keeping a close eye on philanthropy … NCRP’s blog

Summer Issue of “Responsive Philanthropy” Shares New Ideas from the Sector

posted on: August 28, 2014

Today, NCRP is excited to announce the release of our summer issue of “Responsive Philanthropy,” featuring pieces by top voices in the philanthropic sector and their efforts to improve their communities. This edition of the journal offers tools and tips for grantmakers who are interested in learning how they, too, can have greater, positive impact on their issues and the world today.

Now, more than ever, is the time for philanthropy to prioritize and empower those with the least wealth and opportunity. If we do, together we will build a more fair and just society. Our writers share stories from their organizations’ challenges and successes to build a picture of a thriving philanthropic community that prioritizes giving help to those

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Philamplify Users Overwhelmingly Agree that Foundations Should Get Honest Feedback

posted on: August 22, 2014

PhilamplifyPoll_8-14-14In May, NCRP launched Philamplify to tackle a pervasive problem in philanthropy: the isolation bubble that prevents grantmakers from getting honest opinions about how they operate. Grantees and other stakeholders’ appreciation for foundation support tends to hinder their willingness to offer critical feedback, for fear of alienating or offending a valued benefactor. Philamplify seeks to change this culture of philanthropy – to make honest feedback the new standard in philanthropy – allowing all involved to reach their best potential in serving the public.

So far, one of the most popular features on the Philamplify website has been the poll section, garnering well over 450 votes from visitors. This week, Philamplify closed its first poll, which asked, “Is it important for

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Which Executive Director Would You Fund?

posted on: August 21, 2014

If you were a foundation president with one $50,000 grant left to give before your fiscal year ended, which of these three nonprofit executive directors would you fund?

Executive Director #1 wants to end human trafficking, establish safe houses for victims and help survivors start new lives.

Since childhood, she has been a victim of violence and human trafficking, which some conjecture resulted in her mental delay. She has a history of breaking the law, but she was never convicted. She married a violent man and left him. She is illiterate. For years, she has been unable to keep a domestic service job. Chronically nervous, she never stays in one town for more than a few months.

Executive Director #2

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Celebrating The California Endowment

posted on: August 14, 2014

TCEThis is the last in a series of four blog posts celebrating the work of the 2014 NCRP Impact Awards winners. Check out a video recap of the event here.

On June 9, The California Endowment received the 2014 NCRP Impact Award for Large Private Foundation. The Endowment is a national player in improving health equity, and played a significant role in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, the Endowment recognizes that big policy wins are achieved by fostering engagement with local communities – as demonstrated by the story of Long Beach native Christopher Covington.

In 2009, Christopher went to a community engagement session held through the California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative. Looking around him,

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What Is Foundation Transparency and Why Does It Matter?

posted on: August 12, 2014

TransparencyIn my role as a research assistant for NCRP’s Philamplify initiative, I have found that “transparency” is defined and applied differently from one foundation to the next. Not only is it rare to find details like contact information, internal policies and strategic plans, but I also found that it can be difficult to source seemingly simple things such as documentation around foundation strategies, grantmaking guidelines or even a list of organizations and projects that receive funding.

Even when such materials are provided, increased disclosure and transparency are not ends in and of themselves. Rather, they allow philanthropists, political leaders, activists and everyday citizens to better hold foundations accountable to the public good. In that, these demands are similar to those

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Celebrating Hill-Snowdon Foundation

posted on: August 11, 2014

DJJobsWithJusticeThis is the third in a series of four blog posts celebrating the work of the 2014 NCRP Impact Awards winners. Check out a video recap of the event here.

On June 9, the District of Columbia’s Hill-Snowdon Foundation received the 2014 NCRP Impact Award for Small/Midsize Foundation. Hill-Snowdon is an important fixture in the D.C. metro area, fighting with low-income workers on important initiatives like a minimum wage that’s a living wage. Nikki Lewis is a D.C. local who has found success – both in her personal life and career – through her experiences with Hill-Snowdon.

For 17 years, Nikki worked in restaurants, in the retail industry and as a dog walker in Washington, D.C., and Maryland. Her

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New Video Highlights the Best Moments of the 2014 NCRP Impact Awards

posted on: August 6, 2014

On June 9, NCRP hosted the second annual NCRP Impact Awards, which honored four grantmakers committed to real change: Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, The California Endowment, Hill-Snowdon Foundation and Liberty Hill Foundation.

Be inspired all over again with this video recap of the event:

NCRP’s executive director Aaron Dorfman, joined by field director Jeanné Isler, kicked off the festivities, declaring “We’re excited to have you join us this evening to recognize four foundations who are leaders in finding innovative solutions to some of the nation’s toughest problems.”

As the crowd enjoyed Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and mingled with old friends and new connections, the 2013 NCRP Impact Awards winners took the stage to welcome the

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