KIDS COUNT Data Center

KIDS 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

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DONORS: 5 Things Nonprofits Want You to Know

With support from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, we are broadening the scope of our knowledge resources to apply insights to large donors who are giving significantly to support nonprofit causes. We believe that some of our data-driven insights on effectiveness are not particular to foundations, but are broadly applicable and useful regardless of the structure that major donors use for their giving. Donors: 5 Things Nonprofits Want You to Know is CEP’s first resource to bring those data-driven insights to this new audience. For this resource, we looked at what CEP has heard through candid, anonymous feedback from more than Read more

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Journey to Creative Placemaking: Lessons and Insights

Reflections, learnings and insights on Creative Placemaking are shared in this series of white papers from The Kresge Foundation’s Arts & Culture team in concert with partners from different fields and sectors for grantmakers and practitioners working to fully integrate arts and culture with community development and urban planning practices. The first paper, Kresge’s Arts & Culture Program, the First Decade, was posted in January, 2018, and subsequent papers will be posted throughout the year. Topics include: Kresge’s journey to creative placemaking Creative Placemaking on-the-ground impacts Creative Placemaking field observations Catalyzing Culture and Community Through community development finance institutions (CDFIs) Anchor strategies  

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How Community Philanthropy Shifts Power: What Donors Can Do to Help Make That Happen

This paper is for donors looking for ways to ensure that our interventions produce lasting results that are owned and directed by the people they are meant to benefit. It offers practical advice and examples based on the experiences of a variety of different donors, as well as some thoughts on how we donors can do more to share and shift power while fulfilling our own institutional oversight and accountability requirements.

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As the South Grows

In its As the South Grows series of reports, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) and its partner Grantmakers for Southern Progress (GSP) have begun exploring the challenges and opportunities to increase equity in Southern communities. Foundations, as the data and others’ lived experience demonstrates, have for too long neglected funding the most promising structural change strategies in the South. As the South Grows is an attempt to examine the reasons for that neglect and to propose solutions.  

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Scaling Solutions Toward Shifting Systems

This report, produced by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in collaboration with the Skoll, Porticus, Ford and Draper Richards Kaplan Foundations, examines how funders can work in more collaborative ways to place longer-term, adaptive and responsive resources to accelerate scalable solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

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Keys to Collaboration

The report presents best practices for cross-sector collaboration as well as notes for funders interested in cultivating this type of work.

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Change Incubator Story — What Are Some Whys and Hows of Grantee Inclusion?

One of the goals of this program is for the participants to share their experiences with the broader field. See what grantmakers have learned while developing strategies, particularly as it relates to the principles, practices and benefits of grantmaker-grantee partnerships.

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The Challenges Grantmakers Face in Supporting Technology

This article covers why and how technology often gets short changed, the planning knowledge and skill nonprofits need in order to thrive with technology, and what is needed for grantmakers to support nonprofits with technology. 

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Community Leadership Video Catalogue

Browse the CFLeads Video Catalogue on Community Leadership Hear stories that demonstrate community leadership in action by leaders in the community foundation field. We hope these videos inspire, motivate and challenge you in your own practice of community leadership.

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A Resilient Power Capital Scan

This report, one in a series of reports by Clean Energy Group and Meridian Institute on advancing resilient power in low-income communities, seeks to address how foundations can best develop a portfolio of capital interventions—from grants to impact investments— that together would successfully scale up the solar+storage/resilient power market to benefit low-income populations and to advance their missions. It provides a capital scan of foundation opportunities and actions to guide foundation financial support for this market.

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Capital and Collaboration – Strengthening Community Investment in Smaller, Postindustrial Cities

To better understand the system of community investment, and with the hope of developing interventions that would permit it to achieve greater scale, efficiency, and impact, the authors developed a framework they called “capital absorption.” This work offers potential routes forward for understanding and addressing need in low- and moderate-income communities in postindustrial cities throughout New England.

