KIDS COUNT Data Center

FavoriteKIDS COUNT is a national and state-by-state project of the Casey Foundation to track the status of children in the United States. By providing foundations, policymakers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being, KIDS COUNT seeks to enrich local, state, and national discussions of ways to secure better futures for all children. 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book

Equitable Participatory Civics in “Millenial” Times — Why Knowledge Matters to Structural Change

FavoriteFast-paced; Information and technology rich; Institutional lite; High stakes; Quick mobilization; Decentralized voice and action; Multi-tasked to the max. Whether we are millennials by generation or not, this is our contemporary context. This is where civic sector leaders live. This is also where equity and change approaches often die amidst what feels like strategy overload – the constant flow of “new” ideas, packaged models, and ready-made techniques. Colleagues often ask me why I say knowledge instead of learning. In this article, I discuss the difference and share why knowledge is actually the key element in addressing structural inequity. If we Read more

NYU Professional Pathways – Grantmaking Courses

FavoriteNYU School of Professional Studies Professional Pathways Career Advancement Courses afford students the opportunity to build upon their current professional insights, while differentiating themselves by acquiring knowledge in areas of specialty. Choose from a broad range of topic and subtopic areas below and acquire the skills that set you apart as you position yourself for growth and reinvigorate your career. Benefit from the connections you forge with professional peers, instructors who are industry experts, and guest lecturers. Courses also are available for personal enrichment as well as for those who are post career and who wish to pursue a path Read more

PCI: A Reflective Evaluation Framework for Systems Change

FavoriteThis article explores the interconnected dimensions of the PCI Reflective Evaluation Framework, an approach now in prototype form which is grounded in practical thinking about working within complex social systems. This article focuses on its use in advancing racial equity, describing possible applications to integrate a racial equity lens in unpacking and addressing the complexity of systemic change. The framework is intended to help communities use evaluation to sustain their efforts to achieve racial equity and other systemic change goals that involve fundamental shifts in the underlying assumptions and values on which a social system is built.

cover image philanthropy's reflective practices

Philanthropy’s Reflective Practices — Build What You Bring to the Work

FavoriteHow do skilled philanthropy practitioners navigate challenging situations in their work to get to meaningful connections and good outcomes? Interviews with dozens of them reveal a common ingredient: they each use reflective practices to help them observe, make sense of and adjust their behaviors. Our new guide focuses on four of these practices. Use this guide to learn about four reflective practices and start a conversation about how to bring reflective practices into your own organization. Philanthropy’s Reflective Practices is a project of The Giving Practice, the national consulting firm of Philanthropy Northwest. Learn more about us at

The Water of Systems Change

FavoriteThis article from John Kania, Mark Kramer, and Peter Senge, aims to clarify what it means to shift the conditions holding problems in place and provides an actionable model for those interested in creating systems change. Through defining the 6 conditions of systems change and highlighting organizations that are shifting systems, the article explores: How systemic conditions perpetuate inequity and reinforce racism, sexism, or ableism. The critical need for foundations to focus on changing relationships and connections, power dynamics, and mental models in their work. How foundations can build the capacity to support systems change internally and externally.

Developmental Evaluation of a Collective Impact Initiative: Insights for Foundations

FavoriteKey Points The 2011 publication of John Kania and Mark Kramer’s influential paper, “Collective Impact,” caught the attention of organizations across sectors, including nonprofit organizations and philanthropies. The Colorado Health Foundation was one of the organizations that saw the potential of collective impact to help tackle the state’s complex, systems-level health issues. This article describes a collective impact initiative and the role that developmental evaluation – and a realist framework – played in aiding both the initiative’s steering committee and the Colorado Health Foundation in making decisions about the initiative’s accomplishments and future. The article highlights the developmental evaluation approach, Read more

Less Is More: How Grantmakers Are Using Simple Financial Metrics

FavoriteKey Points This article explores how the Financial Health Analysis Tool can bridge the gap between the capacity of grantmakers to conduct financial analysis and the need to incorporate financial considerations into both grantmaking and ongoing engagement with grantees. The tool presents four years of key financial indicators in graphs and charts that create a kind of dashboard of a nonprofit’s financial health over time. This small set of simple metrics highlights patterns and trends that can help grantmakers and nonprofits see how the financial management of an organization is advancing its mission and strategy. Using a series of interviews Read more

Cricket Island Foundation: A Case Study of a Small Foundation’s Impact Assessment

FavoriteKey Points In 2015, the Cricket Island Foundation conducted a multimethod assessment of its grantmaking portfolio to examine its impact and inform future decision-making and strategy. The foundation, which supports youth-led social change using a cohort-based model, focuses on emerging and medium-sized organizations and provides capacity-building supports to help organizations achieve greater organizational sustainability. The assessment focused on two of the foundation’s three cohorts and found positive trends in five key areas of desired impact: organizational capacity, youth leadership, nonprofit executive leadership, grantee collaboration and learning, and funder policy and practice. The assessment also identified areas for improvement to strengthen Read more

Partner-Centered Evaluation Capacity Building: Findings From a Corporate Social Impact Initiative

FavoriteKey Points Funders can play a proactive role in helping to fill the gap between funders’ expectations and nonprofits’ ability to evaluate grant results. Using a partner-centered design, Johnson & Johnson piloted an evaluation capacity-building initiative that supported eight grantees in strengthening their ability to measure and use findings concerning health-related outcomes, by focusing on key evaluation challenges identified by the grantees. Grantees’ approaches to capacity building naturally grouped around the areas of evaluation- framework development, data-systems strengthening, and staff training. Through individualized projects, grantees increased their ability to both do and use evaluation. This article describes the design, implementation, Read more

The Alliance magazine June 2018 issue – Philanthropy’s Developers

FavoriteThis issue is devoted to philanthropy’s developers – the people, organisations and networks central to the growth and development of philanthropy worldwide. Whether that’s data and research, advice and consulting, training, advocacy or representation, there’s an essential and vibrant but under-appreciated eco-system of philanthropy support worldwide. In our special feature, Alliance editor, Charles Keidan and guest editors, Benjamin Bellegy and Maria Chertok offer a new and change-oriented vision for the future development of the field. The feature includes views from leading funders about why infrastructure matters, as well as discussion of the impact of tech, and the need for better data, collaboration and Read more

NCFP’s Family Philanthropy Knowledge Center

FavoriteThese free resources are a sample of what’s available in NCFP’s Family Philanthropy Knowledge Center, the premier source of information and inspiration for family philanthropy. Our 24-hour digital library puts thousands of resources at your fingertips—discussion papers, sample policies, assessment tools, webinar replays and much more.

NNCG’s Knowledge Center

FavoriteNNCG’s Knowledge Center is a searchable, online database of resources for and about grantmaking, produced by highly qualified and experienced philanthropy consultants. NNCG’s Knowledge Center contains a wealth of reports, case studies, infographics, issue briefs, videos and more that offer ideas, research and helpful information about almost every aspect of philanthropy. Each item was authored or published by an NNCG member.

Roadblock Analysis Report

FavoriteIn 2017, Open Road conducted an analysis of 102 applications from the past five years to assess trends in its portfolio. The analysis looked at multiple variables, including the size of the organization, project type, sector focus, geographic focus, legal status, and type of original funder. The analysis also coded each application under a taxonomy of “roadblocks” that describe 22 specific challenges that these organizations faced, divided into three broad categories: Organization Misfortune, Acts of God/Market Economics, and Funder-Created Obstacles. The findings from this multivariable roadblock analysis provide the first-ever empirical dataset on “what goes wrong” in impact focused projects Read more