re good, you know, the internet’s good as it is. Um And there were also a lot of folks who felt that my focus on those three aspects was maybe the issue for them that, that safety, everybody agreed. Yes, the internet should be safe. Um Not as many people agreed. It should be free. And no, I don’t mean free by cost to access it, but like, what does freedom for each of us look like online? And I think that’s where folks had a little bit of like, but what does that mean? And, and can it be safe if it’s free? Right. Which are important conversations, but I, I think yes, it can be. Um But a lot of folks felt like sovereignty and these conversations about how do we acknowledge and establish sovereignty as communities was me saying it’s all anarchy, nothing matters. You know, there, there are no rules which is really honestly the opposite of sovereignty. Sovereignty is saying I want you to acknowledge that I have rules because my community has said this is what keeps us free and safe, right? Or, or whatever. Um And that the view is, that’s the role of government. But I think honestly, and I’m not trying to like, take this down a, a deep rabbit hole, but I really don’t think that a structure for something like a global system of the internet where we are all interacting all over the world, you know, regardless of which country’s government we we may live under isn’t enough to say that the internet could be free and safe and supportive and, you know, successful in all these ways because all these governments have issues with each other. And like the, you know, there’s communities within a country that are different from each other. Um And they’re there, I think should be passed to be able to say this is what this is, what’s right for our community. Um And again, I’m not trying to like devolve everything down into, into chaos, but I also don’t think I could accept the notion that what we have today. Is working. Um So I’m, I’m mostly saying it has to be something else and not that I have all the answers. Oh my gosh. If I had all the answers, what am I doing? Sitting over here holding on to them, you know, like, but, but we need to have the open space to find those answers or create those answers together and say, what could it be like versus saying this is good enough. Let’s put a policy that says, you know, don’t, don’t take it or something and, and that’s it.

[00:17:47.60] spk_1:
It’s time for a break. Donor box, quote donor box text to give led one of our more successful fundraising events, a concert sharing the keyword short code and scannable QR code made giving easy for our supporters and they did give that’s from Josh Young, Executive director of Hydrating Humanity Donor Boxx, helping you help others. Donor Boxx dot org. Now back to a post fellowship conversation with Amy Sample Ward

[00:17:54.86] spk_0:
who were some of the folks that you were talking to?

[00:18:47.33] spk_2:
Yeah, good question. Um It was really a why I felt really interested in making sure I was talking to a lot of different folks because as you know, even the N 10 community has, you know, all different kinds of nonprofits missions, of course, people of all different departments in an organization, but also consultants and tech companies and foundations and you know, all these different folks. So I was meeting with of course, nonprofits um themselves, folks who see themselves in kind of a nonprofit technology vein, but also folks who are focused on um supporting refugees and connecting them with jobs and they kind of see that technology has to be part of that, right? Um But then I was also meeting with think tanks and foundations and folks who are, you know, kind of advocating or, or resourcing the movement around the internet and on other sides, you know, whether that’s giving money or, or talking to policymakers and government. Um So really talk to folks all across that spectrum and folks in Berlin, folks in Germany and folks more broadly in the EU,

[00:19:18.65] spk_0:
all right. Um I, I think before we, we talk about some of the folks who said, you know, let’s achieve this ideal internet and, you know, you said, let’s start yesterday, what you, you, I, I think it’s valuable for you to summarize where you’re coming from. What’s, what’s your sense of uh of our internet, our technology space and, and you know, it’s uh it’s utility for, for nonprofits.

[00:20:08.89] spk_2:
Yeah, I think that I believe all technology, including the internet should be something that every person, regardless of where they live or whether or not they have a job or how much money they have or, you know, what their interests are, can find AAA way um to be included there, whether they want to help create part of the internet or watch cat videos, you know, whatever they want that this is really a, uh this is really something that is for everyone. And I think a big challenge with that today is um, lack the lack of certain policies that make it accessible and affordable and available, you know, you know,

[00:20:28.82] spk_0:
let’s just start with accessibility. Right. There are pockets of the world and certainly of the United States where the internet is not taken for granted,