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Capital and Collaboration – An In-Depth Look at the Community Investment System in Massachusetts Working Cities

This publication presents the work of the Capital & Collaboration Initiative, a cross-sector effort designed to increase the scale, efficiency and impact of investments in Massachusetts cities of more than 35,000 people (excluding Boston.) The initiative has identified several cross-cutting priority areas for action that are important to achieving their broader goal of transformative change.

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Getting Out of Our Own Way for Greater Impact

In these demanding times, effective grantmaking is more important than ever. Join Kris Putnam-Walkerly, experienced philanthropy advisor and author of Confident Giving, in this webinar to surface and break through the bad habits and well-intended follies that stand between our work and greater impact, including: Moving away from scarcity-based approaches to foundation management Cutting out unnecessary complexity and bureaucratic waste, and Reforming processes that unintentionally disrespect our grantees

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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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Financial Inclusion – Opportunities and Risks for Donors

People living in poverty often lack access to safe, reliable ways to manage the little money they have. As a result, they face de facto exclusion from the financial system the rest of us rely on. To address this problem, a unique philanthropic project, funded by the Gates Foundation and led by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and Bankable Frontier Associates, formed partnerships with five large banks in the developing world. The approach was straightforward: research and implement new approaches to providing poor people with the financial tools they deserve. This philanthropic-public-private collaboration focused on sustainable financial inclusion—developing savings accounts that could Read more

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Integrated Transactions: An Emerging Focus For Community Development

This paper examines development models that intentionally integrate elements from two or more sectors, the capital challenges inherent in such projects, and the unique role that CDFIs and philanthropy play in overcoming those challenges. This paper focuses on neighborhood-level efforts that go beyond single sector investments that are emerging through partnerships and collaboratives working to deliver community driven solutions. Includes case studies.  

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Pennies for Progress

This report follows the success of foundations during the great recession in 2008. The study found that in the decade that ended in 2013, foundation support for America’s marginalized communities grew just 5 percent as a share of all grantmaking. All this raises the question: Where did the increase in foundation grantmaking – over $6 billion – go if not to benefit the poor, communities of color, immigrants, women and girls, and other underserved communities? Where did that $6 billion go if not to strategies that affect long-term change?

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Designing Technical-Assistance Programs: Considerations for Funders and Lessons Learned

Funders use technical assistance (TA) to expand organizations’ capacity, identify solutions to problems, and develop strategies for long-term change. In this article, the authors document considerations for funders in developing strong TA programs, based on their evaluations of two state-based TA programs.

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Framework for Connecticut’s Statewide System of Early Childhood State and Local Partnerships

The report, Framework for Connecticut’s Statewide System of Early Childhood State and Local Partnerships, concludes with a set of recommendations for Connecticut Leaders to consider in creating a statewide network of local or regional early care and education partnerships.

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PIMBY: Philanthropy in My Back Yard

NCRP’s recent webinar, “PIMBY: Philanthropy in My Back Yard” connects the Kresge Foundation, the subject of a recent Philamplify report, to the practice of place-based grantmaking, and discusses how foundation investment in communities is a prime strategy for long-term success.  

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Lending, Learning, Leading

This report tells the story of the CDFI Leadership Learning Network, a Casey Foundation initiative to equip leaders of community development finance institutions with the tools of results-based leadership (RBL).

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ENGAGE How Funders Can Support and Leverage Networks for Social Impact

This guide was designed to aid any foundation grantmaker who is considering whether to engage with a social impact network and what that engagement might involve. It is organized to step the reader through a range of key questions to consider as in the course of exploring how engaging with a network might play a role in his or her work.

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Building a Culture of Capitalization in Your Organization

Arts organizations interested in building the strength of their balance sheets will find advice here for making a capitalization plan, fundraising for different kinds of capital, and implementing new capitalization practices.

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Investing in Community Change: An Evaluation of a Decade of Data-Driven Grantmaking

In 2014, the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation engaged The Reinvestment Fund and Success Measures at NeighborWorks America to jointly evaluate the impact of its grantmaking and related programs from 2003 to 2013, to determine if practices in its approach could be transferred to other regions, and to assess its influence in the field.

