“I have the report- now what?” 7 Questions to Ask When Reading Program Evaluations

Program evaluations provide answers to a key question: “Did this program work in a particular population and setting?” For funders who haven’t been trained in reading evaluations, wading through such reports can be confusing and time-consuming. So, to get the most out of program evaluations, here are 7 questions to ask when reading them.

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Catagories: Program Learning and Evaluation, Standards, Codes, Ethics, Strategy and Evaluation, The Philanthropic Sector









#ShiftThePower: the rise of community philanthropy

In this special feature on community philanthropy, alliance proposes 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 – and resulting distortions – of mainstream development. The ‘three-legged stool’ of community philanthropy combines asset development, capacity building and the strengthening of trust between multiple local and external stakeholders. Durable Read more

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Catagories: Resources, The Philanthropic Sector









11 Philanthropic Trends for 2017

The Johnson Center’s applied approach to research, thought leadership, tools, training, data, and analysis reaches across nonprofits, foundations, and the volunteers and staff who lead and support these institutions.  Our leadership is committed to providing trusted guidance for doing good and requires that we remain aware of our contexts and understand how that will influence our sector. To help explore and understand the trends and challenges that inform our work, we are providing brief descriptions of trends we see as both forming and challenging the work of philanthropy.

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Catagories: Resources, The Philanthropic Sector









A Call to Action: Trustee Advocacy to Advance Opportunity for Black Communities in Philanthropy

This Call to Action encourages foundation Trustees to increase the representation of Black leadership among foundations’ staff, vendors, consultants and grantees. It emerges from the Association of Black Foundation’s (ABFE) initiative, “Leverage the Trust”, which promotes the role of Black Trustees in making philanthropy more responsive to Black communities.

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Catagories: The Philanthropic Sector









A Self-reflection Tool for Black Trustees on Foundation Boards

ABFE brings a point of view: Black trustees who sit at tables of power and influence have a unique opportunity to significantly influence outcomes for Black communities by “leveraging the trust” that they hold as trustees. A companion to ABFE’s Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities: A Framework and Agenda for Change, this tool discusses the unique role of Black trustees and opportunities for reflection as they fulfill their roles.  ABFE encourages the use of this tool as a way to make a difference for Black communities.

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Catagories: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Resources, The Philanthropic Sector









ACT NOW! Cover the Bases: 5 Policy Advocacy Approaches Foundations can Support

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

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Catagories: Legal Issues and Laws, Philanthropy's History, Role in Society, The Philanthropic Sector









ACT NOW! In It for the Long Haul: How Funders Can Help Grantees Sustain Long-Term Advocacy

Bolder Advocacy expands on the final capacity areas from the Advocacy Capacity Tool and present skills, knowledge, and practices that can help funders identify organizations’ capacity for sustainability and long-term advocacy: Organizational Commitment to supporting advocacy work, including leadership commitment for, and staff time dedicated to, this work; Organizational fundraising practices that incorporate an understanding of how foundations can support advocacy and that help funders understand how the group can use advocacy to accomplish its mission; Decision-making structure and process that allows the organization to make timely and well informed decisions related to public policy advocacy; and Fiscal management practices Read more

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Catagories: Beyond the Grant, Grantmaking and Changemaking, Legal Issues and Laws, The Philanthropic Sector









Benchmarking Foundation Evaluation Practices

For foundations, there are lots of questions to reflect on when thinking about which evaluation practices best align with their strategy, culture, and mission. How much should a foundation invest in evaluation? What can they do to ensure that the information they receive from evaluation is useful to them? With whom should they share what they have learned? Considering these numerous questions in light of benchmarking data about what other foundations are doing can be informative and important. Developed in partnership with the Center for Evaluation Innovation (CEI), Benchmarking Foundation Evaluation Practicesis the most comprehensive data collection effort to date Read more

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Catagories: Organization Learning and Evaluation , Standards, Codes, Ethics, Strategy and Evaluation, The Philanthropic Sector









Better Together: Realizing the Promise of Collaboration in Family Philanthropy

Unique challenges arise, and unique opportunities open up, when family donors get involved in collaborative work in philanthropy. This report explores those special challenges and opportunities, and offers a set of recommendations for how to realize the promise of working better together. The insights here are based primarily on in-depth dialogues about family philanthropy collaboration that occurred during the third National Summit on Family Philanthropy, held in New York City in June, 2015, and hosted by the Dorothy A. Johnson Center on Philanthropy.