[00:23:08.24] spk_2:
right? I mean, there’s more than 45 million people in the US who couldn’t even have sufficient broadband internet to like be on a zoom call with us right now. You know, so the idea that, um, and I’m not saying this is your idea, but I, I do see out in the media, this perception that it’s like other far away places that don’t have the internet, we don’t have the internet all over the US too, you know. Um, and even the pandemic has not accelerated real work to address that, you know. Um, but there’s also the piece of commercialization around the internet. I think that has, of course, come from a lack of policies that, that made it so that, that couldn’t be the case. And the fact that of course commercial companies are the largest lobbyists and so they are able to make sure that the policies continue to work for them. But, you know, the number of folks who think the internet is Facebook and don’t leave Facebook and that because that’s all that they know that means again, they don’t really see how they are part of shaping or making or engaging in, in this global resource we have but also are a victim of, of what that commercialization means. The bubble that Facebook has created all of the, you know, algorithmic bias and hate that comes from that. Um So finding ways where both from the actual access point like communities could own their own networks and have the, the jobs and the profits from managing that all the way up to lots more people creating those apps or those tools, you know, I, I don’t think we need to build an internet where every single person in the world would ever use the same app because not every single person in the world needs the same app. Not everyone has the same phone, not everyone has the same computer, you know, like we don’t need to say that success in technology is when every single person is using it. It’s just when every person that it’s right for is using it, you know, and um building tools or online resources or websites or whatever else that, that aren’t viewed as like scale to the X forever and just, oh great. We succeeded. Everyone that needs this tool is using it, you know, and, and that’s good. Um But that’s really not again because of the commercialization of so much of the web. That’s not how it’s how it works right now. That’s not the incentive. Yeah.

[00:23:41.94] spk_0:
The commercialization, the access issues, the, the cost issues. Yes. Uh, there, I, I think probably, uh, a lot of, or all of nonprofit radios listeners, you know, we, we, we probably take the internet for granted. You wake up in the morning, you click in and it’s there. Um, and your technology is at your, at your bedside when you wake up. Although Beth Cantor would tell you that it should not be. You should

[00:23:44.03] spk_2:
not have to not be, not

[00:24:24.50] spk_0:
be, but the reality is, it’s, it’s, if it’s not at your bedside, it’s uh it’s in the, just the next room over, it’s very close and, you know, so, and it, it works 99.999% of the time. Uh I had someone in uh my, my plan giving Accelerator course he is uh is in based in Malawi. He didn’t even have stable electricity every night. For him. Our meetings were at night time. Um Three o’clock Eastern was nine or 10 o’clock. I think it was nine o’clock, nine pm for him in Africa. Standard time. He didn’t even have reliable electricity each night, let alone reliable internet though, right?

[00:25:24.65] spk_2:
And I think sometimes there’s this misperception again, not saying that this is your misperception, but um more broadly that folks that aren’t online don’t, don’t know things right. There’s so much that um we assume about folks who are not online and it isn’t that they don’t still know the news or that they still don’t, you know, or that, or that they don’t want to be online. It’s just that there are so many other barriers in the way, um, that are structural, not, you know, they’ve never heard of the internet and they don’t know what it is. Um, and so access isn’t just saying like, oh, yeah. Well, there was a, you know, we saw this in the pandemic um in the first, you know, year especially like, oh, well, we know all these kids aren’t in school and all these people need the internet. So we put up a, a wifi signal in this field. You can just drive over. Oh, and we’re just gonna sit in our car for four hours and work and try to do school. Like, what are you, what, how is this a solution? You know? Um So there’s, there’s so much that goes into that and always remembering that folks who aren’t online aren’t unaware, they’re just experiencing a bunch of barriers that they didn’t create

[00:26:16.81] spk_0:
it. It creates frustration. Yeah. Frustration and anxiety because they’re left behind. They know they’re left behind. They can’t access what uh what they know is available to lots of other people. All right, let’s, let’s bring it back to uh uh Germany Berlin. So you met with lots of folks who said, you know, yes, we can achieve this, this uh more equitable, more accessible, um, safer uh uh internet. Um What, what do they, uh, I don’t know, what, what do they want to do? Are you gonna, are you coming back with a bunch of partners that you’re gonna start lobbying and, and policy

