“How Much is Enough?”

This issue of More than Money, “How Much is Enough?” offers guidance for forming a realistic assessment of your assets. Because there is no objective definition of enough, and because there will always be others who have more. Millionaires and those with far less net worth can share similar anxieties about having enough.

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

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“Partners in Social Change”

This issue, “Partners in Social Change,” of More than Money offers stereotype-busting profiles of rich people who share power and resources and work passionately for the common good. One writer describes becoming a successful businessman specifically so that he would have more money to give away. Others describe the process of donating money and resisting the temptation to become controlling or patronizing of those who receive the resources. Alternative formats for foundations and finding grantors are detailed. Writers describe including spouses as partners, learning activism (or teaching activism) to their partners. A family confronts its political polarity, finding acceptable middle ground on Read more

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“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.

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

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#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

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

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10 Ways Foundations Can Work With the Public Sector

This resource shows how foundations can be potential partners in making public policy.

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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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Alliance Magazine – #ShiftThePower: the rise of community philanthropy

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

Categories: History, Role in Society, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

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Bringing grantmaking in from the cold

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.  

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Building Collaboration From the Inside Out

This publication is focused on building an organization’s collaboration muscles. It offers guidance on steps grantmakers and nonprofits can take to adopt a “collaborative mindset” and align values and practice so they can be better partners in collaboration. It is based on research and interviews with grantmakers, nonprofit leaders, technical assistance providers and thought leaders from 2013 through 2015.

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Community Foundations and Advocacy

This fact sheet shows how community foundations can play an active role in the public sector and can support lobbying, advocate, lobby, and support other election-related activities.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

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Conflicts of Interest at Foundations: Avoiding the Bad and Maintaining the Good

Multiple loyalties can create conflicts of interest. In private foundations, conflicts of interest occur when the financial or personal interests of board members or foundation managers are, or may appear to be, inconsistent with the interests of the foundation. This resource guides board members and foundation managers in defining conflicts of interest, identifying which transactions are absolutely prohibited and which are permissible if properly handled, and developing a conflict-of- interest policy that protects foundations, board members, and foundation managers by taking self interest out of the decision-making process. Additionally, we provide a sample conflict-of-interest policy and disclosure questionnaire.

Categories: The Philanthropic Sector, Standards, Codes, and Ethics, Resources

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Conflicts of Interest at Foundations: Avoiding the Bad and Managing the Good

This publication will guide board members and foundation managers in defining conflicts of interest, identifying which transactions are absolutely prohibited and which are permissible if properly handled, and developing a conflict-of-interest policy that protects foundations, board members, and foundation managers by taking self interest out of the decision-making process. By answering the following five questions and by following the processes recommended in this paper, foundations can minimize legal risks; protect themselves and their board members and foundation managers against bad publicity; and most of all, ensure the integrity of their decision-making process.

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Expert Q & A: Strategic, Emergent, or (fill in the blank) Philanthropy: What’s the Right Approach?

By Dara Major, Principal, Dara Major Philanthropy Consulting Over the last century or so of philanthropic practice, multiple pathways for achieving results have emerged. Two of the most widely adopted  (and most recently debated) are “strategic” and “emergent” philanthropy. Both have deep roots in the field, as well as a range of adherents and even skeptics.  Other approaches in various stages of experimentation, adoption, or rejection include “philanthrocapitalism,” and “venture,” “catalytic,” and “high engagement” philanthropy. What’s a grantmaker to do? Which approach, hybrid, or combination of approaches is right for you/ your program or initiative / your organization?   How can Read more

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Foundations and the SDGs: the ‘conspicuous absentees’ speak out

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

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Foundations for Civic Impact: Advocacy and Civic Engagement Toolkit for Community Foundations

This toolkit is a collaborative project of Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest (CLPI), CFLeads, Council on Foundations and Rockefeller Brothers Fund. It provides provide practical advice and essential knowledge to help community foundations integrate public policy practices into their everyday leadership work to achieve greater community impact.

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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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High Impact Philanthropy Blog: Rethinking the E-Word

The following post was originally published on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog as part of a series exploring the meaning and value of strategic philanthropy. Evidence-based philanthropy. To some, that phrase offers the promise of long-overdue rigor. If the first principle of philanthropy and social impact is to do good, then evidence-based philanthropy ensures that we honor its corollary: Do no harm. To others, that phrase represents all that is going wrong with philanthropy and social innovation—the rise of the ivory-tower theorists and technocrats whose logic models and fixation with metrics blind them to real-world knowledge and common sense. It’s time Read more

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High Impact Philanthropy to Improve Teaching Quality: Focus on High-Need Secondary Students

For donors seeking to improve student outcomes, the critical question is: How can my funds improve teaching quality? This report outlines high impact philanthropic models based on our analysis of available evidence from academic research, expert advice, and practitioner information.

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

This blog asks How many actions to support advocacy has your foundation taken? Tally up your score and scroll to the end for explanations.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

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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. This fact sheet shows how supporting advocacy is, quite simply, one of the most powerful tools available to foundations for creating change.

Categories: Legal Issues and Laws, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

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Leverage the Trust

Leverage the Trust is an effort to identify and engage Black foundation trustees in ABFE’s mission through peer networking and learning opportunities. The work of Leverage the Trust is led by a committee of dedicated trustees of philanthropic institutions that are representative of the diversity of geography, type, and size of grantmaking entities in the sector.

