In the 2012 survey, more than 4,500 respondents at nonprofits across the country shared the details of how they are adapting their organizations and finances to economic conditions. The survey reveals that rising service demand is overwhelming a sector still coping with a brittle economy and a barrage of funding cuts.
To assess the outlook for grantmaking in Minnesota in 2013, the Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF) conducted its 2013 Outlook Report survey in October and November of 2012. The survey asked grantmakers to predict how their 2013 giving will compare to 2012. A total of 104 organizations responded, representing 75 percent of annual grantmaking in the state.
The Survey Analyzer is an online resource that anyone can use to filter our 2014 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey. We created this filtering tool to open up access, give people a chance to focus on what’s most relevant for them, and reveal variations between different groups of nonprofits. For example, are the challenges of government funding different from state to state? Do organizations serving low-income communities face different problems than their counterparts? But data alone doesn’t provide definitive answers; instead, it can help nonprofits, supporters, researchers, and others ask better questions, shape dialogue, and challenge their assumptions about Read more
There’s more than one way to influence policy. Larger public policy battles like health care reform, immigration, and civil rights often take place in multiple venues including legislatures, courts, executive agencies, candidate forums, and public forums on ballot measures. But even small policy campaigns present opportunities at federal, state, and local levels to influence the outcome via the following targeted advocacy avenues which are discussed later in this article: Administrative Advocacy Legislative Advocacy Ballot measures or referenda Nonpartisan election-related activities Litigation
Guest editors of the December 2016 issue of Alliance magazine Jenny Hodgson and Barry Knight explore the issues of community philanthropy, durable development, and the collective sharing of resources. In this special feature on community philanthropy, we propose a new paradigm called ‘durable development’. This involves shifting power closer to the ground, giving agency to local people and their organizations on the principle that they should have greater control of their own destinies. The growing field of community philanthropy has much to contribute towards such a paradigm shift because it marks a distinct break with many of the conventions Read more
If efforts to strengthen philanthropy are to be effective, they must be informed by reliable data on the current state of the field. In 2003, the Urban Institute conducted a survey of 1,192 grantmaking foundations in order to construct a wide-ranging and rigorous portrait of attitudes and practices concerning effective philanthropy in the foundation field. The survey results tell us a great deal about how foundations see themselves, how they function, and whether they are fully functioning in the ways that they feel they should be. The speciﬁc attitudes and practices covered in the survey fall under the following general Read more
What it takes for a foundation to be effective is difficult to master, yet timeless. At the same time, however, there are current trends that foundation leaders and boards must pay attention to if they want to be as effective as possible. In this essay, Big Issues, Many Questions, CEP President Phil Buchanan explores the five most pressing issues facing U.S. foundations in 2016. From growing dissatisfaction with the so-called establishment to embracing collaboration and aligned action, these are the trends that foundation CEOs and boards cannot overlook or ignore.
Increasingly, the practice of grantmaking as a tool for bringing about social change has fallen out of favour, replaced by newer, snappier-sounding forms of philanthropy. In laying out their wares, venture philanthropy, strategic philanthropy, philanthrocapitalism and, most recently, ‘catalytic philanthropy’ have all made claims for greater effectiveness. This change has been largely driven by outsiders, for example by business people entering the sector or by consultants. However, there has also been introspection within established grantmaking platforms and networks about the significance and purpose of grantmaking. For example, a keynote speaker at the 2013 conference of the African Grantmakers Network worried Read more
The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the first community foundation in the U.S. This milestone brings with it both increased attention to the field of community philanthropy and the opportunity to demonstrate the significance of these institutions to the communities they serve. The goal of this microsite is to share what the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has learned in more than 35 years of supporting the field, offer key insights, and highlight our legacy of partnering with community foundations in a way that advances the vital work they do to strengthen their communities.