[00:29:07.54] spk_2:
paper? Yeah, I think, I think we definitely were able to, um, build stronger relationships with organizations. We maybe new or even tangentially new. Um, because antenna is an, a global organization, there are folks from all over the world that are already in the community, but just the value of actually showing up at their office and sitting down for an hour, you know, really goes a long way and in building trust and relationship. Um But I think the other piece was having the energy that comes from conversations where people are not disagreeing with the premise of which we’re even trying to talk about but saying like, yeah, we are. No, we already agree like, let’s get to this part and really validating for folks. No, you’re not the only one like I’m from this community that you’re welcome to be part of or maybe you are, you know, know about, but there’s this whole n 10 community of people who also think an internet like this is possible and also want to build it, you know, you are not alone trying to like work in your tinyt corner and, and find a way, right? And whatever corner you’re in is needed. We don’t all have to do the same thing. We shouldn’t all do the same thing, right? Like you, if, if policy is your thing, go, go work on that. If, you know, supporting refugees, transitioning into jobs is your thing, go do that, you know, like wherever you are in the work is the right place to be. Um And so those were really, I think validating and generative conversations, especially for folks who felt like they were being told there was only one way to do this work. Um And you know, the only policy recommendations we want are policies that, you know, address A I, for example, lots of A I conversation in the summer in the US and, and everywhere else in the world, you know, and I kept saying, but there might be applications of technology that are specific to what they think A I is today. But wouldn’t it be better to write policy about any way that data was being used from, you know, a, a person or uh where, what, what accountability looks like for when there is harm. I don’t care if they used it in an A I garbage machine or they used it in my health records. I I should get to have the control, right? So helping folks reframe that it doesn’t have to only be a single issue or a single topic like that, that it’s all connected, it is all related, all of this technology work. Is connected and whatever piece you can work on, please go do it as well as you can. You know,

[00:30:07.82] spk_1:
it’s time for a break, increase donations and foster collaborative team work with Kila. The fundraisers. CRM maximize your team’s productivity and spend more time building strong connections with donors through features that were built specifically for fundraisers. A fundraiser. CRM goes beyond a data management platform. It’s designed with the unique needs of fundraisers in mind and aims to unify fundraising, communications and donor management tools into one single source of truth. Visit, Kila dot co to sign up for a coming group demo and explore how to exceed your fundraising goals. Like never before. It’s time for Tony’s take two.

[00:31:40.87] spk_0:
Thank you, Kate. Share share. That’s fair. Who can you share nonprofit radio with? I’d be grateful if you would give it some thought. Maybe it’s someone you work with somebody, a, a colleague, a peer, somebody, you work for your vice president, your CEO perhaps your board, I have gotten, I’ve gotten uh emails through the years that we stimulated a board conversation or I shared this show with my board and we were gonna talk about it at the next meeting, you know, friends and nonprofits people you used to work with assuming you don’t hate them still, you know, if, if they, if they fired you, you’re probably not gonna share this fabulous show with them. So, all right. So that’s out if they fired you let that go. Uh, maybe the job before that, the, the job you didn’t get fired from. I hope that you haven’t been fired. You know, you haven’t been fired that much. Um, nonprofit radios, exemplary listeners. So, never fired. Right. But if in the off chance, all right. So you’re not gonna share it with those folks who let you go. But everybody else you used to work with folks you used to work with. Perhaps I’d be grateful if we could expand the audience a bit. If you could share this show, I believe it’s helping you otherwise you wouldn’t be listening. Who else can it help? Who else ought to be listening to nonprofit radio? Please share with them. And that’s Tony’s take too,

[00:31:49.06] spk_1:
Kate. We’ve got, but loads more time. Let’s go back to a post fellowship conversation with Amy Sample Ward.

[00:32:12.84] spk_0:
This is all very interesting because you can correct me if my perception is wrong. Please do my perception is that Europe is much further ahead of North America. Forget the continent, the United States in terms of data security. Uh There’s the, there’s the GDPR in terms of holding uh holding the large tech companies accountable, you know, suing I see more lawsuits and, and, and successful either settlements or legal out other legal outcomes against uh uh meta Google. I see more of those. I see.

