Once and for All: Lead-Free, Healthy Kids

September 26, 2017

Baby_mother_playing_400x300We want all our children to be safe and happy — that's why we have safeguards in place to protect them. Newborns are taken home from the hospital in car seats, kindergarteners must have all their vaccines to enter school, even playground equipment is closely regulated. Yet, despite these investments their health and safety, children are still at risk in their own homes. While we are closer than ever to eliminating lead in homes, it's still all too prevalent, seeping into the lives of our children through peeling paint, unfiltered water from unsafe pipes, and other sources.

Even though lead poisoning is entirely preventable, 535,000 children under the age of 6 in the United States are exposed to the dangerous toxin each year through water, paint, soil, and other sources. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead." Lead exposure can lead to learning disabilities, speech delays, attention deficit disorder, reduced motor control and balance, and aggressive behavior. In fact, kids with lead poisoning are seven times as likely to drop out of school than their non-lead-poisoned peers, are six times as likely to become involved in the juvenile justice system, and as adults face increased risks of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, depression, and early mortality.

When the Flint water crisis became international news, it was easy to brush it aside as an anomaly — something that would never happen in your own town. But in 2016 a report by Reuters found three thousand localities across the country where at least 10 percent of children — double the rate of lead poisoning in Flint at the height of the crisis — had elevated levels of lead in their blood. In some cities, "the rate of elevated [lead] tests over the last decade was 40 to 50 percent." Many of the affected communities are low-income and majority African-American and Latino populations, a sadly unsurprising fact given the stark racial disparities when it comes to addressing lead poisoning. In fact, African American children are roughly 5 times more likely and Latino children are nearly twice as likely to be poisoned by lead than their white peers.

The reality is that the "next Flint" is not just imminent; it's already here. It's happening in communities across the country, but if community leaders and elected officials make lead poisoning prevention a priority — pass smart legislation, invest in prevention measures in low-income neighborhoods, and educate their communities — we can address the issue in just five years.

Fortunately, a blueprint for lead eradication already exists. Seeing how unhealthy housing has been undermining the health of growing children, we at the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) took action in our home community of Baltimore, starting in 1986. Working together with community leaders and local officials, GHHI, then Parents Against Lead, started a grassroots volunteer effort to change public policy and bring funding to older, lower-income neighborhoods in Baltimore to make homes safer for everyone. With the use of techniques like window replacement to remediate lead paint hazards in homes, as well as the dedication and investment from the city and other local organizations, we've seen real progress in making homes across the city safe for all kids, with a 98 percent reduction in childhood lead exposure in Maryland over the last thirty years. GHHI has since expanded its efforts to more than thirty cities to ensure that every child has a healthy and safe home, regardless of zip code or socioeconomic status. 

Today more cities and states are passing legislation and dedicating resources to prevent lead exposure, and a growing number of foundations are increasing their financial support for such efforts. In Pennsylvania, which ranks third in the nation for most housing built before 1950 — a major risk factor for lead poisoning — Governor Tom Wolf is calling for mandatory lead testing for every infant in the state.

To expand our network of partner organizations, we recently kicked off our national Campaign to End Lead Poisoning by announcing the Lead Poisoning Prevention Catalytic Award — we're working with the JPB Foundation to bolster, financially and programmatically, up to five nonprofits stepping up to do what's right for their communities. Both private and public involvement is essential to this fight, and by working together we will ensure that no more children are made sick by their own homes.

With families, schools, and communities all facing numerous challenges, you might ask, "Why lead?" One reason is that the math is on our side, too: Every dollar spent on preventing lead exposure can generate up to a $221 return on investment. The U.S. could save more than $50 billion annually if we act to prevent these devastating health impacts. Investing in lead poisoning prevention will lower healthcare costs and help keep kids in school and out of trouble—and able to reach their full potential.

We need to make the same level of commitment to ensuring that every child in every home is safe from toxins like lead as to ensuring s/he is safe in the car, at school, and on the playground. "Contaminated" is the last word any family wants to hear when it comes to their home, but "contaminated," "dangerous," and "toxic" are words all too familiar to millions of families across the country. It's time to take action and invest in rehabilitating homes across the country to end lead poisoning once and for all.

Ruth_ann_norton_for_philantopicRuth Ann Norton is president and CEO of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative.