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Cultivating Nonprofit Leadership: A (Missed?) Philanthropic Opportunity

This report offers five actionable recommendations for grantmakers to boost investment in current and future leaders of social justice movements.

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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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Risk in Philanthropy: A Framework for Evaluation

To help both grantmakers and NGOs better identify, assess, mitigate, and plan for risk in their portfolios, Open Road Alliance offers the following framework for evaluating risk. This brief framework is designed to provide grantmakers and NGOs with tools to conceptualize and describe risk and its implications within the scope of their philanthropic work.

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Three Key Roles Funders Can Play in a CEO Transition

Nonprofit leadership transitions can have a big impact on organizations and their staff. Here are three areas that are particulary ripe for involvement by funders when an organization loses its top leader.

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Collective Impact Forum

This is the place for those practicing collective impact to find the tools, resources, and advice they need. It’s a network of individuals coming together to share experience and knowledge to accelerate the effectiveness and adoption of collective impact.

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Who Manages the Money?: How Foundations Can Democratize Capital

A case study examines how the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has begun to utilize diverse investment managers in partnership with Progress Investment Management Company.

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Financial Stewardship

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Beldon Fund Programs and Strategies

BELDON’S GRANT MAKING PROGRAMS Beldon made long-term grants in two program areas: Key States and Human Health and the Environment. A third program, the Discretionary Fund, allowed the foundation to take quick advantage of policy opportunities or respond to new environmental threats. It also provided a way to fund cross-program advocacy tools and activities. GRANT MAKING STRATEGIES With only ten years to help environmental advocates shift from playing defense to positioning themselves to win policy victories, Beldon developed three main strategies: Build Capacity and Clout Support Civic Engagement Broaden the Base of Support GRANT MAKING PRINCIPLES Beldon’s program work was guided Read more

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Do More Than Give

To create lasting social change, it’s not enough to award funding to great grantees. Donors must become active participants in the change effort. The book, Do More Than Give, outlines six practices that are found across high-impact foundations, corporations, and individuals of all sizes and budgets. Download a free copy of the first chapter here.

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Creating Shared Value

Creating shared value involves value creation for business that simultaneously yields more profit and greater social impact, resulting in powerful transformations and opportunities for growth and innovation in both business and society. The concept of creating shared value focuses on the connections between societal and economic progress, and has the potential to unleash the next wave of global growth and competitive advantage.

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Community Leadership Publications

Leading works that are contributing to the practice of community leadership by community foundations.

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Lessons in Funder Collaboration: What the Packard Foundation Has Learned about Working with Other Funders

For decades, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation has worked with other funders to solve complex social problems. Recently, The Bridgespan Group helped the Foundation take stock of what it can learn from its many collaborations. This report shares our findings, including five collaborative models Packard uses and factors that raise the chances of a collaboration’s success. Other funders will find the Packard experiences instructive as they consider their own collaborations. Reading time 3 min.

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Bridging Silos, Improving Systems

Systems that provide services to children tend to operate in silos; foundations can play a role in helping bridge these silos by supporting “systems building” efforts. This article explores the challenges and lessons learned in systems building work. Educating grantees and other community members about systems and systems building is a critical first step in the process. Supporting systems building requires an iterative process and foundations should continuously reinforce the importance of systems building activities.

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Dimensions of Change: A Model for Community Change Efforts

The Dimension of Change Model (DOCM), developed by the authors, is offered as a potentially useful tool for foundations, government, bodies, consultants, coalitions, and even individual organizations that are initiating or engaged in substantive efforts to bring about community change.

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The Donor-Grantee Trap

How ineffective collaboration undermines philanthropic results for society, and what can be done about it.

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Sustainability Is Made, Not Born: Enhancing Program Sustainability Through Reflective Grantmaking

This article explores how reflective grantmaking can lead to enduring changes in the communities that foundations serve.

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Social Movements and Philanthropy: How Foundations Can Support Movement Building

Foundations can fund movements, not create them. This paper provides a framework for supporting and evaluating movement building.

