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Paul G. Allen Family Foundation: Impact Report 2021

January 31, 2022

Without question, it has been another challenging year. In 2021, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation continued to respond to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, while also managing its robust conservation and ocean health portfolio and supporting new arts and culture projects in the Pacific Northwest.During the rollercoaster of the pandemic, we focused on the needs of our neighbors, particularly underserved communities in our region. This geographic focus enabled deeper and more impactful efforts. We also operated with increased flexibility as emergency situations demanded; given the rapidly evolving nature of the pandemic, we provided trusted partners who have strong roots in communities with greater freedom and flexibility, allowing them to respond to new challenges more quickly.Similarly, we have seen the benefits of grants that support and place trust in Indigenous communities, who are the best stewards of our planet. We also reinforced the power of collaboration – for both funding and knowledge sharing. Tackling formidable challenges requires true partnership with like-minded organizations because working together we can move the impact needle further and faster than just working solo.Building on the work we covered in the 2020 Decade of Impact Report, we remain inspired by our grantees and partners across the Pacific Northwest and around the globe and remain optimistic about the future. The report that follows highlights some of the progress we have seen this year and offers a preview of some of what is to come.

Trends in Northwest Giving 2017

March 1, 2017

Since 2006, Philanthropy Northwest has published biennial reports on grantmaking trends for our region -- Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming -- based on the most recent data available from a combination of our membership network, Form 990s and intermediaries. These reports aim to reflect our collective giving, encourage more conversations and help inform your strategies.For this sixth edition of Trends in Northwest Giving, we are presenting this report in collaboration with Foundation Center, which collects grants data directly from organizations across the Northwest and nationwide. This partnership enables us to tell a story based on a larger pool of funders, in three parts: key findings, based on a snapshot of $1.8 billion granted to our region by more than 4,000 funders in 2014; trends over time, based on a subset of 1,388 funders that reported data for both 2012 and 2014; and state-by-state variations.

Regional Recommendations for the Pacific Northwest on Water Quality Trading, Executive Summary

August 5, 2014

In March 2013, water quality agency staff from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, U.S. EPA Region 10, Willamette Partnership, and The Freshwater Trust convened a working group for the first of a series of four interagency workshops on water quality trading in the Pacific Northwest. Facilitated by Willamette Partnership through a USDA-NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant, those who assembled over the subsequent eight months discussed and evaluated water quality trading policies, practices, and programs across the country in an effort to better understand and draw from EPA's January 13, 2003, Water Quality Trading Policy, and its 2007 Permit Writers' Toolkit, as well as existing state guidance and regulations on water quality trading. All documents presented at those conversations and meeting summaries are posted on the Willamette Partnership's website.The final product is intended to be a set of recommended practices for each state to consider as they develop water quality trading. The goals of this effort are to help ensure that water quality "trading programs" have the quality, credibility, and transparency necessary to be consistent with the "Clean Water Act" (CWA), its implementing regulations and state and local water quality laws.

Disrupting Poverty: Coming Together to Build Financial Security for Individuals and Communities

March 1, 2014

Despite the efforts of many groups and partners working to alleviate poverty, national trends concerning wealth are disconcerting because they appear to be moving in the wrong direction. For example, according to The Urban Institute, approximately 30 percent of American households live from paycheck to paycheck, without an adequate financial safety net. The Pew Research Center has found that disparities in wealth between Native populations and white populations are pronounced, while wealth gaps between white households and households of other races and ethnicities are widening.This report highlights organizations that are reversing these trends. We examine six projects that are taking bold approaches to solve one of the biggest challenges in our country today: disrupting poverty by building financial security. The report highlights lessons and best practices gleaned from our examination of a variety of projects that we and other foundations support. We expect that this information can help practitioners and funders as they look for opportunities to stregthn financial security and foster wealth-building initiatives across the country

Philanthropy and the Regeneration of Community Democracy

January 1, 2013

The underlying assumption among foundations of all kinds has been that productive change comes from technical intervention through programs and services. However, various pressures, including frustration with results that all too often seem superficial and disappointing, have led to growing interest in something beyond traditional approaches. This different approach -- variously described as community or civic capacity building, community-based problem solving, democratic institution building, comprehensive community change, and so on -- is sometimes met with skepticism. This report is intended to give greater assurance that this "other" course for communities with support from philanthropy is indeed possible.

