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This guide captures the wisdom of philanthropic leaders who have participated in multi-party advocacy collaboratives. It synthesizes information to dig deeper and understand the pain points and levers of success tied to funding advocacy and donor collaboratives. Examples have been anonymized to ensure candor and clarity, as well as to broaden the appeal and applicability of wisdom derived from a specific collaborative example. Each bite-sized chapter is intended to make this work easy to reference and share, and to read as a full body of work or in pieces as is helpful and relevant to your work.
Funders for LGBTQ Issues;
In 2018, Funders for LGBTQ Issues set out to survey the board and staff of foundations in order to identify how many LGBTQ people worked in philanthropy — which resulted in The Philanthropic Closet: LGBTQ People in Philanthropy.
In designing the survey, we realized that we had an opportunity to not only ask about sexual orientation and gender identity but also to inquire about a range of personal identifiers. With the inaugural Diversity Among Philanthropic Professionals (DAPP) Survey, we asked participants to identify their role within their foundation, their age, gender identity, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, and disability status. This report lays out the results of the DAPP survey in aggregate form.
Produced in partnership with CHANGE Philanthropy and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP), the report and accompanying infographic explore diversity in the philanthropic workforce. Overall, the report finds a statistically significant difference between funders with a social justice focus and all other funders. Social justice funders were much more likely to have higher representation of LGBTQ people, people of color, and people with disabilities.
The report finds:
People of color accounted for 37.8 percent of people on the staff or board of participating foundations.
However, the percentage varied depending on a foundation's focus. People of color made up 45.6 percent of the staff and board at foundations with a social justice focus, while they accounted for 33.0 percent of staff and board at foundations with another focus.
While women accounted for nearly 70 percent of the staff and board at all participating foundations, only 44 percent of board members were women.
Nearly half of women at foundations with a social justice focus were women of color; only a third of women at foundations with another focus were women of color.
Among lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in philanthropy, 43.1 percent of those at foundations with a social justice focus were people of color, compared to one-third of those at foundations with another focus.
Among transgender people, 57.1 percent of transgender people at foundations with a social justice focus were people of color, while 25 percent of transgender people at foundations with another focus were people of color.
At foundations with a social justice focus, people with disabilities made up 8.8 percent of staff and boards, compared to 4.8 percent at foundations with another focus.
Across all participating foundations, 10.3 percent of staff and board were born outside of the United States.
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation;
A crisis faces local newsrooms across the nation. News publishers have, for over a decade, competed with search engines and digital platforms, not only for their readers' attention, but also for advertising revenue. At the same time, we have seen decades of growing distrust and partisan antipathy toward institutions of all kinds, including journalism. Local newspapers are especially vulnerable to these trends. As a result, there have been waves of consolidation, often resulting in fewer newsroom jobs. Particularly controversial have been acquisitions of newspapers by private equity investors, often followed by debate about how the newsroom is managed by its new ownership.
This Gallup/Knight Foundation study seeks to better understand whether Americans care about the fate of local news organizations, what they value about these organizations and what could be done to make more of these organizations financially sustainable. The results are sobering, but they also point toward potential solutions for addressing some of the economic challenges facing many local news organizations.
Carnegie Corporation of New York;
There is a new urgency today for American philanthropies to protect the right to vote for all eligible citizens. The philanthropic community has worked alongside the government to protect these rights for decades, but since a 2013 Supreme Court ruling eliminated key parts of the Voting Rights Act, there has been a dramatic increase across the country in barriers to voting. These new barriers often disproportionately affect low-income voters, rural voters, communities of color, young people, and people with disabilities.
American philanthropies now have an opportunity to protect and strengthen U.S. democracy by providing badly needed investments in the country's voting infrastructure, paying attention to these issues beyond election time, and joining with others to support litigation against illegal voting barriers.
Rockefeller Archive Center;
My visit to the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) was motivated by two interrelated research projects. The first was to study materials related to the transnational construction of the academic field of Afro-Brazilian studies in the 1930s and 1940s. The second project was to focus on the impact of the making of Afro-American studies and African studies proper, in both North and South America, and on the life and trajectories of the independence leaders of African countries from the 1950s – especially the Mozambican, Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane. The week I spent at the Rockefeller Archive Center, thanks to a small research stipend which I obtained, has proven highly productive for both research projects.
The Teagle Foundation is pleased to announce the release of its 2019 Annual Report. The report features an essay by President Andrew Delbanco, "Turning Challenges into Opportunities."
Rockefeller Archive Center;
On February 29, 1968, readers of the New York Review of Books would encounter a stirring indictment of the United States of America: In an open letter, titled "On Leaving America," and addressed to Wesleyan University president Edwin D. Etherington, the German writer Hans Magnus Enzensberger publicly renounced a fellowship that sponsored his stay at the school. America's activities in Vietnam made it so that Enzensberger could no longer accept the support from Wesleyan, while millions of Vietnamese suffered. Instead, the politically committed writer would take to Cuba to see if he could somehow contribute to its revolutionary transformation. "Verbal opposition is today in danger of becoming a harmless spectator sport, licensed, well-regulated and, up to a point, even encouraged by the powerful," Enzensberger writes in conclusion. Supported by a respectable American institution of higher learning, Enzensberger felt disarmed in his opposition, adding that "the mere fact of my being here on these terms would devalue whatever I might have to say."
How do you fill the shoes of a beloved executive director whose shoes seem too big to fill? In 2017, TUFTS Hillel faced this challenge with its 1st CEO transition in a generation. As the process evolved, one thing became clear to the board: its new CEO needed the same gravitas and stature.
Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston;
Few organizations in Jewish life can match the scale and scope of CJP's search for a new CEO—or the pedigree of its search committee. But in assembling a team of all-stars—and then executing a search with precision and professionalism—CJP's board provides a model to which all organizations can aspire.
As the long-tenured executive vice president at Bend the Arc, Stosh Cotler was told by the board that it wished to consider her for the role of CEO, a position that had recently opened up. The only problem was that Cotler didn't see herself as CEO material.
American Jewish World Service;
AJWS' board pulled off a successful transition involving a long-serving executive, Ruth Messinger, and her faithful deputy, Robert Bank. It was a high stakes, high emotion realignment requiring each stakeholder to take deliberate, courageous steps to help move the process along.
Ascendium Education Group (formerly known as Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates) has invested heavily to advance postsecondary success for low-income students, students of color, and first-generation students. Since 2012, Ascendium has awarded over $10.2 million in Dash Emergency Grants to 63 two- and four-year institutions. Through Dash, colleges administer emergency aid (EA) grants to meet students' unanticipated expenses so that more of these students stay on track for completion. These small grants, often $500 or less, can make the difference in whether a student is able to remain in school. Ascendium contracted with Equal Measure in late 2017 to create a set of tools to help the field codify the process of awarding emergency aid. Emergency Aid for Higher Education: A Toolkit and Resource Guide for DecisionMakers is the result of more than 10 months of research, interviews, focus groups, and webinars with Dash Emergency Grant recipients that elucidated current best practices, and gaps, in administering EA programs.