Commitments for Mexico Earthquake and Hurricane Maria Relief

September 22, 2017

Following hard on the heels of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Hurricane Maria has wreaked havoc in Puerto Rico, Dominica, and other Caribbean islands, many already devastated by earlier storms, and continues on its path of destruction. In Mexico City and surrounding areas, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake on September 19 — which followed an earlier quake September 7 — has left dozens of buildings completely collapsed and a death toll of 286 and climbing. Pledges from corporations, foundations, public charities, and individuals for relief and recovery efforts are beginning to come in. Here are the commitments of at least $25,000 tracked by our Foundation Center colleagues Andrew Grabois and Grace Sato as of September 22.

For commitments designated for both Harvey and Irma relief, please see our updates to the Harvey relief commitments announced by corporate foundations and corporate giving programs, foundations, public charities, and individuals. For commitments designated specifically for Hurricane Irma relief, see our post here. Please also see Foundation Center's Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy site for Harvey-related grants.

[We're continuing to update the tables as commitments are announced. Please scroll to the bottom of the post for ongoing updates.]

Commitments from Company-Sponsored Foundations, Corporate Giving Programs, Foundations, Public Charities, and Individuals

GRANTMAKER TYPE RECIPIENT AMOUNT NOTES
3M Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Multiple Recipients $1,000,000 For Latin American relief for Hurricane Maria, Mexico earthquake
Amgen Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation Direct Relief, Unknown Recipient(s) $5,050,000 $50,000 to Direct Relief for Mexico earthquake relief; $3 million for urgent relief and $2 million for long-term relief from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico
Bacardi & Company Limited Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $3,000,000 For communities in Florida, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and Mexico impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria and Mexico earthquake
Carlos Beltran Individual Fundación Carlos Beltran $1,000,000 For Hurricane Maria relief
CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V. Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Value of donated building materials; for Mexico earthquake of 9/7/17
Direct Relief International Public Charity Unknown Recipient(s) $100,000 For deployment of emergency medical response personnel and essential medical supplies; for Mexico earthquake of 9/7/17
Facebook, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program International Red Cross $1,000,000 Will also waive fees on donations to UNICEF made on its Facebook page for Mexico earthquake relief7
Fundación Metlife México Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Fondo para la Paz $400,000 For earthquake of 9/7/17
Fundación Wal Mart de México Company-Sponsored Foundation Unknown Recipient(S) $2,200,000 For Mexico earthquake relief
Salma Hayek Individual GoFundMe $100,000 For Mexico earthquake relief
Home Depot Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Multiple Recipients $500,000 For Mexican earthquake relief; also product donations from Home Depot Mexico
Honeywell Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Mexico Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (SEDENA) $400,000 Value of donated personal protective equipment for Mexico earthquake relief
Humana Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $250,000 For Puerto Rico for Hurricanes Irma and Maria relief
Kaiser Permanente Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program International Medical Corps $1,000,000 For first responders for Mexico earthquake relief
Jennifer Lopez Individual Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 For Hurricane Maria relief
Ricky Martin Individual Unknown Recipient(s) $100,000 YouCaring campaign; for Hurricane Maria relief
Shawn Mendes Individual GoFundMe campaign $100,000 For Mexico earthquake relief
PepsiCo Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Pan American Development Foundation $2,250,000 For Mexican earthquake relief, including earthquake of 9/7/17; for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean
United Air Lines, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipients(s) $50,000 Customer match; for Hurricane Maria relief
UPS Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Mexican Red Cross (earthquake), American Red Cross (Hurricane Maria) $25,000 Value of in-kind donation for Mexico earthquake relief
Vallarta Supermarkets Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program CENACED $50,000 Customer match; for Mexico earthquake and Hurricane Maria relief
Wal-Mart Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation Unknown Recipient(s) $565,000 For Mexico earthquake relief
Wells Fargo & Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $250,000 For Mexico earthquake relief
Western Union Foundation and Western Union Company Contributions Program Company-Sponsored Foundation and Corporate Giving Program Save the Children, Unknown Recipient(s) $55,000 Agent match ($10,000); employee match ($25,000) for Mexico earthquake relief
Mark Zuckerberg Individual Mexican Red Cross $1,000,000 For Mexico earthquake relief; also Facebook waiving fees on donations to UNICEF made through Facebook tools
Total: $22,445,000

 


September 25, 2017

The Amgen Foundation, Inc., which had pledged $50,000 for Mexico earthquake relief efforts, announces commitments totaling $5 million for Hurricane Maria relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

Carlos Beltrain announces a $1 million commitment for Hurricane Maria relief efforts.

