Brief guide to understand fMRI studies

RQ: Which regions of the brain are active when task X is performed?

Results: Activity in some regions Y is higher than in others.

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Heeft de culturele sector de cultuuromslag naar ondernemerschap gemaakt?

Presentatie rapport Culturele instellingen in Nederland’

Werkgroep Filantropische Studies Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

 

Vrijdag 10 juni 2016, Theater Griffioen, Uilenstede 106, 1183 AM, Amstelveen

 

In 2012 werd de Geefwet ingevoerd met een multiplier die de aftrekbaarheid van giften aan culturele instellingen verhoogde. Bovendien kregen culturele instellingen meer mogelijkheden eigen inkomsten te genereren uit commerciële activiteiten. Tegelijk kregen veel instellingen te maken met bezuinigingen en de vraag om meer ondernemerschap. Hoe hebben Nederlandse particulieren en bedrijven met een hart voor cultuur gereageerd op de verhoogde aftrekbaarheid van giften aan cultuur? Zijn zij ook inderdaad meer gaan geven? En hoe hebben de culturele instellingen gereageerd op de bezuinigingen enerzijds en de multiplier anderzijds? Wat voor instellingen hebben de omslag naar ondernemerschap wel kunnen maken en wat voor instellingen niet?

Deze vragen stonden centraal in een onderzoek dat de werkgroep Filantropische Studies heeft uitgevoerd op verzoek van het ministerie van OCW naar de effecten van de Geefwet op het genereren van inkomsten door culturele instellingen. Het onderzoek verschaft inzicht in de stand van zaken van de culturele sector op dit gebied en de mate waarin de Geefwet bijdraagt aan de versterking van de culturele sector door stimulering van giften aan cultuur.

U bent van harte welkom op een symposium waarop de onderzoekers de resultaten presenteren aan de culturele sector. U kunt zich hier aanmelden.

 


Programma

15.30    Aanmelden

16.00    Presentatie onderzoek door prof. dr. René Bekkers

16.30    Annabelle Birnie, Drents Museum

16.45    Marielle Hendriks, Boekmanstichting

17.00    Drankje

 

 

Locatie

Theater Griffioen, Uilenstede 106, 1183 AM, Amstelveen

Routebeschrijving – klik hier

 

 

Meer informatie

Meer informatie over het onderzoek vindt u op www.cultuursector.nl

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Philanthropy: from Charity to Prosocial Investment

Contribution to the March 2016 edition of the European Research Network on Philanthropy (ERNOP) newsletter. PDF version here.

Philanthropy can take many forms. It ranges from the student who showed up at my doorstep with a collection tin to raise small contributions for legal assistance to the poor to the recent announcement by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan of the establishment of a $42 billion charitable foundation. The media focused on the question why Zuckerberg and Chan would put 99% of their wealth in a foundation. The legal form of the foundation allowed Zuckerberg to keep control over the shares without having to pay taxes. Leaving aside the difficult question what motivation the legal form confesses for the moment, my point is that a change is taking place in the face that philanthropy takes.

Entrepreneurial forms of philanthropy, manifesting a strategic investment orientation, become more visible. We see them in social impact bonds, in social enterprises, in venture philanthropy and in the investments of foundations in the development of new drugs and treatments. A reliable count of the prevalence of such prosocial investments is not available, but 2015 was certainly a memorable year: the first Ebola vaccine was produced in a lab funded by the Wellcome Trust and polio was eradicated from Africa through coordinated efforts supported by a coalition of the WHO, Unicef, the Rotary International Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Of course there are limitations to philanthropy. Some problems are just too big to handle, even for the wealthiest foundations on earth, using the most innovative forms of investments. The refugee crisis continues to challenge the resilience of Europe. NGOs are delivering relief aid in the most difficult circumstances. But these efforts are band aids, as long as political leaders are struggling to gather the will power to solve it together.

The Zuckerberg/Chan announcement revived previous critiques of philanthrocapitalism. Isn’t it dangerous to have so much money in so few hands? Can we rely on wealthy foundations to invest in socially responsible ways? Foundations are the freest institutions on earth and can take risks that governments cannot afford. But the track records of the corporations that gave rise to the current foundation fortunes are not immaculate, monopolizing markets and evading taxes. Wealthy foundations can have a significant impact on society and influence public policy, limiting the influence of governments. It is political will that enables the existence and facilitates the fortune of wealthy foundations. Ultimately, the realization that the interests of the people should not be harmed enables the activities of foundations. Hence the talk about the importance of giving back to society.

