February 4, 2014

5 Hot Causes for Donors in 2015

Chronicle of Philanthropy, January 15, 2015

The Battle for Racial Justice: Grant makers are uniting to address racial-justice issues as tensions remain high following the failure of grand juries to indict white police officers who killed unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City. Funders for Justice, a new group of about 30 foundations and other groups affiliated with the Neighborhood Funders Group, has set up a website to publicize activities and promote giving to community organizers working on issues like police accountability. Lori Villarosa, executive director of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity, expects more philanthropic attention to changing demographics, for example the growing black populations in inner suburbs, and "implicit racial bias," or the negative associations people hold unconsciously about other races.

Support for Minority Women and Girls

My Brother’s Keeper, President Obama’s foundation-financed program to boost educational and economic opportunities for minority boys and young men, came under fire for leaving out women and girls. Now the White House has announced a new working group on Challenges and Opportunities for Women and Girls of Color, and some foundations are exploring new ways to help young minority women. One example: The NoVo Foundation invited grant makers to a December webinar to discuss a report by the National Women’s Law Center and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund on providing opportunity to African-American girls.

More Outlook 2015

Protection of Gay Rights in Conservative States

After 2014’s gay-marriage triumphs, activists are targeting discrimination by employers in conservative states (among them Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, and Texas), where allies are often hard to come by, says Tim Gill, the country’s most prominent philanthropist focused on LGBT causes. "It’s going to be a very, very different fight, and it’s going to be a long fight." His 20-year-old foundation has spent more than $300-million promoting LGBT equality, he says, and "we’ll have to spend another $300-million to get there."

More Impact Investing

Average investors will soon join the handful of foundations and wealthy individuals pioneering the idea of impact investing: putting money into a business, nonprofit, or government program with an expectation of both social change and financial return. "It’s no longer a question of if it’s going to happen; it’s just a matter of when," says Jacob Gray, senior director for the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Social Impact Initiative. This year, Wharton will produce what it says will be the first-ever comprehensive analyses of the financial performance of impact investments.

Strengthening Low-Income Families

Donors are increasingly worried about the collapse of families in working-class neighborhoods, says Adam Meyerson, president of the Philanthropy Roundtable. They’re backing groups like First Things First, a nonprofit in Chattanooga, Tenn., that aims to reduce the rates of divorce and of out-of-wedlock births to teenagers.

—Drew Lindsay and Suzanne Perry

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October 24, 2019

Reflections from Philanthropy Forward's First Cohort

Philanthropy Forward: Leadership for Change is a CEO fellowship program created by Neighborhood Funders Group and the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. The program's first cohort started in October 2018 in furtherance of building and advancing a shared vision for the future of philanthropy.

Hear perspectives from members of the first cohort as they reflect in this video on their work together as strategic thought partners, addressing philanthropy's most challenging issues and aligning to build a financial engine for social change.

2018 - 2019 Philanthropy Forward Cohort

A grid with individual photos of each of the 20 members of Philanthropy Forward's 2018-2918 cohort..

Click here for participant bios

  • Dimple Abichandani, General Service Foundation
  • Sharon Alpert, Nathan Cummings Foundation
  • Elizabeth Barajas-Roman, Solidago Foundation
  • Ned Calonge, The Colorado Trust
  • Irene Cooper-Basch, Victoria Foundation
  • Farhad A. Ebrahimi, The Chorus Foundation
  • Nicky Goren, Meyer Foundation
  • Justin Maxson, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation
  • Joan Minieri, Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock
  • Maria Mottola, New York Foundation
  • Mike Pratt, Scherman Foundation
  • Jocelyn Sargent, Hyams Foundation
  • Pamela Shifman, NoVo Foundation
  • Starsky D. Wilson, Deaconess Foundation
  • Steve Patrick, Aspen Institute Forum for Community solutions
  • Dennis Quirin, Raikes Foundation
September 10, 2019

For Love of Humankind: A Call to Action for Southern Philanthropy

Justin Maxson, Executive Director of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, calls on fellow funding organizations based in the South to respond to the federal government's anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies with three concrete actions. This post was originally published here on the foundation's website.

