keeping a close eye on philanthropy … NCRP’s blog

In Philanthropy, It’s Not Just the Thought That Counts

posted on: December 19, 2014

holidaycatDuring this holiday season, we all have seemingly endless lists of people to buy presents for and a shortage of good ideas. Would Grandma like the cheese slicer, or the scarf? Should Aunt Martha get the platter, or should it go to Cousin Michael? What in the world does Dad want? We have limited dollars to spend on presents and want to make sure that the gifts we buy are well-received.

But what if they aren’t? Let’s use the classic “sweater from Grandma” example. Every year without fail, Grandma gives you the ugliest sweater in the store. It is the wrong size, with sleeves draping four inches after where your fingertips end. There are bells in places you didn’t even

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Embracing Leadership: Cultivating Relationships for Social Change

posted on: December 16, 2014

Webinar_Promo_1_NOV_2014On Tuesday, December 9, NCRP hosted “Embracing Leadership: Cultivating Relationships for Social Change,” a webinar sharing tips for relationship-building from friends of NCRP.

The conversation, moderated by NCRP field director Jeanné Isler (@J_LaChapel), featured:

Jeanné opened the conversation by describing a leadership training session she attended during her first job as a community organizer. She happened to be sitting next to a well-known executive at a private foundation. Not knowing this, Jeanné was as honest as possible during the one-on-one exercise they did together – resulting in

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Of the Community, by the Community and for the Community

posted on: December 11, 2014

GCIPNCRP’s work draws a straight line between the communities most affected by a problem and the best solutions for that problem. Through research for our Grantmaking for Community Impact Project, NCRP spotlighted grantmakers that fund advocacy, organizing and civic engagement as tools to best achieve true and lasting change. Today, the lessons from these reports are more relevant than ever, with ongoing community action to promote racial equity in Ferguson, New York and countless other cities and communities across the nation.

Our May 2011 Strengthening Democracy report, compiled by the social change organization Frontline Solutions, features interviews with several prominent philanthropy leaders in the Mid-South and Gulf region. These leaders share how raising up voices from within the communities

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Saints or Communists: Reframing Criticism to Ask Tough Questions

posted on: December 9, 2014

Helder_Camara_1981Renowned for the connections he made between poverty and repressive government in Brazil, Archbishop Hélder Pessoa Câmara once said, “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

This is one of my favorite quotations, because it forces me to take a pensive – and uncomfortable – posture. Specifically, it leads to several questions that get at how social justice philanthropy can best address the needs of underserved populations.

(1) Should we care if we are called saints or communists?

I find it sad but unsurprising that Archbishop Câmara received that response. More than that, I’m awed by his perseverance in the face

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Ten Things You Should Know about NCRP’s New Membership Package

posted on: December 4, 2014

Membership Promo (2)Earlier this month, NCRP launched its new benefits package for nonprofit members. These exclusive offerings will give our members the services they need to better carry out their missions, while adding their voices to the growing movement to improve philanthropy.

Whether you are a current member eligible for our new benefits, or a prospective member seeking to learn more, here are the ten most important things to know about our revamped membership program

1. A “Professional” subscription to the Foundation Directory Online is now included with NCRP membership. The Foundation Center’s Directory Online includes information about more than 120,000 grantmakers, including sortable listings of grants offered. With this resource, your organization can better prospect potential funders and get all of

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Lessons for Philanthropy from Proposition 47

posted on: December 2, 2014

California Men's ColonyWhile the recent midterm elections brought disappointment to many, several citizen-proposed initiatives and propositions made significant headway on a range of issues. One of these was Proposition 47 in California. Heralded by criminal justice advocates as a model for reform, Prop 47 reduces the sentencing penalties for drug possession and a handful of simple theft charges when less than $950 is involved. In effect, it “de-felonizes” offenses commonly associated with poverty and addiction.

In 2011, the Supreme Court finally recognized what criminal justice system reform advocates had said repeatedly in calls for reform: Because of long-standing issues at several levels of law enforcement, California’s prison system was dangerously, unconstitutionally overcrowded. The bench ordered the state to reduce the population of

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NCRP Gives Thanks for Social Justice Allies

posted on: November 25, 2014

November_sunsetIn the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, there has been more than enough to remind us of the tremendous amount of work needed to achieve true equity in this country. Especially with yesterday’s events, and the details still emerging from Ferguson, it can be easy to get discouraged by the sheer size of the challenges we face. We are humbled and honored by those on the ground who are fighting against injustice.

Below, NCRP staff share what we’re grateful for this year, in light of the enormous challenges all those in our field face in promoting the public good.

“I’m thankful for the folks in Ferguson who have been courageously standing up for all that is good and righteous, in

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