Facebook, Inc. Contributions Program announces a $1 million commitment for Mexico earthquake relief efforts.

The Kaiser Permanente Corporate Giving Program announces a $1 million commitment for Mexico earthquake relief efforts.

Jennifer Lopez announces a $1 million commitment for Hurricane Maria relief efforts.

Ricky Martin announces a $100,000 pledge for Hurricane Maria relief efforts.

Shawn Mendes announces a $100,000 pledge for Mexico earthquake relief efforts.

The United Air Lines, Inc. Contributions Program announces a $50,000 pledge for Hurricane Maria relief efforts.

The UPS Corporate Giving Program announces a $50,000 pledge for Mexico earthquake relief efforts.

The Wells Fargo & Company Contributions Program announces a $250,000 commitment for Mexico earthquake relief efforts.

Updated corporate total: $22,445,000


SPARCC: Rewriting the Playbook on Equitable Infrastructure Investment

September 21, 2017

Sparcc_for_philantopicThroughout the history of the United States, major public infrastructure investments have spurred economic development and shaped entire regions. From the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 to the completion of the Interstate highway system in 1992, publicly funded infrastructure has played a critical role in the development of our modern economy.  

Yet the story of major infrastructure investments is hardly all positive: Residents of nearly any city in America can point to a large-scale project that displaced and decimated the wealth and social fabric of communities of color, for example. Interstate 81 destroyed the 15th Ward of Syracuse, New York, while Interstate 75 dismantled Detroit's "Black Bottom" neighborhood, home to thousands of people and three hundred and fifty African American-owned businesses. In New York City, mega-projects like the Cross Bronx Expressway put a physical barrier between low-income communities of color and opportunities to earn better livelihoods.  

Major public infrastructure projects can also have harmful impacts on health and climate by increasing our dependence on fossil fuel consumption, increasing CO2 emissions, exacerbating respiratory illnesses like asthma, and inhibiting people's physical activity. And too often, infrastructure investments in walking and cycling amenities, new transit, improved stormwater drainage, broadband, or parks don't reach the people and neighborhoods that need them most.

Mindful of the high stakes of getting infrastructure right, several leading foundations, working in close collaboration with four national partners, have launched the Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge. SPARCC aims to create opportunities for low-income people and communities of color through strategies that promote equity, better health outcomes, and climate resilience. All three of these goals can be realized by amplifying regional public investments in housing, transit, and other impactful infrastructure so that their benefits can be shared equitably—and by empowering the communities that stand to benefit.  By demonstrating how investments in the built environment can create a path for all of a city's residents to thrive, we aim to rewrite the national playbook for how such projects are designed and implemented in the future.

In this month's edition of the Community Development Investment Review, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, we describe how the Robert Wood Johnson, Ford, Kresge, and JPB foundations and the California Endowment — along with our implementing partners, the Low Income Investment Fund, Enterprise Community Partners, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco — worked together to develop this ambitious six-site, $90 million initiative. Together, we aim to test a different model for development — one that harnesses a major public investment in infrastructure to prioritize the needs of low-income people for healthy, resilient, and connected communities, rather than cutting people off or displacing them. We hope that SPARCC can point the way toward reversing a series of urban policy and programmatic decisions that kept communities of color out of the decision-making process, and resulted in decades of disinvestment in low-income communities across the nation, fueling enormous disparities in health and economic opportunities between zip codes that are often just a few miles apart.

We designed SPARCC to capitalize on catalytic moments, those rare times in the life of a community when it is ripe for action. While a significant infrastructure initiative (like the buildout of a regional transit system) is often that catalyst, new leadership, population shifts, strong public will, policy overhauls — or even efforts to recover from a natural disaster, like Superstorm Sandy — can also attract a significant pool of private and public capital and accelerate opportunity. SPARCC pursues a multiplier effect in that opportune moment — for example, taking advantage of the buildout of transit to prioritize affordable housing development near transit stops, or ensuring that a major investment in greenways or revitalization offers benefits to low income communities, rather than triggering rising rents and displacement.

After a competitive review process, the SPARCC partners selected six places for SPARCC to support over the next three years: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Memphis and the San Francisco Bay Area. In that period, each region will be awarded $1 million in direct grant and technical assistance funds to support cross-sector efforts to retool policy and development practice. Collectively, the regions will benefit from an additional $14 million for programmatic support in areas including data systems, policy, and communications. A $70 million pool of investment capital — some from the participating foundations, some leveraged through institutions that finance community development — will also be available for community-based projects.