[00:33:15.13] spk_2:
Yeah, I think that I think that there are, I think there are far more um pieces in place in Europe, in the eu than there are in the U SI. Don’t think that they are adequate or, you know, fully functional to the needs of communities. Um And people, and there’s still a lot of them that are in flux, you know, the EU A I policies are, are still being shaped even though they’ve been discussed as if like here’s what they’ll do and it’s great that they’re actually not done, you know. So yes, GDPR is in place. But um there’s, there’s still a lot to be shaped, there’s even more to be shaped in the US. Um But yes,

[00:34:31.76] spk_0:
all right. That, that, that’s why I mean, I’m, I’m not hearing from you that there’s an attitude of complacency, you know, we’ve, we, we’ve achieved and I not, not that I, not that I expected you to say that, but just recognizing that they are further along, they’re, they’re, they hold companies, especially that I’m particularly interested in the company accountability uh around data usage algorithms uh forced, you know, uh forced uh usage like the way threads you have to be on Instagram to use threads. You, if you drop one, you lose the other. You know, I don’t, that, that rubs me that, that to me is it’s just unfair but they uh not, not to that particular degree that, that the eu has figured that out, but generally they seem to be more demanding accountability of, of the of the big tech companies, right? But, but not, but there’s a lot more work to do. I understand. OK. OK. Uh Is there a, is there a story you can tell about some NGO or other, other organization or person that feels like?

[00:34:36.94] spk_2:
I mean, I think we

[00:34:39.70] spk_0:
got something really good. Let me tell you about it. Yeah,

[00:34:48.26] spk_2:
that there’s no resolution that I have to offer. But I think, you know, this, I want to acknowledge that this is, these are the questions I sit with all the time. This is what my work is around and I’m not expecting every listener to be like, oh yeah, of course, like nodding along with me, like if this is your first time thinking about this because you spend your day on a different topic, that’s totally fine, you know. Um Welcome, welcome,

[00:35:11.63] spk_0:
welcome to a new conversation. Yeah, welcome to join or just take

[00:35:58.77] spk_2:
away them. Yeah. So I was, I wanted to offer this because I think it’s a, a way to root these ideas around sovereignty and freedom and safety in a real example. So we’re not just thinking of like some future world and trying to root it there, but, but a way to think about it now. And um we had the opportunity because another fellow um while I was who ended just maybe two weeks after I arrived. Um Kamal, he had created this um big event and, and number of meetings and brought a delegation of folks from Tuba uh Island Nation in the Pacific. Um And it was incredible to hear from them and to meet them. Um But, but really what’s happening there and why they came is um you know, island nations are, of course on the front lines of climate change and the impacts of climate change. Um As you are, we’re recording this as you’re hunkering down for, for a tropical storm, you know,

[00:36:19.11] spk_0:
medal on my beach. Yes,

[00:40:25.63] spk_2:
yes. And what uh what came out while we were, while, while the delegation from Tuvalu was actually in Berlin was they were um climate scientists have previously said their home, their land will be on uh uh unsustainable for living um for their community in this century. And that has been updated because of the impacts of climate change and the acceleration of, you know, the world. Um And they’re now saying within potentially 20 years and what does that mean for these people? Right? These are, these are real people, these are people who are having babies and having jobs and having lives, right? Um To not just have your world change because of climate change, but literally have your homeland underwater, completely, go away, the entire island could be underwater. Um So, uh part of the conversations um with them have been freedom, safety, sovereignty in the internet for a community that cannot say here is our geographic home um in the in this where that we can live at least in that geographic home. Um And so how do we create a digital nation state? How do we digitize place based culture and artifacts and customs and dances and you know, everything else that comes from who you are as, as, as a community. Um How do we digitize it when we can now? And what does navigating social services? What does you know, traveling the world and getting a passport look like digitally through digital governance uh delivery when you don’t have, you know, an address in that country anymore. Um And it’s kind of heartbreaking to, of course, think Tuvalu is not the only uh island nation that will be facing this, this um circumstance. But, but if you think of this happening in a, in a matter of years, it is everyone’s lifetime, it’s not, you know, a century from now. And you kind of like, oh let it go. It won’t be me, right? This, this is us, we 20 years. Well, we are the ones that have to find the path for this, right? And so, um I think those conversations were really um illuminating and I found it challenging to here and witness uh you know, folks responding to say, to kind of think of all of the many pieces of this and say, well, where do you wanna go live? But that’s not the que we’re not, that’s not the, that’s not the top of my question. List, right? Um It is, how are you the the community members in Tuvalu? What things would you need? How would you support the digitization of your own culture, of your own community? What what can we do to build the internet that you need then? How do we build it now so that we can, you know, like you wanna, you wanna build your new database before you migrate your data in, right? You don’t just get rid of the old one and then figure out what to do with the database. It’s this saying we need to build that safe and free and sovereign internet now so that we can support the citizens of Tuvalu existing in that internet before the before they, you know, don’t have the the land of their home. Um And yeah, I just want to offer that as a example, maybe a reminder that climate change is having immediate and real impacts on folks all around the world, but mostly as an illustration of what it means to think about the future of the internet and the need for, for the internet to work differently on a faster scale than like maybe would Microsoft and Google want it to be different, you know,