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Beyond the Grant: How the W. K. Kellogg Foundation Went Beyond Grantmaking to Contribute to a Major Early Childhood Initiative

The W. K. Kellogg Foundation’s SPARK initiative sought to link the pre-kindergarten and school worlds as a way to position vulnerable children for greater success in the early grades. The initiative was also the foundation’s first attempt at a large scale initiative with an explicit changemaker role. This article describes the challenges for the foundation of adopting this approach.

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Constructing Collaborative Success for Network Learning: The Story of the Discovery Community Self-Assessment Tool

This article shares a story of the development and initial use of the Discovery Community Self-Assessment Tool as a process of social construction critical to collective action and a possible indicator of network learning.  

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Learning From an Adaptive-Consultative Approach: One Foundation’s Experience in Creating Systems Change in Education

This article describes a creative relationship between the Ball Foundation and the Rowland Unified School District. The Ball Foundation observed that grantees who had a closer relationship with them were more successful than those who had a more traditional relationship. The adaptive approach they adopted requires both the funder and the grantee to be committed to learning and adapting strategies as needed to respond to both results and changing contexts.

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Leveraging Social Networks in Direct Services: Are Foundations Doing All They Can?

Services to those living in poverty or suffering from other challenges are increasing provided by highly educated specialists. Although much is known about the importance of social networks, foundations can inadvertently undermine these important. By focusing on building and supporting social networks, foundations can deepen and sustain the impact of their funding.

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Peer Networking and Community Change: Improving Foundation Practice

This article synthesizes two studies of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s peer-networking efforts. The research indicates that peer networking can have significant impact for communities and in meeting philanthropic goals, but it is costly and must be carefully structured if it is to be successful. The authors identify “time, trust and truth” as the bedrock of successful peer networking.

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Factors Influencing Donor Partnership Effectiveness

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) produced six case studies on jointly funded programs related to the environment, global health, and information technologies in developing regions around the world. A two-dimensional tool probing eight factors that influence donor (funder) partnership performance and interinstitutional communication was developed and used in conjunction with a Partnering Process Model to guide the preparation of the case studies. Among the factors considered (history of the partnerships, level of commitment, decision-making, etc.), communications among donors and within IDRC was the most important variable related to success of the partnerships.

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Foundation Readiness for Community Transformation: Learning in Real Time

This article describes the internal structures and processes adopted by The Skillman Foundation to support the iterative practice of “learning and doing” in the first phase of a rapidly evolving, ambitious community change enterprise in six Detroit neighborhoods. The foundation created a “learning team” that used a program logic model and other evaluation and learning mechanisms to foster ongoing candid discussion and build capacity to work in new ways. Although it is still a work in progress, logic model thinking is leading to greater clarity about the activities and intended results.

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Scope, Scale, and Sustainability: What It Takes to Create Lasting Community Change

This paper examines 11 comprehensive community initiatives to better understand how these complex efforts can reach the scope, scale, and sustainability needed to achieve lasting community change. While there has been a fair amount of discussion in the field about what has not worked, there has been less analysis of the specific practices, approaches, and mechanisms that do lead to success. This paper looks at those success factors as they relate specifically to the ability of a comprehensive community initiative to achieve the scope and scale required to generate community-level outcomes and to sustain those positive impacts over time.

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Philanthropy’s Civic Role in Community Change

This article identifies six types of “civic” or “non-programmatic” work that the CCI field, including many participants in the Living Cities network, can undertake in order to carry out a comprehensive neighborhood change agenda. Throughout the article, there is an emphasis that doing this kind of work demands that foundations, intermediaries, and community-based organizations adopt important new roles and practices. Particular focus is on the civic roles that foundations play in order to highlight the increasingly activist and strategic way they are deploying their knowledge, networks, credibility, and political capital to advance community change.

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The Art of Community Double Dutch: Knowing When to Jump In

This article uses the childhood experience of learning how to play Double Dutch jump rope as an allegory to navigating complicated community leadership through civic engagement.

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