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Centering equity and justice in climate philanthropy

June 9, 2022

Despite its urgency and potential, according to available funding data, most institutional funders do not incorporate climate or climate justice strategies into their work, largely relegating it to a few environmental funders. As a result of underestimating its importance and its connection to other philanthropic priorities, not enough funding is flowing to climate change efforts and even less of it for reducing harm to communities most impacted by the climate crisis.This field guide for funders identifies common barriers to supporting climate justice strategies, describes ways to overcome them, and shares insights and case studies from experienced funders who have helped their institutions use a climate justice lens for greater impact within their existing grantmaking priorities.

Streets to Statehouse: Harnessing the Power of the New Electorate

October 19, 2021

This brief builds on Streets to Statehouse: Building Grassroots Power in New York, a report released jointly by North Star Fund and New York Foundation in 2020. Streets to Statehouse documents the crucial role of grassroots organizing in achieving progressive policy wins in New York and sowing a more inclusive and responsive democracy. The report calls on funders to resource these movements more deeply to ensure we build upon the progress that has been made. This brief serves as a companion to Streets to Statehouse and lifts up the ways in which grassroots organizing is building electoral power by engaging new constituencies and seeding a new cadre of progressive elected leaders.

Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy

October 1, 2020

As a growing number of foundations consider disability inclusion in the context of their internal policies and practices as well as their external-facing work, the need to strengthen the infrastructure and ecosystem that supports those efforts is becoming increasingly important. This working paper, commissioned by the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers (NNCG), provides a high-level overview of the current philanthropic landscape—the ways in which foundations are incorporating disability inclusion into their work as well as the ways in which consultants have been supporting their efforts.

A Foot in Both Worlds: Working with Regional Organizations to Advance Equity

April 13, 2020

Within philanthropy, conversations about equity are increasingly taking center stage.Striving for equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to thrive. This requires removing obstacles such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care (Braveman, Arkin, Orleans, Proctor, & Plough, 2017).For national foundations, working through and with regional organizations can advance equity in critical ways. Working with regional organizations can help national funders increase understanding of, relevance to, andconnection with local communities and stakeholders, ground high-level systems change in the reality of people's lives, and create common cause among a set of stakeholders across multiple localities, bringing scale andsustainability to community change initiatives. In the best-case scenario, foundation investments in regionalorganizations can catalyze powerful ripple effects, such as developing local leadership, spurring economic growth, and building a stronger nonprofit infrastructure.This paper seeks to inform national funders interested in more deeply understanding the opportunities to advance equity by working with and supporting regional organizations (as compared to local or national organizations). To do so, we reviewed the literature and conducted 20 interviews with national foundation executives who have workedwith regional organizations as part of their strategy, as well as representatives from organizations working regionally, such as community development finance institutions, regional and community foundations, and community colleges. Based on the insights shared with us, we examine how working with regional organizations can advance equity, how national foundations can work effectively with these organizations, and the potential pitfalls andchallenges of this work.

Partnering with Community for Better Philanthropy

January 1, 2020

This paper takes a closer look at how national foundations and large foundations are engaging those directly impacted by inequity, including communities of color and people from low-income communities, in their decision-making.Based on a review of the literature, internal documents shared by foundations, 31 interviews with philanthropic thought leaders, staff from national and/or large foundations, staff from smaller, exemplar foundations, as well as individuals who represent directly impacted communities, this paper examines the unique context of large and national foundations, including the ways in which their size, scale, and orientation pose challenges and create opportunity for meaningful community engagement.This paper also explores the institutional and individual competencies needed to do this work well and offers recommendations for getting started.

Cricket Island Foundation: A Case Study of a Small Foundation’s Impact Assessment

June 1, 2018

In 2015, the Cricket Island Foundation conducted a multimethod assessment of its grantmaking portfolio to examine its impact and inform future decision-making and strategy. The foundation, which supports youth-led social change using a cohort-based model, focuses on emerging and medium-sized organizations and provides capacity-building supports to help organizations achieve greater organizational sustainability. The assessment focused on two of the foundation's three cohorts and found positive trends in five key areas of desired impact: organizational capacity, youth leadership, nonprofit executive leadership, grantee collaboration and learning, and funder policy and practice. The assessment also identified areas for improvement to strengthen future impact, and prompted a review and update of the foundation's ongoing protocols for tracking its progress. This article will explore what was learned from a model of providing long-term capacity-building investments to grassroots organizations, and discuss the ways in which even small foundations can implement meaningful assessment protocols while minimizing data-collection burdens on grantee partners.

U.S. Foundation Funding for Australia

February 24, 2016

"U.S. Foundation Funding for Australia", the first report of its kind, is part of a larger project involving the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, Philanthropy Australia, and Foundation Center. A primary goal of this partnership is to improve awareness and understanding in Australia of the U.S. philanthropic sector, while also strengthening philanthropic ties between the two countries and demonstrating the value of transparency within the not-for-profit sector. In the current report, we examine the priorities of U.S. foundation funding to organizations located in Australia, as well as funding for organizations supporting causes in Australia. The quantitative analysis is based on grantmaking data from among the largest U.S. foundations. The report also presents perspectives of U.S. and Australian funders on the current role of philanthropy in Australia, specific challenges and opportunities, and what is needed to achieve greater impact.

Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy 2015: Data to Drive Decisions

November 12, 2015

Jointly produced by Foundation Center and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy 2015: Data to Drive Decisions analyzes funding trends for disasters and humanitarian crises in 2013. In addition to examining U.S. foundation funding, this second annual report integrates other disaster-related funding data, including bilateral and multilateral aid, corporate giving, and online giving, to paint a more detailed picture of how institutional philanthropy is situated within the broader disaster funding landscape. Collectively, this report, along with the dashboard and mapping platform, provides donors, practitioners, and other stakeholders with in-depth information on funding flows for disasters and humanitarian crises. Explore more at disasterphilanthropy.org.

Quantifying Hope: Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys

April 14, 2015

This 2015 research brief analyzes U.S. philanthropic funding trends for Black men and boys and describes recent initiatives and investments supporting Black males. A follow-up to the analysis in Where Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys, the brief identifies quantifiable shifts in giving patterns, offers a glimpse at outcomes and impacts of various programs and initiatives, and makes recommendations for future investments.

Latino Leadership: Foundation Boards

January 1, 2015

Latino Leadership: Foundation Boards supports Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) in its efforts to build the pipeline for greater Latino leadership on foundation boards. The report presents data on foundation staff and board diversity and lifts up the perspectives of Latino leaders themselves, based on interviews with 15 current and former board members. The analysis synthesizes interviewees' experiences, highlighting the contributions Latinos bring to the boardroom, the challenges they face, and recommendations for moving forward.

Building a Beloved Community: Strengthening the Field of Black Male Achievement

May 13, 2014

Building on the groundbreaking report Where Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys, this companion piece explores the diverse, multidisciplinary, and cross-sector work to advance black male achievement. Based on interviews with 50 philanthropic, nonprofit, government, academic, and business leaders, the report also offers recommendations for what it will take to strengthen the field moving forward.

Where Do We Go From Here? Philanthropic Support for Black Men and Boys

October 1, 2012

Drawing on eight years of grants data and twenty years of history, this report describes important trends in foundation funding for black men and boys. It also describes innovative philanthropic efforts in the field. While disparities faced by black males remain staggering, new partnerships and initiatives based on an assets-based approach and institutional supports may be on the cusp of turning the tide.