[00:41:42.29] spk_0:
and, and so many of the nations, people’s communities that are suffering most from climate change are contributing nothing to contributing dely to, to climate change. They’re not, they’re not responsible at all. The the industrial nations are, which are more hardened and more capable and have greater infrastructure and what are we doing to these other folks and how can we help them to help themselves? I mean, yeah, you make me think of just like how they get a driver’s license. How do I, how do I vote in the next election when I don’t, there’s no polling place because there’s no physical location anymore. Jeez. Yeah. All right. Well, I, that’s a, that’s a provocative, that, that’s a provocative case. Thank you. Thank you. Um What else, what else do you want us to know about?

[00:43:13.50] spk_2:
Well, one thing I thought would be interesting to you and, and interested in maybe your take or observations, like I’ll offer a little reflection and interested in your, in your hot take. But I, you know, met with foundations while I was there and, and asked about, you know, what’s a big priority in philanthropy here? What are the conversations and folks named a challenge that I think we all have some feelings about in the US as well, which is um minimum spend out by foundations in Germany. There’s, there is no minimum spend out. Um So there’s many foundations that didn’t spend any money that did not give any grants in a, in a certain year. And that organizations really feel the challenge of that because they don’t, what, what do we even do? Like, are we even, you know, working with you? Are we trying to get money from you. Um So that was a big issue and the other big conversation that felt and people named, you know, I think the US is more ahead of us on this. But um found some foundations starting to have conversations of, of general operating support instead of project specific, you know, funding. Um and what that requires of them, you know, there was a lot of folks saying like, but then what do we put in the grant agreement? What do, what do we expect for the reporting? And I was like, you know, me, I was like, why do they have to report, you know, um but they weren’t asking the questions of, you know, why don’t we trust our grantees or um why have we never done this until now? You know, they were asking very procedural questions like, well, what, what’s the form say? You know?

[00:45:47.23] spk_0:
Uh Yeah, the minimum spend. Um iii I like it uh here in the US. Uh Unfortunately, a lot of foundations consider the, the floor to be the ceiling. So they’ll spend their, they’ll spend their 5% and they met, they met the burden, the regulation and, and so they consider themselves completed and, you know, I don’t know, you know, I see a lot of them, I see a lot of conversations on linkedin about how things ought to be different and, and uh you know, occasionally I’ll, I’ll attend webinars where uh some, you know, foundation CEO panel, you know, they’re talking about what they’re doing anecdotally to, to overcome um the, the, the minimum spend being a ceiling and funding, funding tech as just I, it just, it belongs in everything. I mean, if, if the people are using Word and Excel, they’re using technology in their work. And II, I hope, I hope, I hope there aren’t many nonprofits that are still using uh index cards and, you know, dog eared, uh you know, written pencil spreadsheets like II, I used to do social research on Carnegie Mellon in the, in the late 19 eighties or early, early 19 eighties, 1984. I graduated. So, uh you know, so, but, you know, that’s all anecdotal. I mean, somebody writes a lofty linkedin post, you know, I don’t know, I don’t know whether it really hits home with the, the majority of big, you know, the, the, the biggest foundations that we could all name off the top of our heads that, that control, you know, access to probably 80% of the, the, the foundation capital or something. You know, there’s probably 20% of the cap, 20% of the nonprofit, the foundations are holding 80% if you follow that 28 80 20 rule, uh you know, is, is that, are those linkedin posts and those webinars, you know, are they trickling to the, to those kinds of folks? And are they actually, you know, are these real conversa uh are these heartfelt sentiments a lot of times or, you know, is this um placating, you know, platitudes, lofty, lofty uh academic type conversations that, that don’t result in real change. So you, you can sense my cynicism. Uh Well,