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Catagories: Resources, The Philanthropic Sector









Big Issues, Many Questions

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.

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Philanthropy's History, Role in Society, Strategy and Evaluation, The Philanthropic Sector









Equity: is Your Foundation Ready to Invest in Building Opportunity for All?

Research shows that one of the greatest impediments to a prosperous future for all of Michigan’s people is unequal access to resources. To help foundation leaders and their boards begin essential conversations about marginalized populations and determine the extent to which their organization’s culture and grantmaking practices are aligned with a commitment to expanding opportunity in the communities they serve, CMF developed this discussion guide and self-assessment.

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Catagories: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Models and Approaches, Resources, The Philanthropic Sector









Families Funding Change

Social justice grantmaking is an important part of many family foundations’ strategies. These foundations use their reputation and financial capital for systemic reform by funding work such as nonprofit advocacy, community organizing and civic engagement. Yet, many family foundations also encounter hurdles when they consider a shift to strategic social justice giving.

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Catagories: Models and Approaches, Resources, The Philanthropic Sector









Grantmaking in the South: An Opportunity to Support Equity and Resilience

NCRP’s Ryan Schlegel interviewed Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation’s executive director Justin Maxson and network officer Lavastian Glenn about philanthropy in the South. Among the topics they discussed: foundations’ support for social change in the South, how to strengthen partnerships between Southern and national funders, and what has changed in the South since Lavastian authored an article in the summer 2013 edition of Responsive Philanthropy.

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Catagories: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Resources, The Philanthropic Sector









Guiding Principles and Effective Practices for Connecticut Grantmakers

Guiding Principles and Effective Practices for Connecticut Grantmakers is a concise resource listing eight guiding principles for Connecticut grantmaker accountability and suggested effective practices. The Connecticut Council’s Board of Directors offers these Guiding Principles and Effective Practices to its members and other Connecticut funders to articulate a shared commitment to excellence and to serve as a guide for Connecticut funders as we pursue our missions. CCP recognizes that there are different ways to implement each of the Guiding Principles and offers suggestions for effective practices that can be adopted or adapted to best suit your organization.  More information on implementing these Read more

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Catagories: Resources, Standards, Codes, Ethics, The Philanthropic Sector









How Does Your Community Foundation’s Public Policy Work Stack Up?

Across the country, community foundations are recognizing the power of public
 policy work to advance their missions. Some do so by awarding grants for advocacy activities like public education and research. Others support nonprofits to lobby. And many others engage in advocacy themselves by taking positions on issues they care about. How many actions to support advocacy has your foundation taken? Tally up your score and scroll to the end for explanations.

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Legal Issues and Laws, Strategy and Evaluation, The Philanthropic Sector









Investing in Change: The Importance of Supporting Advocacy

When a foundation gives money directly to a program that provides community services, the impact is seen immediately: low-income children receive a new educational program or a charity hospital can provide health care to individuals in need. Supporting advocacy is a little different. The impact may be harder to see and measure at first, but changes in public policy are often a precursor to the meaningful, long-term success vital to tackling larger community challenges. Supporting advocacy is, quite simply, one of the most powerful tools available to foundations for creating change.

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Catagories: Legal Issues and Laws, The Philanthropic Sector









Making Big Bets for Social Change

Donors feel this “aspiration gap” in their philanthropy. For the last 16 years, The Bridgespan Group has counseled more than 50 of the world’s most generous and ambitious philanthropists. Many have said some version of “I can’t find enough opportunities to put large amounts of my money to work on the issues I really want to change.” They’ve spent years searching for such defining opportunities; they’re deeply frustrated; and they’re worried that they’re not making nearly the difference they could. Is their frustration warranted? Would more big bets really make a big difference? If the answer is “Yes” to both Read more

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Catagories: Resources, The Philanthropic Sector









March 2017 issue | Philanthropy scholarship and practice – bridging the divide

Be sure to keep an eye out for the March issue of Alliance magazine as it looks at the ways in which we can bridge the gap between philanthropy scholarship and practice. As philanthropic studies gain speed and popularity in universities and academic programs around the world, we attempt to explain why studying philanthropy is important and how much priority should be given to informing policy and practice. Guest edited by Marta Rey-Garcia of Spain’s Coruna University, the issue answers some of the key questions that arise when philanthropy scholarship moves into practice and provides a detailed account of philanthropy’s growing Read more