Kabel_kenyon_roertyRecognizing that SPARCC's ambitious goals will require more than a three-year grant period to achieve, we will support cross-sector leaders and accelerate change so that the six regions are equipped to carry out the vision over the long term — and share their learning with communities across the country. We plan to share our own learnings along the way, and invite the engagement of new partners who are also interested in learning how to leverage systems to achieve health, climate and equity goals.

Public infrastructure dollars can and should do much more to promote equitable, resilient, and healthy communities. Our aspiration is that SPARCC will begin to provide a new roadmap, based on the experience of these six regions, that can inform policy and practice in cities across the U.S.

Read our full article here.

Chris Kabel is deputy director of health at  the Kresge Foundation, Amy Kenyon is a program officer for equitable development at the Ford Foundation, and Sharon Z. Roerty is a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Commitments for Hurricane Irma Relief

September 20, 2017

In the nearly two weeks after Hurricane Irma devastated wide swaths of the Caribbean and Florida, corporations, foundations, and public charities have pledged support for relief and recovery efforts. Here are the commitments of at least $25,000 tracked by our Foundation Center colleagues Andrew Grabois and Grace Sato as of September 20.

For commitments designated for both Harvey and Irma relief, please see our updates to the Harvey relief commitments announced by corporate foundations and corporate giving programs, foundations, public charities, and individuals. See also Foundation Center's Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy site for Harvey-related grants. We're also posting commitments designated for Hurricane Maria and the Mexico City earthquake.

[We're continuing to update the tables as commitments are announced. Please scroll to the bottom of the post for ongoing updates.]