[00:46:36.50] spk_2:
and I, I wanna name also the piece that you said in there about technology. You know, I did ask funders, how are you funding technology? Do you have a, you know, tech capacity building portfolio? Is that something that you fund directly? Do you give every grant, you know, a line item for technology? You know, what, what are you doing? And I didn’t, there weren’t many foundations that had a technology, you know, portfolio or focus or, or, or um grantmaking space. A lot of what I heard was, oh well, you know, it’s 2023 technology is in everything. So we just know that it’s in all of our grants said. Oh, ok. So it must be, you have like a technology budget and every grant to support the tech and they’re like, well, no, because it’s just, you know, part of doing their work, we know they’re using technology. But right, and I said, right, so if technology is part of everything, then it’s nowhere. If it’s everywhere, it’s nowhere to you, you know, and we, you actually need to be providing the support for these organizations to give you this massive report on all of their data. You know, like

[00:47:04.00] spk_0:
you’re saying, you, you you’re saying, you know, that they use it, it’s, it’s ubiquitous. That doesn’t mean it’s free.

[00:47:20.60] spk_2:
Right. Right. And the train just have to use it. Well, is certainly not free, you know. Yeah. Yeah. So, I felt just as, you know, head against the wall as I, as I normally do.

[00:48:38.43] spk_0:
Yeah. You didn’t have to go to, you have to go to the Bosch Fellowship for that degree of frustration. It saved the boss a lot of money there. Um No. All right. You know. So, yeah, I don’t have an answer. I just have, I have cynicism. I, I have a lot of questions, you know, is real change happening. Uh Is it better now in 2023 than it was in 2000? Yeah, I, I think we’ve progressed but, but not far enough and, and new issues are emerging, you know, now there’s on the, we’re, we’re in the midst of just scratching the surface of artificial intelligence. And, um you know, your, your coauthor of a was on a panel with George Weiner and Beth Beth Canter and Alison. Fine. And, you know, we talked for 60 or 70 minutes about the implications, the risks, the opportunities too, you know, but the inequities, uh you know, so that, that, that’s emerging now. So how are foundations reacting to that? What are, are they reacting? You know, it’s, it’s a lot of times it, it feels like the, the, the, the parallel or the analogy is that, you know, how slow government is to react to changes in, in the culture, in society. You know, equivalently foundations feel to me slow to react to what’s on the ground among their grantees.

[00:51:19.43] spk_2:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And I, you know, maybe as a closing thought, want a name that I don’t think that even in an equitable world, it’s a, it’s a world where nobody gets upset where harm doesn’t exist, but it’s a world where there’s a path for accountability for that harm, right? It’s not that that perfect isn’t real perfect doesn’t exist. We’re not gonna go to some future equitable world where, where nothing bad happens, you still fall or you still, you know, get in a car accident maybe or, you know, whatever it might be. But, but there’s places to get care and reconciliation and support and restitution and all of these other pieces, right? There’s, there’s ways for us to be in relationship and work through things together. And I think there’s, it came up in some of my conversations, you know, folks thinking like I’m just so rosy eyed, I’m gonna get, oh we’re just gonna have some perfect world, you know, and I think the way that, you know, you are free is when you have not been free, right? The way you know, you are safe is because you have been unsafe. The way that you know, that you are sovereign is because you had to say hey, there’s some accountability that needs to happen because you were not honoring the sovereignty, right? So, conflict is always gonna exist as soon as there are two humans, you know, there will always be conflict. It’s just finding a world where we, we have the infrastructure and the mechanisms for us to manage that and, and be safe and free and sovereign to together in the world. So as we think about, how do we, how do we fund for that world? How do we build an internet for that world? How do we pursue our nonprofit missions for that world? I think it’s the same. It’s both saying there will always be some needs and how many of them can we eliminate so that we are able to really be happy and fulfilled and, and uh supported. Um So I think, yeah, I just wanted to name that. I, I don’t, I’m not looking for some perfect utopia that doesn’t exist but, but a place where, I mean, how many communities today feel like something horrible happened because of content on Facebook and they have a way to do anything about that. I don’t think a lot of communities feel like they have anything they can do about that, you know, um or, or, you know, they experience threats or hate speech online. Do they feel like they have any way to, to do something because they experience that? I don’t, I don’t know many communities who feel like they have a way to do that. You know,