Anthony Tomei writes about the changing global economic structure and how it relates to philanthropy: The collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 seems to mark a symbolic moment at which the world changed. The changes were felt very differently in different parts of the world, but it seems likely that the resulting shift in the balance of economic power will turn out to be permanent. What about philanthropy? Five years on, how do things look? How have foundations responded? Have they changed the way they see their role and the way they do things? These are the questions this Alliance special feature Read more
The Collective Impact Forum exists to support the efforts of those who are practicing collective impact in the field. While the rewards of collective impact can be great, the work is often demanding. Those who practice it must keep themselves and their teams motivated and moving forward. The Collective Impact Forum is the place to find the tools and training that can help achieve success. It’s an expanding network of like-minded individuals coming together from across sectors to share useful experience and knowledge and thereby accelerating the effectiveness, and further adoption, of the collective impact approach as a whole.
Community philanthropy is the giving of time, talent, and treasure that when invested locally is characteristic of positive change and lasting development. This article reports on a survey of 31 small Arkansas communities of 5,000 to 15,000 in population using open-ended descriptive questions. Responses were compared across communities to assess variation in giving/fundraising, civic engagement, and leadership. Data confirm that giving/fundraising was substantial, particularly in communities with populations of 8,000 or less. Findings show that people are giving not only their money, but also their services, time, and skills – especially in times of emergency response. Giving was not restricted Read more
Pam Omidyar’s philanthropic work—including founding or co-founding with her husband, Pierre, the Omidyar Network, Hope Lab, and Humanity United—demonstrates how she has translated her passions into social change. Includes: International philanthropy, Microfinance, Medical philanthropy.
The special feature in this issue of Alliance looks at ‘philanthropy in a changing world economy’. We wanted to explore how philanthropy has responded to economic changes since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. I use the word ‘explore’ intentionally: this special feature is a first stab at seeing what has been happening across the globe. We have tried to build up a picture based on the experiences and impressions of people in different countries.
‘As more lives and communities are destroyed by the system that creates vast amounts of wealth for the few, the more heroic it sounds to “give back.” It’s what I would call “conscience laundering” … But this just keeps the existing structure of inequality in place. The rich sleep better at night, while others get just enough to keep the pot from boiling over.’
The topic of the special feature in this issue of Alliance is philanthropy in emerging markets. This is a topic we come back to often. Two previous special features, in March 2007 and December 2009, have been devoted to it, and numerous articles in between. So what is different about this one?
Embedded funders are foundations that have made long-term commitments to the communities in which they are located or work. Foundations have a long history in funding community development, often with few concrete results. Political conditions, the increasing divide between rich and poor, inaccessibility of education, lack of housing, and continued segregation and racial discrimination are issues that need be addressed concurrently and resources need to be drawn from a variety of sources, particularly the neighborhoods themselves. This complexity has created an impetus for embedded philanthropy. Embedded funders work participatively with the community and frame evaluations in less theoretical, more actionable Read more
Many recent proposals for budget and tax reform would change the value of the charitable contribution deduction. This report provides context for policymakers who may be considering one or more of these reforms, as well as for other interested observers. We first offer a basic overview of charitable giving and the legal rules for claiming the deduction. Next we discuss the various rationales that have been offered in its support and highlight critiques of the deduction. We then examine various proposed reforms, including caps, floors, credits, and grants, in light of those critiques.