Table 1: Company-Sponsored Foundations, Corporate Giving Programs

Grantmaker Type Recipient Amount Notes
Abbvie Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Hurricane Irma - Multiple Recipients $1,000,000 Also employee match
Allergan Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $150,000 $100,000 to American Red Cross for relief efforts in Florida; $50,000 for relief efforts in Caribbean
American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program MusiCares $25,000
Amgen Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation Direct Relief, American Kidney Fund $100,000 Also employee match
Amway Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $200,000 Employee match
Anthem Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation Americares $75,000 Also employee match
AT&T Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Team Rubicon, Telecoms Sans Frontieres, Unknown Recipient(s) $1,400,000 $1,000,000 to Team Rubicon; $150,000 to Telecoms Sans Frontieres
Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $1,250,000 $1,000,000 to be allocated when an assessment is completed
BankUnited, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Hurricane Irma - Unknown Recipient $100,000 For impacted areas of Florida
BB&T Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $500,000 Includes $250,000 in donated supplies
BBVA Compass Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $825,000 $75,000 for employee match
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Hurricane Irma - Unknown Recipient $1,000,000 For relief and recovery efforts in Florida
Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation Hurricane Irma - Unknown Recipient $100,000
Charter Communications, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Rebuilding Together $1,350,000 Includes $1,000,000 in donated public service announcements
Charter Communications, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Rebuilding Together $1,350,000 Includes $1,000,000 in donated public service announcements
Chevron Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program DonorsChoose.org $400,000 For local public school classroom projects in south Florida
Chevron Global Fund Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $600,000 Also employee match
Citi Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $1,000,000
Coca-Cola Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $1,000,000 Immediate relief and long-term rebuilding
CUNA Mutual Group Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation CUAid $50,000 For affected credit union partners and employees
CVS Health Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Florida Disaster Fund, CVS Health Employee Relief Fund $75,000
eBay Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Hurricane Irma - Unknown Recipient $100,000 For impacted areas of Gulf Coast
Eli Lilly and Company Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Multiple Recipients $250,000 Also product donations from company
Enterprise Holdings Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Americares $1,000,000 $750,000 to American Red Cross; $250,000 to Americares
EVERTEC, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program United for Puerto Rico – Together Changing Trajectories, Unknown Recipients $150,000 For relief efforts in Puerto Rico; $50,000 for social media match
FedEx Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Cash and value of transportation support
Fifth Third Bank Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $500,000 $250,000 for employee match
Ford Motor Company Fund Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $150,000 Employee match.
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Hurricane Irma - Unknown Recipient $500,000 For relief and recovery efforts in Florida and the Caribbean. Also employee match
Google.org Corporate Giving Program Hurricane Irma - Unknown Recipient $1,250,000 For impacted areas in southeastern United States and Caribbean; $250,000 for employee match
Humana Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $1,000,000 Also employee match
IBM Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Hurricane Irma - Multiple Recipients $1,000,000 Shelter and call center management. Also donations of Cloud and consulting, and technologies for large-scale volunteer management for Government and NGO partners
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Hurricane Irma - Multiple Recipients $1,000,000 For impacted areas in United States and Caribbean
Kohl's Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $1,000,000 Also employee volunteerism
Lowe's Companies, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Cash and in-kind donations. Also customer donations
MAXIMUS Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Volunteer Florida $100,000
McKesson Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Americares $185,000 Value of donated product
Mckesson Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Hurricane Irma - Unknown Recipient $125,000 Employee match
Merck & Co., Inc. Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Hand in Hand Hurricane Relief Fund, Multiple Recipients 1,250,000 Also product donations
Microsoft Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Hurricane Irma - Unknown Recipient $750,000 Also donation of tech services
New York Life Insurance Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Save the Children, Feeding America, UNICEF, NYLIC Family Disaster Assistance Fund $450,000 Also employee match; $100,000 for impacted agents and employees
NextEra Energy Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation Florida Disaster Fund $1,000,000 Also employee match
Norfolk Southern Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Feeding Tampa Bay, Feeding South Florida $100,000
Paypal Holdings, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Save the Children $200,000 Also customer donations
PepsiCo Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation Feeding America, American Red Cross $1,750,000 For assistance in Florida and the Southeast U.S., Mexico, Caribbean
Prudential Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $500,000 Also employee match
Royal Bank of Canada Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Hurricane Irma - Unknown Recipient $300,000 For relief and recovery efforts in Florida and the Caribbean
Scotiabank Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Canadian Red Cross $500,000 $250,000 for relief and recovery efforts in the Caribbean; young people in affected communities
Sealed Air Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program World Food Program USA, American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity $225,000 $100,000 each for emergency aid for the Caribbean and mainland U.S.; $25,000 for employee match; also product donations
StorageMart Partners, L.P. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program GlobalGiving $25,000 Employee match
SunTrust Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $500,000 $250,000 to American Red Cross
Target Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, UNICEF, Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Cash and in-kind donations
United Air Lines, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $50,000 Customer match
UnitedHealth Group Incorporated Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Hurricane Irma - Unknown Recipient $1,000,000 For impacted Florida communities. Also employee match
UPS Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Hurricane Irma - Unknown Recipient $1,000,000 For recovery efforts in the Caribbean, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Includes cash grants, in-kind transportation movements and technical expertise
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $200,000 Employee match.
Verizon Communications Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Hand in Hand $2,500,000
VS Health Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $25,000 Value of donated water
Walgreens Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $200,000 For relief efforts in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Also donating food and water.
Wal-Mart Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation Hurricane Irma - Unknown Recipient $10,000,000 Customer match
Walt Disney Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Hurricane Irma - Multiple Recipients 2,500,000 For Florida, the Caribbean, and other impacted areas
Wells Fargo & Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $1,100,000 $500,000 to American Red Cross; $100,000 for relief and recovery efforts in the Caribbean
Xerox Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $75,000 $75,000 for employee match
Total: $49,210,000

 

Table 2: Foundations

Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, Inc. Independent Foundation All Faiths Food Bank $172,000 For two weeks of food
Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, Inc. Independent Foundation Pines of Sarasota Foundation $202,000 For air conditioning
Total: $374,000

 

Table 3: Public Charities

American Kidney Fund, Inc. Public Charity Hurricane Irma - Unknown Recipient $120,000 Emergency disaster relief assistance to 500 dialysis patients
Our Family Foundation, Inc. Public Charity American Red Cross $250,000 For hardest hit areas in Florida
PetSmart Charities, Inc. Public Charity Hurricane Irma - Unknown Recipient $1,000,000 For animal welfare organizations. Also product donations
PetSmart Charities, Inc. Public Charity Miami-Dade Animal Services $100,000
PetSmart Charities, Inc. Public Charity Atlanta Humane Society $15,000
Total: $1,485,000


September 22, 2017

The CUNA Mutual Group Foundation announces a $50,000 pledge for Irma relief efforts.

The MAXIMUS Foundation, Inc. announces a $100,000 commitment for Irma relief efforts.

The New York Life Insurance Company Contributions Program announces a $450,000 pledge for Irma relief efforts.