Catagories: ACADEMIC CENTERS AND ASSOCIATIONS, PUBLICATIONS, The Philanthropic Sector









Moving Beyond Job Creation: Defining and Measuring the Creation of Quality Jobs

Since the end of the Great Recession, almost 12 million jobs have been created — but most have been in low-wage occupations and at places like strip malls and fast-food restaurants. Average wages for working Americans have dropped 23 percent. It’s become clear that job creation does not equate to lasting economic change. In order to reverse the troubling trends we’re seeing, we no longer find it defensible to focus on job creation alone. We must shift our focus to the creation of higher quality jobs that are good for workers and their families, good for businesses, and good for communities. Through a better understanding of Read more

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Catagories: Models and Approaches, Resources, The Philanthropic Sector









Moving Philanthropy from the Margins to the Center

This article is adapted from the book Philanthropy in Democratic Societies.[1] 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

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Catagories: Philanthropy's History, Role in Society, Resources, The Philanthropic Sector









Overcoming Hidden Barriers to Board Diversity and Inclusion

Most nonprofit boards understand the potential benefits of board diversity and inclusion, yet many struggle to fulfill the promise offered. This resource provides two fictional case studies designed to highlight the mistakes boards can make when attempting to diversify. By explaining solutions to the problems illustrated in the case studies, this resource can help nonprofit boards grow more conscious and thoughtful about building an inclusive and diverse body.

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Catagories: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Foundation Management, Human Resources Management, The Philanthropic Sector









Participate: The Power of Involving Business in Social Impact Networks

If you are involved in a collective effort to address a large-scale social challenge and are wondering how companies could play a meaningful role, this handbook is for you. It is a companion to ENGAGE: How Funders Can Support and Leverage Networks for Social Impact, a resource for philanthropic funders considering whether a social impact network might be the right investment; and if so, what kind of network to engage with, and what role to play. Building on that guidance, this handbook focuses on the particular models for building social impact networks that engage the private sector. Why would a Read more

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Catagories: Models and Approaches, Resources, The Philanthropic Sector









Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2017

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

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Catagories: Philanthropy's History, Role in Society, Resources, The Philanthropic Sector









Program-Related Investment Rules for Private Foundations

This free (and fun) video resource defines and helps the user understand the basic legal rules for program-related investments.  The video guides the user through the PRI process, and discusses how these investments can support the organization’s programmatic work and/or expand the organization’s charitable work. The training features “Maya,” a program officer that helps participants through the course in a way that reflects actual experiences. Participants can return to the training at any time for a refresher and click on the individual modules to refer back to specific topics.

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Catagories: Models and Approaches, Resources, The Philanthropic Sector









The Future of Foundation Philanthropy: The CEO Perspective

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

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Philanthropy's History, Role in Society, Strategy and Evaluation, The Philanthropic Sector









The Road to Achieving Equity 12 Findings from a Field Scan of Foundations That Are Embracing Equity

Over the past few years, equity has emerged as a key issue in American society, described as the “defining issue of our time” by authors and speakers in various fields. In the first half of 2016, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation asked Putnam Consulting Group to conduct a field scan to learn how other foundations are working to incorporate equity — both in their internal operations and in their grantmaking. We conducted 30 conversations with staff leaders at 15 foundations considered by their peers to be on the forefront in embracing equity.

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Catagories: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Resources, Standards, Codes, Ethics, The Philanthropic Sector









What Does Community Philanthropy Look Like? Case Studies on Community Philanthropy — Volume 1

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.

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Catagories: Field/Sector Learning and Evaluation , Philanthropy's History, Role in Society, Strategy and Evaluation, The Philanthropic Sector









Why Advocacy? Talking Points for Nonprofits and Foundations

Advocacy is an important tool to help an organization advance its mission. You know that and we know that, but perhaps you need some help convincing colleagues or board members that engaging in advocacy is essential for your organization. Recently, Bolder Advocacy Legal Director Abby Levine conducted a series of webinars in conjunction with the Stand for Your Mission (SFYM) campaign. The first webinar focuses on the importance of advocacy and makes the case for why and how organizations can benefit by standing up for their mission.

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Catagories: Legal Issues and Laws, The Philanthropic Sector