This article describes a method for instructing social work students in the art of enhanced collaboration with foundations, shifting the focus from “writing a winning proposal” and “finding alternative funding sources” to “developing collaborative partnerships for sustainable community development and social change.” The program consists of four major steps: charitable foundation review and case presentation, self-guided review of real-world proposals, mock grant proposal development, and side-by-side proposal review. Student proposals were rated similarly by the instructor and the foundation program officer, even though different criteria were used, suggesting that well-written proposals are also likely to clearly address foundation information needs. Read more
The philanthropic community has been ‘conspicuously absent from the SDG debate’, according to Kevin Watkins of the UK’s Overseas Development Institute, writing in the March 2015 issue of Alliance. However, as he suggests, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will take final shape later this year, are likely to have a significant influence on the environment in which foundations operate. We asked a number of people from different regions why foundations should take the SDGs seriously, and how their influence is likely to make itself felt on their work both domestically and internationally. Their response suggests that, even if they Read more
In the United States, virtually everyone is asked to be charitable, but not everyone knows how to be philanthropic. Whether you work for a grantmaking foundation or you are personally committed to charitable giving, this course explores American philanthropy, the role of the funder, current best practices and ethical standards, the public’s relationship to nonprofit organizations, and the nature of grantmaking. Utilizing both theoretical and case-study methods, this interactive class provides the basis for subsequent coursework toward the Certificate in Grantmaking and Foundations. CEU: 1.5
Author: Academy for Grantmaking and Funder Education, New York University
This resource includes three approaches that today’s foundations can learn from the Freedom Funders in our ongoing fight to protect civil rights: Grantmakers should intentionally prioritize underserved communities in developing and implementing strategy. They should involve those most affected by injustice, such as by funding organizations committed to grassroots organizing and advocacy. They should utilize tools such as equity analysis to examine structural barriers that keep certain communities from equal life opportunities. Anything less and foundations risk reinforcing the very inequities they claim to address.
Author: National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP)
Giving in Minnesota provides a comprehensive analysis of the trends and patterns of giving by organized philanthropy in the state. The report is intended to present the scope of philanthropy in Minnesota to a diverse audience, including nonprofits, the news media, public officials and the general public, as well as to foundations and corporate giving programs. Minnesota Council on Foundations first published Giving in Minnesota in 1976 and has been producing it annually since 1997.
Jason Franklin explores the meaning of ‘next gen’ donors: I’ve been a ‘next gen’ donor for 13 years, ever since I began getting involved in philanthropy after discovering as a graduate student that my family had a small foundation. Slowly philanthropy began to permeate every part of my life. Even as I continued working as a community organizer it emerged as part of my academic work, where I began to research the impact of philanthropy on policy change; as a volunteer, I became a deeply engaged board member of several foundations. Finally, in 2010, I shifted my professional work into Read more
It’s practically a given these days that philanthropy and government ought to work together. But what should the relationship look like? How can grantmakers collaborate formally or informally with partners in government to advance the common good? And does everyone think this is such a good idea? To explore those questions, we invited eight foundation leaders to reflect on the current state of foundation-government collaboration and asked GrantCraft readers to say which statements resonated for them.
Immerse yourself in a comprehensive learning experience, and fuel your passion for grantmaking and private philanthropy. Faculty members and guest speakers from across the philanthropic community help you to learn how to give wisely. Explore a variety of funding approaches through presentations, discussions, graded assignments, and problem-solving exercises for groups and individuals. If you are an independent philanthropist, a member of a philanthropic family, or a professional grantmaker with just a few years of experience in grantmaking, this intensive is designed for you.
Author: Academy for Grantmaking and Funder Education, New York University
This article is adapted from the book Philanthropy in Democratic Societies. Moving philanthropy from the margins to the center of scholarly inquiry permits a task at the heart of any inquiry about democracy: understanding the complex division between what is public and what is private, tracing the evolution of that division over time, identifying the public dimensions of private wealth and power, and recognizing when private action supports or, alternatively, threatens the public interest. Philanthropy in Democratic Societies provides an integrated, multidisciplinary exploration of philanthropy’s role and legitimacy in a democratic society, revealing how such a focus can open up Read more
Author: National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP)
Filiz Bikmen writes about emerging economies and philanthropy: The economic boom of BRICS and MINT countries coupled with the unequal distribution of this growth presents new opportunities and challenges for philanthropy in emerging markets. Among them are different approaches to giving, lukewarm relationships with civil society organizations (CSOs), hesitation about funding ‘unpopular’ issues and the arduous task of building the field of philanthropy. In light of the observations of contributors to this issue, which trends appear to be affecting philanthropic ecosystems in emerging market countries, and what lies ahead?