The sociologist Alvin Gouldner is famous for his 1960 article ‘The Norm of Reciprocity’, which describes how reciprocity works. He also wrote a second classic, much less known: ‘The Importance of Something for Nothing.’ In this follow-up (1973), he stresses the norm of beneficence: “This norm requires men to give others such help as they need. Rather than making help contingent upon past benefits received or future benefits expected, the norm of beneficence calls upon men to aid others without thought of what they have done or what they can do for them, and solely in terms of a need imputed to the potential recipient.” In a series of studies I co-authored with Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm, an economist from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, we call this norm ‘the principle of care’.

With this quote I return to the question about motivation. The letter to their daughter in which Zuckerberg and Chan announced their foundation reveals noble concerns for the future of mankind. It is not their child’s need that motivated them, but the needs of the world in which she is born. This is the genesis of true philanthropy. Pretty much like the awareness of need that the law student demonstrated at my doorstep.

References

Bekkers, R. & Ottoni-Wilhelm, M. (2016). Principle of Care and Giving to Help People in Need. European Journal of Personality.  

Gouldner, A.W. (1960). The Norm of Reciprocity: A Preliminary Statement. American Sociological Review, 25 (2): 161-178. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2092623

Gouldner, A.W. (1973). The Importance of Something for Nothing. In: Gouldner, A.W. (Ed.). For Sociology, Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Wilhelm, M.O., & Bekkers, R. (2010). Helping Behavior, Dispositional Empathic Concern, and the Principle of Care. Social Psychology Quarterly, 73 (1): 11-32.

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Conditional Review Acceptance Policy (R1)

“Thank you for your invitation to review. Did the authors provide the data and the code they have used to produce the paper? Will the paper be published in open access mode? If twice yes, I will consider reviewing the paper.”

This is my new automatic reply to requests for review journal articles that I receive from editors and their assistants. In june 2014, I introduced a conditional review acceptance policy (CRAP). The policy was to review only those articles that the journal agrees to publish in a Free Open Access mode – making the article publicly available, without charging any fees for it from universities, authors, or readers. The revised policy now also includes the question whether the data and code will be publicly available, as proposed by the Peer Reviewers’ Openness (PRO) initiative. The revision rewards open science.

pro_lock

 

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The Future of Foundation Support for Research and Innovation

Recently the EUFORI Study was published, in which a network of experts coordinated from our Center for Philanthropic Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam mapped the support from foundations for research and innovation in Europe. Read the synthesis report here. The research was based on an extensive survey of 1 591 foundations supporting R&I in Europe and a qualitative analysis of 29 different country reports. We concluded that foundations contribute a significant amount of money to R&I: annually at least €5 billion, out of an asset base worth at least €127 billion. These are lower bound estimations, because it was impossible to estimate contributions by foundations that did not participate in the study.

The final chapter of the synthesis report presents six recommendations. The main objective of the recommendations made in this final chapter is to increase the potential of R&I foundations in Europe. Considering the underlying potential, actions towards greater support by foundations for research and innovation should and must involve engaging all actors: national governments, EU institutions, the foundations themselves, the corporate sector, universities and other research institutes, and the public at large.

Recommendation 1: Increase the visibility of R&I foundations

This recommendation is addressed to foundations, national governments, the EC and EU administration, businesses and the public at large. It relates to the current fragmented landscape of R&I foundations in Europe. The landscape of foundations in Europe is characterised by a few well-established foundations and many smaller foundations with modest resources mainly operating in the background. Growing visibility will enhance the impact of existing funding. If foundations become more aware of each other’s activities, the effects and impact of their contributions can be increased. Moreover, the other stakeholders involved such as the business community and research policy-makers will become knowledgeable about the foundations’ activities. From the perspective of the beneficiaries, research institutes, universities and researchers will more easily find their way to foundations. Visibility will lower the transaction costs for all the parties involved. For foundations, governments and businesses it will increase their knowledge about ongoing research/new research funded and vice versa. For grantmaking foundations it will facilitate the review process of research proposals and submissions; it is to be expected that more visibility will reduce the amount of incorrect applications. For the beneficiaries of the foundations’ support (research institutes, universities and researchers) – the grantseekers – it will increase their funding opportunities, they will more easily find their way to foundations, and it will facilitate submission processes. For potential (major) donors it will offer visible causes to benefit. Increasing the visibility of R&I foundations could have a positive effect on potential (major) donors as it could encourage them to support a research foundation. Increasing the visibility of and information about R&I foundations was already addressed by an expert group in 2005. They argued: ‘.. foundations and their donors would be more aware of the foundation landscape (increasing collaborative working and, possibly, giving), foundations’ contribution to various sectors could be properly assessed and the information could inform policy-making in this area. It is in fact a prerequisite to other actions’. The present EUFORI study is a step forward. A lot of information is now available. Next to this synthesis report, 29 country-reports, new data, an active network of researchers and the EUFORI website can contribute to the profiling of the R&I foundation sector in Europe.