Bright Spots Leadership in the Pacific Northwest

February 1, 2012

The operating environment for nonprofit cultural organizations today is daunting. Demographic shifts, changing participation patterns, evolving technology, increased competition for consumer attention, rising costs of doing business, shifts in the philanthropic sector and public funding, and the lingering recession form a stew of change and uncertainty. Every cultural organization is experiencing a combination of these shifts, each in its own way. Yet, while some organizations are struggling in this changing context, others are managing to stay healthy and dynamic while operating under the same conditions as their peers. These groups are observable exceptions, recognized by their peers as achieving success outside the norm in their artistic program, their engagement of community, and/or their financial stability. These are the "bright spots" of the cultural sector.Who are they? What are they doing differently? What can we learn by studying their behavior?To explore these questions, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation asked Helicon Collaborative to conduct a study of cultural groups in the Pacific Northwest. The project had two goals: 1) to identify "bright spots," defined as cultural organizations that are successfully adapting to their changing circumstances without exceptional resources, and 2) to see if these organizations share characteristics or strategies that can be replicated by others.

Northwest Area Foundation Grantmaking and Leveraging: Assessment of the Initial Two Years Under a New Strategic Plan

February 1, 2012

This report was originally commissioned for internal reflection; therefore, some sections may be of limited interest to anyone outside the organization. Nonetheless, we have decided to make the report public in the hope that peer funders and others may find value in it for their own work.

Lessons for Philanthropy: a Journey into Indian Country

January 1, 2012

In 2006, Philanthropy Northwest set out to promote more philanthropic engagement in Indian Country and began its journey into Indian Country.This paper shares a few of the stories we have collected along the way. It is organized around seven simple lessons. Our hope is that these stories and lessons will inspire philanthropists to learn more about the good work underway in Northwest Indian Country. We are deeply indebted to all who have shared and continue to share their stories with us, and we look forward to the road ahead.

Gaining Perspective: Lessons Learned From One Foundation's Exploratory Decade

April 1, 2011

Ten years after launching an ambitious strategy, the Northwest Area Foundation asked FSG to identify lessons learned from a decade of community-based work. In the period from 1998 to 2008, the Northwest Area Foundation made a big bet on an innovative approach to reducing poverty. Before that time, the Foundation awarded relatively short-term grants in a variety of program areas. In 1998, the mission was sharpened to a single purpose: to help communities reduce poverty. At the heart of the new strategy was a set of placebased, long-term commitments that were conceived as partnerships with entire communities. 

From Crisis to Opportunity: Learning from One Region's Response to the Economic Downturn

July 25, 2010

How can community giving practices be transformed, using lessons learned from the recent economic crisis?This report profiles a number of Pacific Northwest funders who have worked over the past year to respond to urgent community needs. While these actions were in direct response to the economic crisis at hand, the lessons learned from these community-based philanthropists can provide future direction for doing more with limited resources at any point in time. These funders were intentional about how best to apply and leverage their assets, and they collaborated with others to avoid wasting time, effort and money.

Snapshots of Social Change: A New Survey of Views from Rural America

June 22, 2007

Presents initial findings from a telephone survey of 6,500 people living in rural counties of six regions: the Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest, Northeast, Midwest, Appalachia, and the Mississippi Delta.

"It's Hands-On...": Cultivating Mentors and Emerging Social Justice Leaders through Shared Project Development: Documenting the Intergenerational and Community Dialogues: A Leadership for a Changing World Initiative

May 9, 2007

The Leadership for a Changing World (LCW) program seeks to transform the public perception that the U.S. is facing a shortage of leaders to address social, environmental, and economic issues within communities. The program asserts that leadership does exist, albeit in a form that is different from traditional understandings of leadership. LCW shifts the conversation about leadership to include leaders known in their own communities, but not known broadly. Over five years (2001-2005), the LCW program recognized 92 individual leaders and leadership teams based in organizations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. As the program began to come to a close in 2005, the partners developed the idea of a regional forum, the Intergenerational and Community Dialogues, to address recurring concerns that award recipients identified: leadership development, succession, and the creation of sustainable community collaborations. The forum brought together LCW award recipients and emerging leaders from the Pacific Northwest to investigate and explore the challenges and opportunities of intergenerational leadership and community collaboration. This report documents the main ideas that emerged from the conversations of forum participants who explored their experiences cultivating mentors, leaders, and collaborative relationships. It is our hope that this document captures the perspectives, concerns, significant accomplishments, and energetic spirit of the initiative's participants.