This article describes six pilot initiatives of the Alliance for Children and Families — New Voices at the Civic Table (New Voices), a philanthropy-funded effort to challenge human service organizations to integrate civic engagement as a permanent part of their infrastructure. All six New Voices models included common elements: leadership training, civic education, experiential learning, participatory decision-making, networking, and reflective evaluation. Each also reflected one of four primary variations to civic engagement based on their community needs and demands: self-efficacy, constituent involvement, mobilizing, and organizing. Results demonstrate that civic engagement in human services not only produces a means for promoting Read more
The Next Gen Donors research project is a collaboration of 21/64 and the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy. The next generations of major philanthropists, who fit into “Gen X” (born 1964-1980) or “Gen Y/Millennial” (born 1981-2000) generational cohorts, will wield more philanthropic power than any previous generation. With an unprecedented amount of wealth, these donors hold the future of philanthropy in their hands, yet, until now, there has been little previous research on the powerful but very private group of young people who stand to become the major donors of the future Conducted in 2012, this report is based on first-of-its Read more
Author: Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy
The Nonprofit Almanac 2012 is a detailed analysis of nonprofits’ place in the national economy and trends in wages, employment, private giving, volunteering, and finances. The Almanac features the most recent data on the philanthropic sector, presented in more than 50 charts and 100 tables. Topics include: The nonprofit sector and its place in the national economy Wage and employment trends Trends in private giving and volunteering Financial trends in revenue and outlays The size, scope, and finances of public charities Classification scheme for charitable organizations based on the National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities Glossary of nonprofit scholarship terms For Read more
This brief highlights trends from the eighth edition of The Nonprofit Almanac 2011, prepared by the National Center for Charitable Statistics at the Urban Institute. We highlight the growth in the number and finances of 501(c)(3) public charities, as well as key findings on private charitable contributions and volunteering.
The Wachovia Regional Foundation spearheaded the formation of a partnership to create a participatory outcome evaluation framework for its neighborhood revitalization work. The framework integrates the use of primary and secondary data and has been modified and improved to strengthen a variety of the foundation’s comprehensive neighborhood revitalization efforts. Forty-one community-based organizations have utilized the framework as a key tool to craft and implement neighborhood plans in a 62-county region. The framework has enabled grantees and residents to better understand and capitalize on market dynamics, enhance their participation in revitalization activities and begin to demonstrate the impact of sustained, strategic Read more
Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2017 is an annual industry forecast about the ways we use private resources for public benefit. Each year, the Blueprint provides an overview of the current landscape, points to major trends, and directs your attention to horizons where you can expect some important breakthroughs in the coming year. This publication includes the following: Insight: Big Ideas That Matter for 2017: What is political? What is philanthropic? Worksheets: Data, Governance, and Your Organization Foresight: Predictions for 2017 Hindsight: Renovations to Previous Forecasts Buzzword Watch Glimpses of the Future: Black Lives Matter and Closing Civic Space
The Philanthropy Curriculum Standards’ design parallels the national and state curriculum standards for ease of use and interpretation. The Four Philanthropy Themes: Definitions of Philanthropy Philanthropy and Civil Society; Philanthropy and the Individual, and, Volunteering and Service are the Strands whose corresponding Standards and Benchmarks define the ideas and concepts a student should understand at Grades 5, 8 and 11. For more information concerning the genesis of this curriculum, access Philanthropy Curriculum Standards background.
RWJF’s work in the field of research and evaluation has been integral to its success and has informed the field of philanthropy as a whole. On Wednesday, September 19, RWJF hosted a webinar which looked back on the past 40 years (1972-2012) of research and evaluation at RWJF, highlighted programs that had a major impact on the field during that time, and shared lessons learned. Listen to current and former leaders of research and evaluation who were, and continue to be, involved in shaping RWJF’s research and evaluation work.
This report shares reflections on an in-depth examination of the story and needs of youth grantmaking (young people making monetary contributions to organizations through established institutions or governing bodies). The report finds that while more than 200 foundations worldwide offer youth grantmaking programs and more than 100 related resources exist, that information is not broadly available. Recommendations include providing wider access to youth philanthropy programs, centralizing resources, and increasing in-person gatherings. This scan was conducted in partnership with Youth Philanthropy Connect, a program of the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation.