With the exception of some large and well-established foundations in Europe, there is a lack of a common research identity among the foundations supporting R&I in most countries. Research and innovation are often not seen as a purpose/field in itself but are instead used as an instrument for other purposes and areas in which foundations specialise (such as health, technology, society). This is reflected by a lack of dialogue between the foundations supporting R&I (occasionally between foundations that deal with similar topics, e.g. foundations supporting cancer research). Bringing foundations together at a European level and following the recommendations of the expert group from 2005, the European Foundation Center (EFC) created the European Forum of Research Foundations. This forum provides a platform for a group of large and well-known R&I foundations in Europe. In order to increase the visibility of foundations supporting R&I at a national level, the encouragement of the creation of national forums of research foundations is recommended as the next step. The opportunities and mutual benefits for foundations supporting R&I at a national level should be explored. The next step: Explore the opportunities and mutual benefits of the creation of national forums of research foundations.

Recommendation 2: Explore synergies through collaboration

Unity in diversity is one of the main challenges for all the players involved in the R&I domain. These players can be distinguished in the domain of research (governments, business, foundations and research institutes/researchers), each with their own distinctive role. Together these groups can make a difference in increasing the potential for R&I. They can create synergy through collaboration, which should be interpreted in the broadest sense, varying from information sharing, networking, co-funding and partnerships. Mutual advantages can be derived from pooling expertise, sharing infrastructure, expanding activities, pooling money due to a lack of necessary funds, avoiding the duplication of efforts and creating economies of scale.

Get to know each other, meet and see where to reinforce each other’s efforts

Based on the conclusions of the EUFORI Study there is an indication for the need for improved dialogue, information exchange, networking and cooperation between the foundations supporting R&I, as well as between foundations, governments, business and research institutes (researchers). The needs, opportunities, mutual benefits and barriers for collaboration should be further explored, including mutual responsibilities when cooperating. The creation of national forums or networks of foundations supporting research and innovation, regular meetings between the foundations and other stakeholders involved (national government, EU government, research institutes and business) could bring these groups together.

An EU-wide study is recommended on the needs, opportunities, mutual benefits and barriers for collaboration between foundations, national governments, the European Commission, the business sector and research institutes. A network of national experts (mostly members from ERNOP) built for the EUFORI study can be of added value for this study and can facilitate the collaborative relations between the EC/ RTD, the R&I foundation sector and other stakeholders in Europe. It would be well-advised to set up an independent expert group before the start of this study with selected experts and stakeholder representatives in the field of foundations, the business sector, research institutes and public authorities at a national and European level. The expert group should provide input for the design of the study and could adopt an advisory role. Subsequently, it is recommended that the study will be finished by a follow-up conference for all the players involved aimed to discuss the implementation of the outcomes of the Collaboration Infrastructure Study. In this call for collaboration we have to consider two possible, interrelated pitfalls; namely the danger of ‘substitution’ and the danger of threatening the independence of foundations. Foundations, and civil initiatives in general, make their own choices and preferences and are based on social democracy. Governments, on the other hand, have their own responsibility based on political democracy. Businesses have their own market-driven values. Sometimes they reinforce each other, sometimes they may act as opponents. It concerns different worlds, differing in terms of constitution, values, legitimacy and organisation style. The independence of private R&I foundations should be respected. Foundations derive their legitimacy from many contacts with the ‘capillaries’ in society, thus offering them the opportunity to function ‘as the eyes and ears’ for innovation. This grass-roots connection represents the philanthropic tradition in Europe: ‘voluntary action to serve the public good’. The next step: Launch a Collaboration Infrastructure Study.

Continue reading the recommendations from the EUFORI study here.

 

 

 

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Four Reasons Why We Are Converting to Open Science

The Center for Philanthropic Studies I am leading at VU Amsterdam is converting to Open Science.

Open Science offers four advantages to the scientific community, nonprofit organizations, and the public at large:

  1. Access: we make our work more easily accessible for everyone. Our research serves public goods, which are served best by open access.
  2. Efficiency: we make it easier for others to build on our work, which saves time.
  3. Quality: we enable others to check our work, find flaws and improve it.
  4. Innovation: ultimately, open science facilitates the production of knowledge.

What does the change mean in practice?

First, the source of funding for contract research we conduct will always be disclosed.

Second, data collection – interviews, surveys, experiments – will follow a prespecified protocol. This includes the number of observations forseen, the questions to be asked, measures to be included, hypotheses to be tested, and analyses to be conducted. New studies will be preferably be preregistered.

Third, data collected and the code used to conduct the analyses will be made public, through the Open Science Framework for instance. Obviously, personal or sensitive data will not be made public.

Fourth, results of research will preferably be published in open access mode. This does not mean that we will publish only in Open Access journals. Research reports and papers for academic will be made available online in working paper archives, as a ‘preprint’ version, or in other ways.

