keeping a close eye on philanthropy … NCRP’s blog

Reflections on Black History Month As We Look to the Future

posted on: February 26, 2015

PauliMurray_cropAs February comes to a close, we say goodbye to this year’s Black History Month. If you’re on social media, you’ve seen posts each day from friends and organizations highlighting important contributions made by the Black community to our country. For some, these posts serve as a good reminder of the integral role that Blacks have played in the evolution of the United States, and of the inextricable legacy of race and racism we share as a nation. For others, it provides new information that might pique their curiosity to learn more. For example, I’m glad to be reminded of one of my sheroes, the writer Octavia Butler, and the impact her work had on me during a time when

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What’s Your Wish for Philanthropy this World Day of Social Justice?

posted on: February 20, 2015

DSCN0165Today marks World Day of Social Justice, which serves as a reminder for the continued need to make social justice a top priority as we work to improve our world. Since the United Nations established the observance in 2007, February 20 has called attention to a worldwide effort to guarantee “fair outcomes for all through employment, social protection, social dialogue, and fundamental principles and rights at work.”

This perspective must certainly be embraced by the General Assembly’s member states – but it’s a responsibility that goes beyond these governments. NCRP firmly believes that social justice philanthropy is a key ingredient in transformative change. With this in mind, we asked our staff – what is your wish for philanthropy this

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A New Standard: “Get on the Map” and the Urgent Need for Better Data in Philanthropy

posted on: February 12, 2015

Are You On The Map_HIREZMoney is a blunt but essential tool for social change, and it has potent, variable effects on our social and political ecosystems. Philanthropy’s commitment to serving the public good makes it imperative that foundations understand as deeply and specifically as possible whom their investments are serving and how. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to discern the complex impact of the roughly $50 billion spent by our country’s grantmakers each year because data collection and dissemination efforts are struggling to meet the demands of the field. The innovative data-sharing Get on the Map initiative, a partnership between the Foundation Center and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, is an encouraging step toward a better informed, more effective philanthropic sector.


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How Can Philanthropy Support Leaders of Color in the Environmental Movement?

posted on: February 10, 2015

EnvironmentalMovementEven those outside the nonprofit sector are starting to notice the glaring lack of racial and ethnic diversity in the environmental movement’s leadership. In fact, one recent headline from The Guardian asked, “Why are so many white men trying to save the planet without the rest of us?” Some observers accuse mainstream green groups of having a race problem or “green ceiling.” Despite growing awareness of the disparate impacts of pollution and climate change on low-income people of color, large environmental organizations remain fairly homogenous. The situation raises important questions about the role of philanthropy in the environmental movement. Do grantmakers encourage their environmentally-focused grantees to conduct outreach to communities of color for hiring and recruitment, and do the same

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How Can Foundations Best Support the Movement for Racial Equity?

posted on: February 5, 2015

NCRP-panelistsThis post originally appeared on the Alliance Magazine blog on January 30, 2015.

Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Jordan Davis. Oscar Grant. Amadou Diallo. Sean Bell.

These are some of the most recognizable names of black people who have been killed by security officers in the United States, but only a small fraction of the total. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement estimates that one black person is killed every 28 hours in the country by security officers. Over the past few years, a grassroots movement has emerged to end state violence against black people and other marginalized groups.

What is the role of foundations in this movement? The panelists on a recent webinar hosted by the National Committee for

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New “Responsive Philanthropy” Offers Lessons on Movement-Building Strategies for the Sector

posted on: February 3, 2015

RP_Winter14-15_coverAt the end of November, President Obama announced a series of executive orders to take action on immigration reform. While his decision was in part the result of personal courage and conviction, it was also, and perhaps primarily, a victory of the immigration reform movement. NCRP has long promoted the importance of philanthropic support for grassroots organizing strategies like those employed by the movement.

While imperfect, this victory for immigrants and all Americans has been a welcome ray of hope this winter, providing a clear example of cause and effect when it comes to community organizing and policy change. This issue of Responsive Philanthropy not only delves into specific stories from philanthropy and the immigration reform movement, but also offers

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The New Grand Challenges: Social Justice and Health Equity

posted on: January 29, 2015

Gates_hands$1 billion over ten years is a mammoth investment for philanthropy. Since the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation launched its Grand Challenges initiative in 2004, roughly a quarter million dollars on average has left its coffers each day bound for one of 43 special projects. Each project sought to generate an innovative technological solution to a pressing health issue selected by the Gates Foundation. It was venture capitalism adapted for international development, and the magnitude of the investments led to high expectations. If successful, the bold new ideas generated would help make significant progress on our world’s most pressing health issues.

However, when Gates spoke at an event marking the ten year anniversary of the Grand Challenges program at the

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