Although much has been written about ‘what donors believe’ and ‘how modern foundations work’, hard data about how private foundation donors view themselves, their roles, and the non-profits they support is relatively scarce. With almost 1,200 US-based private foundation clients, Foundation Source is well positioned to put some of the common assumptions about this sector to the test. Last November, we carried out a survey of our clients that debunked some of philanthropy’s most established axioms – especially those relating to foundation attitudes to non-profits.
Driven by increasing pressure on local budgets, some municipalities have sought a reexamination of the property-tax exemption for nonprofit organizations provided by state law. The property tax is a major source of revenue for many municipalities, and large nonprofits such as universities and hospitals may own significant portions of land within a given city. Some cities have begun asking nonprofits for voluntary PILOTs, or Payments in Lieu of Taxes—an attempt to collect a portion of the property tax revenue which would be owed if nonprofits were not tax-exempt. However, concerns from nonprofit organizations have arisen regarding PILOTs.
The future of family philanthropy is an uncertain one, with dramatic changes taking place both in families and in philanthropy itself. But along with the uncertainty comes possibility and excitement; along with future challenges there are energized new donors and emerging innovations that could improve family giving in ways few would have predicted just a few years ago. Based on the candid peer conversations and insights from thought leaders that were offered during two “National Summits” on family philanthropy, this brief envisions the changes in the field, and suggests ways to adapt family giving for a better future– a future Read more
Author: Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy
At a time of growing concern over issues like inequality and access to education, increasing anxiety about climate change, and rising levels of distrust in institutions, foundation leaders are considering their role in addressing society’s challenges. When they look in the mirror and reflect on the current state of foundation philanthropy and the future ahead, are they pleased with what they see? Based on the perspectives of more than 200 foundation CEOs collected through in-depth interviews and responses to a survey from May to June of 2016, The Future of Foundation Philanthropy: The CEO Perspective captures foundation leaders’ views on Read more
Jewish funders have, over many generations, built a Jewish nonprofit infrastructure that is considered a model across the United States and beyond. Will this infrastructure be sustained in the coming decades? Research has shown that Jews in the next generation are becoming less interested in formal religious practice and are distancing themselves from Israel. What does this mean for Jewish philanthropy? Will the next generation, which is more interested in informal experiences of Jewishness, continue to fund Jewish life? How does coming of age in an American society largely free of barriers to inclusion influence interests and involvements? We know Read more
Author: Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy
This brief highlights trends in the number and finances of 501(c)(3) public charities as well as key findings on private charitable contributions and volunteering, two critical resources for the nonprofit sector.
Stephen Pittam discusses the power of money: Six months after I had started working for the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) a close friend said to me, ‘you have changed – you expect people to listen to you.’ It was a good reminder of the best piece of advice I received on getting the job. Eric Adams of the Barrow Cadbury Trust told me, ‘keep your feet on the ground and you will be alright’.
High quality after-school programs have been demonstrated to have significant impact on student performance. Preceding the Trenton Afterschool Partnership (TAP) was a hodgepodge of programs that cost various contributors about $9 million. These programs, of unequal quality, served about 1,500 students in 15 out of Trenton’s 21 public schools. TAP (which includes the Princeton Area Community Foundation) was able to successfully implement programs in all of the Trenton schools. Budget cuts have forced the reduction of the programs, but about half of the schools have been able to maintain programs. Foundations are encouraged to support advocacy capacity and to provide Read more
This article provides guidance on how foundations can frame, focus, and advance efforts to achieve public policy reforms. Five essential steps for developing public policy strategy are described: choosing the public policy goal, understanding the challenges, identifying influential audiences, determining how far those audiences must move, and deciding how to move them. Two tools developed specifically to support foundations during the strategy development process are presented.