 

December 16, 2015 update:

A fifth reason, following directly from #1 and #2, is that open science reduces the costs of science for society.

See this previous post for links to our Giving in the Netherlands Panel Survey data and questionnaires.

 

July 8, 2017 update:

A public use file of the Giving in the Netherlands Panel Survey and the user manual are posted at the Open Science Framework.

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Resilience and Philanthropy

This post in pdf

With the year 2020 on the horizon, the recently published work programme for Research & Innovation from European Commission for the years 2016-2017 is organized around a limited set of Societal Challenges. Europe defined these challenges after a long process of lobbying and consultation with many stakeholders. Going through the list I could not help thinking that something was missing. I do not mean that the list of challenges is a result of a political process and does not seem to reflect an underlying vision of Europe. I am thinking about the current refugee crisis. The stream of refugees arriving at the gates of Europe poses new challenges to Europe, in many areas: humanitarian assistance, citizenship, poverty, inclusion, access to education, and jobs. The stream of refugees also raises important questions for philanthropy. How will Europe deal with these challenges? How resilient is Europe? Will governments, nonprofit organizations and citizens be able to deal with this challenge? In the definition of the Rockefeller Foundation, resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities and systems to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of stress and shocks, and even transform when conditions require it. I define resilience as the mobilization of resources for the improvement of welfare in the face of adversity.

Among refugees, who are seeking a better future for themselves and their children, we see resilience. Threatened by adversity in their home countries, they take grave risks by placing their fate in the hands of human traffickers, foreign police officers. They rely on each other and their inner strength, hoping that what they left behind is worse than their future. We see a lack of resilience in Europe. The continent was not ready for the large stream of refugees. Some member states pass on the stream to each other by closing their borders. Other national governments try to accommodate refugees seeking asylum, but face barriers in finding housing, and resistance from groups of citizens who oppose accommodation of refugees in their communities. At the same time we see a willingness to help among other citizens, who offer assistance in the form of volunteer time, food and other goods. Perhaps the response of citizens is related to their own levels of resilience.

Resilience is not just the ability to withstand adversity or change by not changing at all. Resilience is not just sitting it out, or a strategy based on a rational computation of risks, the avoidance of risks, or flexibility and absorption of shocks. The resilient actor adapts to new situations and grows.  Neither is resilience an immutable trait of individuals, a matter of luck in the genetic lottery. Resilience has often been studied at the individual level in psychology. Resilience requires will power, perseverance, self-esteem, creativity, a proactive attitude, optimism, intrinsic motivation, inner strength, a long term orientation to the future, willingness to change for the better, risk-taking, using the force of your opponent, problem solving ability, and intelligence.

The questions for research on resilience require social scientists to study not only the response of individual citizens, but also of social systems: informal networks of citizens, social groups, nonprofit organizations, nations, and supra-national institutions. How are resilience-related traits related to philanthropy at the level of groups and systems? How can resilience among organizations be fostered? How do nonprofit organizations build and on resilience of target groups? Resilience is a very useful concept to apply to each of the societal challenges of Europe. The classic welfare state was a system that created resilience for society as a whole, reducing the need for resilience among individual citizens. The modern activating welfare state requires resilience among citizens as a condition for support. Welfare state support becomes more like charity: we favor victims of natural disasters that try to make the best of their lives and welfare recipients that are actively seeking a job.

As nonprofit organizations are trying to respond to the refugee crisis, they are also facing adversity themselves. In the United Kingdom, fundraising practices by charities have recently come under attack. In the Dutch nonprofit sector, cuts in government funding to arts and culture organizations have been a major source of adversity in the past years. Further cuts have been announced to organizations in international relief and development. In our research at the Center for Philanthropic Studies at VU Amsterdam we have asked: how willing are Dutch citizens to increase private contributions to charities when the government is lowering their financial support? Not much, is what our research shows. While some may have believed that citizens would compensate lower income from government grants through increased donations, this has not happened. When the cuts to the arts and culture organizations were announced, the minister for Education, Arts and Science said that cultural organizations should do more to raise funds from private sources and should rely less on government grants. The culture change in the cultural sector is taking place, slowly. Some organizations were not ready for this change and simply discontinued their activities. Most have decided to do with less, and see what opportunities they may have to increase fundraising income. Some have done well. On the whole, the increase in private contributions is marginal, and much less than the loss in government grants.

For nonprofit organizations, the refugee crisis poses a challenge, but also an opportunity to mobilize citizen support in an effective manner. By offering their support to the government, working together effectively, and channeling the willingness to volunteer they can demonstrate the societal impact that nonprofit organizations may have. This would be a much needed demonstration when trust in charitable organizations is low.

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