[00:53:00.86] spk_0:
there’s a lot, there’s a lot wrapped up in that. There’s obviously, um, you know, a, a lot of that comes from the, just the inequities of, of capital, you know, uh, if we bring it back to foundations and fund and grantees, as long as the foundations, 20% of the foundations control, 80% of the, of the capital that’s available through private foundation funding to, to nonprofits. The nonprofits are always gonna be at the, at the beck and call of the, of the, of the gran tours. And if the grant tours are slow to change, then, then the redress is slow. It’s slow in coming. It’s, it’s inherent in the inequities of the, the, the financial, the capitalization. Um, you know, in, in terms of communities, you know, there’s always, I mean, there’s a legal redress but a lot of these things that you just talked about, you know, the bullying and, and um just a, a AAA oppression from technology companies. I mean, there’s no, there’s no real legal redress to that. There’s, there’s only, there’s redress to specific wrongs, you know, they breach their contract. Uh, this person committed, uh uh uh I don’t know the, the a digital assault. I’m, I’m calling that that’s not the legal term but committed a digital assault. So, all right. So I have a cause of action, either criminal or civil but, but those causes of action are, are narrow and we’re, we’re talking about bigger issues that there aren’t mechanisms for redress. Right.

[00:53:12.87] spk_2:
All right. Thanks for having that conversation. So, unlike our usual ones, I appreciate this space to get to cover lots of things.

[00:53:50.37] spk_0:
Absolutely. I mean, it’s not always, you know, tactical about what to, you know, how to use. Uh, uh GP four plus in, in, in your, in your next fundraising campaign. Uh, it’s, it’s, it’s not all about that. So I, I think it’s uh it’s refreshing. Yeah, actually, just talk about some things that are resolvable, but for which resolution is slow in coming, uh difficult to achieve. But nonetheless, nevertheless, a lofty pursuit, a needed pursuit, we never give up never. And

[00:53:56.41] spk_2:
maybe some questions or ideas that, you know, folks listening could go apply to their own work. That is about a different topic too. I would love to hear if folks do that. You know,

[00:55:04.41] spk_0:
the little feedback I get from listeners, uh which I’m not complaining about, I understand podcast listening is, is, is an animal that isn’t given much to feedback. At least at the level I’m on Joe Rogan may get a lot of feedback. But, uh you know, and, and uh the daily he made, but in any case, uh is that, you know, IIII I took this and uh brought it to my CEO or I brought it to my board, you know, we opened a conversation. Uh I asked people to listen. I sent the link to the board so that, yeah, those conversations happen. Yeah. Yeah. Good. All right. Yes. Uh, a lot of space for a, a different, uh, a different kind of conversation. Amy Sample Ward. They’re the CEO of N 10. They’re our technology and social media contributor. If you want to be in touch with them, they’re at Amy sample ward dot org. Uh, and Amy at Amy RS Ward. And uh maybe we should add the Bosch fellowship to your, to your bio officially for

[00:55:08.34] spk_2:
next year. Exactly. Thank you so much for having me, tony. My pleasure.

[00:55:12.44] spk_0:
Good to talk to you, Amy. Thank you. Thank you. Bye.

[00:55:23.06] spk_1:
Next week. Donor retention with Boomerang, Ceo Dennis Foa. If you missed any part of this week’s show,

[00:55:26.04] spk_0:
I beseech you find it at Tomm martignetti dot com

[00:55:44.34] spk_1:
were sponsored by donor box, outdated donation forms blocking your supporters, generosity. Donor box fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms can say I can’t say I can’t do it. You

[00:55:47.42] spk_0:
can fundraising forms. See it’s a fabulous alliteration, but it’s uh it’s a little tough to say. I know. All right,

[00:56:12.81] spk_1:
fast, flexible and friendly fundraising forms for your nonprofit donor Boxx dot org. And by Kila grow revenue, engage donors and increase efficiency with Kila. The fundraiser, Crm Vila dot code joined the thousands of fundraisers using Kila to exceed their goals.

[00:56:18.15] spk_0:
Yes, fundraisers, not fundraisers. Ok. Sorry.

[00:56:23.98] spk_1:
Our creative producer is Claire Meyerhoff. I’m your associate producer, Kate martignetti. The show Social media is by Susan Chavez. Mark Silverman is our web guy and this music is by Scott Stein.

[00:56:51.30] spk_0:
Thank you for that affirmation. Scottie be with us next week for nonprofit radio. Big nonprofit ideas for the other 95%. Please go out and be great.

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