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Lobbying Defined for Private Foundations

This fact sheet explains what activities count as lobbying under federal tax law for private foundations. Under federal tax law, private foundations incur a prohibitive tax on any lobbying expenditures, so it is important for private foundations to know exactly what activities meet the definition of lobbying.

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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

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New Perspectives on Michigan Community Foundations

How can we understand the activity of Michigan community foundations in the context of their local populations? How have Michigan community foundations changed over time? This report begins to explore answers to these two questions, building on a decade of work by the Council of Michigan Foundations and their annual Community Foundation Data Book to offer new insight into community philanthropy across the state. Combining both longitudinal and contextual population data, this report offers new ways to think about community foundation growth and alternative benchmarks for individual community foundation trustees and executive leaders to use in planning and evaluation.

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Pathways to Grow Impact: Philanthropy’s Role in the Journey

This publication shares new learning about the role grantmakers should play. it offers a framework for understanding different approaches to scaling impact, stories from nonprofit leaders who have successfully grown their organizations’ impact, and practical recommendations for grantmakers seeking more effective ways to achieve better results.

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Philanthropy Scholarship and Practice – Bridging the Divide

Philanthropy scholarship has the potential to inform practice and policy so that societal wellbeing is enhanced and positive change achieved. How can we make this happen? This special feature suggests two possibilities and also documents some successful experiences of knowledge transfer that may serve as prototypes for bridging the divide.

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Race Equity and Inclusion Action Guide

Advancing race equity and inclusion can sometimes seem daunting and often leaves many wondering how and where to start. One way to achieve social change in an organization is to incorporate race equity and inclusion at every stage of work. The seven steps in this guide provide a clear framework for undertaking this important work. This tool adds to the resources already created by partners who have been working in the field. It works by demonstrating how a race equity lens can be adopted by foundations or other organizations that work directly with systems, technical assistance providers and communities.

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Smarter Grantmaking in Action: Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City

This GEO blog post shows how the development of the Healthy Communities Leadership Academy has allowed the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City to see more authentic and effective collaboration as well as stronger connections and relationships.

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Stewarding wealth for the common good: how an Asian family office incorporated climate change mitigation into its portfolio

‘From an Asian perspective, climate change is not a distant threat – it is happening today. I want to make sure that the way my capital is invested is part of the solution and not the problem.’ So says Annie Chen, founder of RS Group, a Hong Kong-based family office. Air pollution in Beijing, bushfires in Australia and typhoons in the Philippines underline her remarks. Consequently, RS Group incorporates climate change considerations in all its activities and across asset classes, with the dual goal of contributing to climate change mitigation and ensuring its investment portfolio is fit for the future.

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Strategic or emergent: why are we stuck in the swimming pool?

Responses to John Kania, Mark Kramer and Patty Russell’s ‘Strategic Philanthropy for a Complex World’, published in the summer issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, have come largely from the US and from people who write regularly about philanthropy. Many of them have focused on the way consultants behave and how they interact with foundations and non-profits – in other words, the philanthropy system. We would like to broaden that debate and in doing so to leave the swimming pool and venture out into the sea.

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Taking the Bull by the Horns: Creating a Culture of Community Leadership

In this video from the Community Leadership Video Catalogue, a staff and board team share their perspectives on Spartanburg County Foundation’s transformation from charity to philanthropy.

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The Alliance magazine June issue – Solidarity – more in common?

Solidarity – more in common? ‘We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.’ These were the words of Jo Cox in her maiden speech to the UK Parliament on 3 June 2015. On 16 June 2016, just over one year later, Cox was murdered on her way to a meeting in her constituency. The Alliance special feature, guest edited by King Baudouin Foundation’s Stefan Schäfers, explores the complex and sensitive relationship between philanthropy and solidarity. Jo Cox’s murder was not just an affront to our common humanity but a Read more

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The International Charitable Nonprofit Subsector

Though international nonprofits are just 2 percent of the U.S. charitable nonprofit sector, they have continued to grow in size and scope to meet pressing demands around the world. This policy brief provides a snapshot of the international subsector through an analysis of trends in their size, resources, and scope from FY 2001 to FY 2003 in three major areas of operation: international development and relief assistance, international understanding (e.g., educational exchanges), and international affairs. It gives an overview of the geographic concentrations and the depth of U.S. international nonprofit activities and enumerates the importance of small organizations in international Read more

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The Source Codes of Foundation Culture

This publication begins an exploration into the set of influences shaped by grantmakers’ founders and leaders that affect organizations’ internal cultures. Funders can use this document to support conversations among board and staff to articulate and understand the origins of organizational assumptions, examine beliefs and behaviors, and identify aspects of culture that drive or impede effective work.

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The Women Effect

Try this exercise. When you think ‘women’ and ‘investing’ what do you think about? This piece is going to ask you to think about the ‘women effect’ as a factor across multiple dimensions where ‘women and girls’ and ‘impact investing’ come together. Across all asset classes, and a variety of stakeholders.

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Watch it Now: An Introduction to Integrated Data Systems

This quick video shows how this powerful tool works by linking and leveraging secure information already gathered by public agencies. Participating organizations decide what data to share, where to store this information and how it can be used. This new picture has fewer statistical blind spots, which can help lawmakers and leaders develop smarter policies, programs and strategies for supporting system and community solutions.

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What can philanthropy do for Syria?

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.

Categories: History, Role in Society, The Philanthropic Sector, Resources

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What Is High Impact Philanthropy?

High impact philanthropy means getting the most good for your philanthropic dollar. It is the process by which a philanthropist makes the biggest difference possible, given the amount of capital invested.  

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