International grantmaking has increased dramatically in the past two decades, at a rate faster than domestic grantmaking. The increase in international grantmaking, stimulated by increased interest in global issues, was fueled by increased foundation assets and especially by new foundations created since 1990. While many of the issues confronting international grantmaking exist with domestic grantmaking, they have special aspects and increased importance because of the global context. Many foundations have now accumulated information about how best to work in partnership with other foundations, governments, and business; these lessons would benefit all foundations. Thoughtful collective action taken by foundation membership organizations Read more
This article examines success factors for a statewide initiative to reduce health disparities by establishing environmental policies to reduce asthma risk factors for school-aged children. Twelve local coalitions and a statewide network focused on schools, housing, and outdoor air policies. Multiple types and levels of policy advocacy were encouraged by the Initiative so that issues at the local level linked to larger issues across the state, and conversely state-level policies supported local endeavors. Factors that contributed to the success of the initiative included: structuring the initiative on a systems change model; employing multiple technical assistance providers to assure fidelity to Read more
The Retrospective assesses RWJF’s investment, what was achieved through its efforts, and the strengths and challenges of the Foundation’s approach. RWJF contributed toward progress on the substance-use problem through meaningful impact in five major areas: Increased knowledge about the substance-use problem; Influenced alcohol and drug policies; Informed and spreading promising prevention programs; Improved systems of care for substance-use disorders; and Built field infrastructure to strengthen substance-use research, policy, and practice. RWJF had an unprecedented investment in the field, contributing to change over time. Observations of how RWJF developed its overarching and program-specific strategies, conducted ongoing evaluation and learning, and exited Read more
The greatest inter-generational transfer of wealth is upon us. The good news: there are many youth grantmaking initiatives happening around the world to help support this. For this webinar, we learned what is happening in the field of youth philanthropy to prepare for this massive shift. The Foundation Center and Youth Philanthropy Connect partnered to conduct the first landscape scan of this scale on youth grantmaking, and they joined us for this discussion. We learned about the impact it has made on the lives of youth. Participants also learned how you to take part in their inspiring movement.
The war in Syria is now in its fourth year. It has cost over 200,000 lives, put 12 million people in need of humanitarian assistance inside the country (USAID) and displaced 10 million, more than 3 million of whom have fled abroad as refugees. All of this has earned Syria a number of unappealing superlatives: ‘the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era’ (UNHCR); the creator of the ‘worst refugee crisis since the second world war’ (The Economist); and the world’s ‘worst crisis for children’ (UN). With a few notable exceptions, however, western philanthropists have not engaged in Syria.
What makes the global spread of community philanthropy organizations so exciting is the variety of forms they take and how they adapt to different local contexts, challenges, resources and leaders. This diversity is one sign of community philanthropy’s flexibility, potential and rising popularity. Because it is a movement relatively young and quickly evolving, with a limited body of applied research, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation commissioned Barry Knight of CENTRIS to develop these case studies featuring profiles of eight community philanthropy initiatives from around the world.
Family foundations are important institutions, making up a significant portion of the foundation universe and having both local and global impact. Yet we have no shared definition of this diverse and evolving category. Clarifying the definition will help challenge persistent misconceptions, get perspective on the diversity, and improve foundations’ understanding of their own family dimensions. This article surveys the different definitions of family foundation that are, and have been, used by key organizations in the field and by researchers. It also reviews examples of the variations and complicating factors that make answering the title question difficult. A single or simple Read more
What’s Next for Philanthropy: Acting Bigger and Adapting Better in a Networked World argues that while philanthropic innovation over the last decade has been mostly about improving the effectiveness, efficiency and responsiveness of individual organizations, the next practices of the coming 10 years will build on those efforts to include an additional focus on coordination and adaption—acting bigger and adapting better.
The world around philanthropy is changing much, much faster than philanthropy itself. An intimidating range of forces–globalization, shifting sectoral roles, economic crisis, and new technologies–are changing both what philanthropy is called upon to do, and how donors and foundations will accomplish their work in the future. For philanthropic and civic leaders looking to cultivate change in today’s rapidly shifting landscape, simply tweaking the status quo won’t be enough. Funders will have to pioneer “next practices”–effective approaches that are well-suited to tomorrow’s more networked, dynamic, and interdependent context. With this in mind, Monitor Institute is pleased to announce the publication of Read more