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The Index Explosion- A Curated Collection of Social Sector Indexes, Rankings and Measures to Inform Grantmaking in the United States

February 23, 2022

The purpose of this report is to assist the philanthropic community in selecting and using the large and growing collection of publicly available indexes and rankings that measure a variety of social conditions and challenges that concern funders in the United States.Part I explores the history of such rankings and seeks to explain their seemingly wide appeal.Part II, is a curated and categorized collection of indexes and rankings that we think are particularly useful to funders. We believe this is the first curated overview of available indexes and rankings with a funder audience in mind.Part III draws upon interviews with grant makers across the United States and offers observations about how the philanthropic community uses indexes and rankings. We also offer related recommendations for funders. 

The State of Youth Philanthropy 2020 – 2021

September 8, 2021

Youth philanthropy and youth grantmaking programs bring together young people, typically from a definedcommunity, school system , or region to learn about social problems and make funding decisions. The onset ofthe COVID-19 pandemic led to abrupt changes in the way that these young people and program leaders work,learn, engage, and live. As we transitioned to virtual learning and programming, youth philanthropy programsalso had to pivot. Further, as we moved through Spring 2020, it became clear we would not simply be goingback to "normal" in Fall 2020 or for months thereafter.At the Sillerman Center, we have long researched the ways in which youth philanthropy programs thrive, howthey support and give power to young people, and how they can and should be a model for democratizing thephilanthropic sector. Our past research focused on these programs more broadly, in From Beneficiary to ActiveAgent: How Youth-Led Grantmaking Benefits Young People, Their Communities, and the Philanthropic Secto

Community-Centric Youth Philanthropy: A Case Study of Greater Worcester Community Foundation's Youth for Community Improvement Program

October 1, 2020

This case study aims to demonstrate how youth philanthropy can be an avenue to democratize philanthropy while it simultaneously benefits young people. We invite readers to explore Youth for Community Improvement, a youth grantmaking program at Greater Worcester Community Foundation, from the vantage points of young people who participate in the program and their adult supporters.

Inhabiting Change: Roles for Philanthropy and Reducing and Redressing Housing Segregation

August 31, 2020

Racial segregation in housing is a root cause of inequalities in health, safety, education, employment, wealth and income that have long concerned US grantmakers. This brief provides the historical and policy context to inform funding for nonprofit organizations working to redress and reduce housing segregation. We outline several ways for funders to support work in this overlooked field.

Social Justice Philanthropy Terminology Guide

August 31, 2020

This guide focuses on developing a deeper understanding of both general and niche philanthropy-related terms. Some of the terms, such as diversity, equity, and inclusion are more general and applicable outside of the field of philanthropy. Other terms, such as charitable industrial complex, mission creep, and return on investment are very much focused on the field of philanthropy. Although some of the terms are not specific to the field of philanthropy, all terms included affect giving practices and should be considered when aiming to shift grantmaking practices.

Civic Engagement and People with Disabilities: A Way Forward Through Cross-Movement Building

May 27, 2020

This report presents a national overview of the barriers to civic engagement that disabled people experience. Drawing on our findings from surveys, a Twitter chat, and interviews, we offer recommendations for the philanthropic sector and for civic engagement organizations aspiring to create a more inclusive and responsive democracy to build civic power among people with disabilities. Civic power in this report is conceptualized as opportunities for people with disabilities to amplify, mobilize, and elevate their voices and infuence within democracy.This report centers the expertise, insights and lived experiences of people with disabilities, including leaders from various disability communities. Our findings reaffirm that no disability rights issue exists outside the sphere of civic engagement and no meaningful civic engagement strategy can emerge without attention to disability rights. Supported by the Ford Foundation's Civic Engagement and Government (CEG) program, this report is a collaboration between the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy and the Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy, both based at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy. The disability rights mantra "nothing about us, without us" informs the questions, methods and content in this report. We hope the findings and recommendations will inspire new thinking and action within philanthropy and civic engagement spaces, and spark courageous conversations and inform practices within the vital organizations working to strengthen democracy in the United States. 

Educational Justice and Sustainability for Rural Schools

February 5, 2020

This brief responds to new funder interest in rural communities and educational opportunity. The brief describes the rural education landscape, highlights longstanding challenges and describes the central role of schools in rural community life. We offer several recommendations for grantmakers.

Social Justice Funders SPOTLIGHT: The Hyams Foundation

October 1, 2019

Social Justice Funders Spotlights present stories of innovative, effective social justice philanthropy in action. Each spotlight focuses upon a grantmaker and a grantee.Hyams FoundationThis spotlight is part of Sillerman's Participatory Grantmaking project.

Social Justice Funders SPOTLIGHT: The Headwaters Foundation

October 1, 2019

Social Justice Funders Spotlights present stories of innovative, effective social justice philanthropy in action. Each spotlight focuses upon a grantmaker and a grantee.Headwaters FoundationThis spotlight is part of Sillerman's Participatory Grantmaking project.

Social Justice Funders SPOTLIGHT: Disability Rights Fund

October 1, 2019

Social Justice Funders Spotlights present stories of innovative, effective social justice philanthropy in action. Each spotlight focuses upon a grantmaker and a grantee.Disability Rights FundThis spotlight is part of Sillerman's Participatory Grantmaking project.

Equity, Inclusion and Diversity in Arts & Culture Philanthropy

April 30, 2018

This brief discusses how grantmakers can redress long-standing inequalities in arts and culture philanthropy by directing more dollars to historically marginalized communities and by adopting strategies that upend traditional funding structures that have excluded artists of color and under-resourced communities.

How Youth-Led Grantmaking Benefits Young People, Their Communities, and the Philanthropic Sector

November 1, 2017

In this brief, we explore Youth Philanthropy as a model with the potential to make grantmaking more democratic, inclusive, and responsive to the needs of underserved communities. It is also a model that, if more widely supported and expanded, could contribute significantly to the preparation of sophisticated future grantmakers who share social justice values. This brief explores the landscape of youth philanthropy in the United States, providing concrete examples of best practices in youth philanthropy, particularly for teenagers. We review youth philanthropy's potential benefits for both communities and for young grantmakers themselves. We also offer recommendations to funders for how to best support youth philanthropy or how to expand and deepen their support for this growing practice.