Justin was part of the first Philanthropy Forward: Leadership for Change Fellowship cohort, a joint initiative of Neighborhood Funders Group and The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. The Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, which strives to help people and places move out of poverty and achieve greater social and economic justice, is a member of NFG.


 

Justin MaxsonWe are issuing a clarion call to Southern philanthropic organizations to respond to the manic drumbeat of anti-immigrant rhetoric and cruelty coming from the White House. This month began with a mass shooting targeting the Latinx community. Days later, massive raids tore apart hundreds of families and destabilized Mississippi communities but levied no consequences for the corporate leadership that lures vulnerable people to work in grueling, dangerous conditions. It is astounding that since those events, with the resulting fear and trauma still reverberating through immigrant communities across America, the administration has: 

  • repeated its intention to end birthright citizenship, a 14th Amendment guarantee that babies born on American soil are citizens. 
  • attempted to terminate the Flores Agreement, which sets standards for the care of children in custody. This would allow the administration to detain migrant families indefinitely in facilities where children are dying of influenza, yet flu shots are not administrated, where children are sexually assaulted, where soap, toothbrushes, human contact and play are not standard, and where breastfeeding babies are taken from their mothers. Child separation is known to cause permanent psychological trauma and brain damage.
  • announced changes to the so-called “public charge rule” to make it harder for legal immigrants to secure citizenship if they use public assistance. As our partners at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argue, this change would cause many to “forgo assistance altogether, resulting in more economic insecurity and hardship, with long-term negative consequences, particularly for children.” Further, the decision “rests on the erroneous assumption that immigrants currently of modest means are harmful to our nation and our economy, devaluing their work and contributions and discounting the upward mobility immigrant families demonstrate.”

There was also a recent effort to effectively end asylum altogether at the southern border. And despite the Supreme Court ruling blocking the citizenship question from the 2020 census, advocates believe the debate will depress response rates. As we wrote earlier this month, this administration’s animus against immigrants and increasingly aggressive ICE actions are compounding the devastating effects on communities across the country. 

Why Southern philanthropy? 

An analysis of recent grantmaking by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy found our region has deportation rates five times higher than the rest of the country, yet Southern pro-immigrant organizations receive paltry philanthropic funding. Barely one percent of all money granted by the 1,000 largest foundations benefits immigrants and refugees, and even that money doesn’t go to state and local groups that are accountable to grassroots and immigrant communities. Organizations in Southern states receive less than half of the state and local funding of California, New York and Illinois. 

Where to begin? 

Speak up. As Desmund Tutu taught us, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Use your institutional voice to influence decisionmakers.

Examine your foundation’s policies. Find out if your endowment is invested in private detention centers. Consider how supporting organizing, power building and policy advocacy could advance your mission. NCRP has more recommendations in its report.

Give generously. Our partners at Hispanics in Philanthropy have curated a list of organizations helping the families affected by the raids across Mississippi. Our partners at Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees have compiled a list of ways to help, from rapid response grants to long-term strategies. 

Many of the Babcock Foundation’s grantee partners are doing more and more immediate protection work, stretching themselves thin and often putting themselves at risk. They are keeping families intact in the short term while building power for the long term, so history will stop repeating: 

If you know of more resources, please share them. If you’d like to learn more about the organizations on the ground across the South – or think about ways we can do more together – contact us. We are always looking to learn and act in alignment with our fellow funders toward a shared vision of a strong, safe, welcoming and equitable region. 

Activist Jane Addams said, “The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us.” Regardless of a foundation’s mission, abject cruelty surely undermines it. It also undermines the most basic tenet of philanthropy, which literally means “love for humankind.” We see no love in this administration. It’s up to all of us to spread it.