keeping a close eye on philanthropy … NCRP’s blog

What If Foundations Applied to Nonprofits?

posted on: January 23, 2015

scaleThe United States boasts approximately 86,000 foundations (grantmakers) and 1.5 million nonprofits (grant recipients). Given the classic principle of supply and demand, there’s an obvious power dynamic that favors foundations.

However, what if – all other things being equal – the numbers switched? What if there were only 86,000 nonprofits and 1.5 million foundations? If that were the case, I can think of at least seven major changes:

(1)    Nonprofits would send requests-for-proposals (RFPs) to foundations.

We would operate in a grant-seekers market. Consequently, nonprofit executive directors and development directors would design requests for proposals for foundations. Nonprofits would not have the capacity to use the massive funding available, so development directors would have to be selective and reject most

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Philanthropy’s Role in Repairing Oppression: A Case Study in the Wake of Keepseagle v. Vilsack

posted on: January 21, 2015

KeepseagleThe roughly $7.9 billion injected by grantmakers into underserved communities each year has incredible positive impacts on the lives of those with the least wealth, opportunity and power. But what is philanthropy’s role in repairing a specific injustice? Can philanthropy contribute to an effort to make targeted recompense for measured, documented oppression?

In 2011, Keepseagle v. Vilsack successfully claimed the USDA discriminated against Native farmers and ranchers in the adjudication and distribution of federal loans. It was, sadly, a textbook case of racialized inequity: For decades, the federal agency responsible for distributing money to support farmers and ranchers systematically discouraged Native Americans from applying for loans. It also denied loans to Native farmers that were awarded to white farmers in

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Call for Foundation Nominations: 2015 NCRP Impact Awards

posted on: January 15, 2015

Insert-IA-imageThe National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy invites you to nominate foundations for the 2015 NCRP Impact Awards, the most prestigious recognition for high-impact philanthropy.

Send us foundations that demonstrate exemplary grantmaking, leadership in philanthropy and commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity. You can read more about our nominations process, which will be open until February 6, on our website.


Now in its third year, the 2015 NCRP Impact Awards will honor four foundations in four categories: Large Private Foundation, Small/Midsize Foundation, Corporate Foundation and Grantmaking Public Charity. The awardees and their impactful work will be celebrated at a reception on Tuesday, May 19, during the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s Conference in San Francisco.

In 2013,

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GAO, EO and the IRS: The Government’s Role in Nonprofit Accountability

posted on: January 13, 2015

MonopolyThe impact of the nonprofit sector on our economy and the wellbeing of our citizens is clear. Last month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on the IRS’s supervision of nonprofits that showed as much as 5 percent of the country’s GDP is generated by tax-exempt organizations, which the government “increasingly relies on … to provide critical services.” At a time when social services are on shaky legislative and financial ground, more individuals and families are turning to nonprofits to make ends meet, and consequently more money – both private and public – is flowing through nonprofit coffers and into the economy.

The IRS confers tax-exempt status on nonprofits because of their special position in society: they do

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NCRP’s Ten Most-Shared Blog Posts in 2014

posted on: January 9, 2015

TwitterNCRP had a busy 2014, with the launch of our Philamplify initiative, the second annual NCRP Impact Awards, a lively conference presentation schedule and new reports and publications. As we settle into 2015, here are the blog posts that have resonated most with our readers. Below are the ten most-shared NCRP blog posts in 2014, highlighting the values we and our friends in the philanthropic sector have in common:

10. Stakeholder Engagement: Still a Philanthropic Learning Curve

August 5, 2014: NCRP’s director of foundation assessment Lisa Ranghelli discussed the continued need for stakeholder engagement, looking through the lens of a recent GEO report and NCRP’s Philamplify project.

9. Diversity and Effectiveness: What Is the Link for Foundations?

October 30,

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Transparency in Philanthropy: Get On Board or Get Run Over

posted on: January 6, 2015

trainThis post first appeared in Nonprofit Quarterly on December 22, 2014. It is the third in a series of articles based on insights and lessons from Philamplify, NCRP’s new initiative combining expert assessments with stakeholder feedback to help improve the effectiveness and impact of our country’s foundations.

Is there a place for secrecy and anonymity in philanthropy? Some argue that there probably should be a place for anonymous giving and for privacy when setting and executing grantmaking strategy. Even if I agreed with them, it has become clear to me that secrecy isn’t really possible anymore. Technology and a shift in societal expectations have completely changed the game. Gone are the days when foundations and other donors could operate quietly

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7 New Year’s Resolutions for Foundations to Strengthen the Nonprofit Sector

posted on: December 31, 2014

NewYearsThis post originally appeared on January 7, 2014.

As we all return to work after the winter holidays, many of us have likely made resolutions that we think will help us improve our lives.

Resolutions are important to us personally and they are also important for the nonprofit sector. As we start our myriad endeavors for 2014, now is the time for philanthropy to consider making some resolutions that will bolster our sector and empower grantees in implementing the important work they do to improve the lives of those with the least wealth, opportunity and power.

In Smashing Silos in Philanthropy: Multi-Issue Advocacy and Organizing for Real Results, we showed how truly strategic grantmakers look to the entire ecosystem

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