The Norfolk Southern Foundation announces a $100,000 commitment for Irma relief efforts.

Updated corporate total: $48,335,000


September 25, 2017

The United Air Lines, Inc. Contributions Program announces a $150,000 pledge for Irma relief efforts.

The BBVA Compass Corporate Giving Program announces a $825,000 pledge for Irma relief efforts.

Updated corporate total: $49,210,000


Disrupting the Traditional K-12 Model

September 19, 2017

Computer_classI remember my fourth grade classroom outside Seattle: rows of plastic desks with uncomfortable chairs that inevitably had old bubble gum stuck to the bottom. My teacher sat at a larger wooden desk in front of a large chalkboard, every inch of which was often covered. I remember hurrying to copy all those math equations and English homework questions into my notebook before they were all erased.

You will not be surprised to hear that my kids' teachers rarely use chalk. Students today will never take notes on paper or have to remember what had been on a long-erased chalkboard. These changes have affected not only the way teachers teach and the way students learn, but also the way classrooms and teaching tools can be designed to optimize teacher effectiveness and student ability.

I've noticed two tremendous opportunities in the disruption of the traditional K-12 model — trends that are helping educators reimagine the classroom and how they teach, and reshaping the student learning experience. The first is the imperative to democratize digital skills; the second is the increasing potential of personalized learning and approaches that put students at the center of education.

Democratizing Digital Skills

Recent studies show that we are facing a digital skills gap, and this is especially true when it comes to young girls and underrepresented minorities. Computer science knowledge has become essential in today's job market, but students, especially those in underserved communities, are not getting exposure to it. On the flip side, when technology tools and a STEM-related (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum are made available in every classroom and to every student, it leads to profound impact. We at Salesforce.org can see this right here in the Bay Area. In the San Francisco Unified School District, where Salesforce.org has supported efforts to expand computer science education and improve access to a quality education, enrollment in computer science courses across twenty-one middle schools has increased from 1 percent of students to 35 percent in five years. We're also reaching new demographics in computer science, with nearly 50 percent of female students and more than 50 percent of underrepresented youth enrolled in computer science courses.

Personalized Experience

For students who do not thrive in traditional one-size-fits-all classrooms, there's a need for flexible, personalized models. We're starting to see the potential in personalized and competency-based learning models — the Lindsay Unified School District in California's Central Valley is a good example. Lindsay dismantled its entire system based on one question — "What kind of learners do we want our kids to be?" — and shifted the focus from the teacher to the learner. Instead of advancing at the same rate regardless of whether they're ready, students now advance to the next unit only once they master a competency.

Just as businesses increasingly are putting personalized consumer experience at the center, education is putting individual student learning at the center. A decade ago such a shift would have been impossible, but advances in technology have made this a reality, with hyper-personalized models leading to student success and deeper connections between the student and the school. For example, Boston Day and Evening Academy (BDEA), an alternative charter high school that serves at-risk youth, used the Salesforce platform to implement a tracking system that can flag issues early, enabling the school to step in and provide guidance, counseling, and/or other interventions to help students stay on track.

Building off of personalized learning, virtual schools that offer flexibility and competency-based learning also are gaining traction. Online learning in K-12 wasn't an option when I was growing up, but it's now a reality for students who thrive in a non-traditional classroom setting. While online learning isn't right for every student, it serves as a complement to traditional schools and offers an alternative way for students to learn.

These disruptions to the traditional K-12 model have the potential to create future innovators, builders, out-of-the-box thinkers and change makers, and we owe it to our students to leverage technology and provide non-traditional options to help them learn and succeed.

Rob-Acker_for_PhilanTopicRob Acker is CEO of Salesforce.org, the social enterprise arm of customer-relationship management software provider Salesforce.com.

Keeping the Dream Alive: The Case for Faster Funding

September 13, 2017

DACA_protestThis is a difficult time for our country. The forces of hate and bigotry have emerged from the shadows. White supremacists are marching through the streets proudly waving swastika-adorned flags. And Donald Trump has validated them by throwing more than 800,000 immigrant Dreamers under the bus, revoking their immigration status in a callous act that could have repercussions for years to come.

The hard truth is that, in this moment, funders have to rethink "business as usual" to meet the needs of the moment: with the world aghast at the prospect of 800,000 hardworking Dreamers being deported, and with a White House tacitly endorsing white supremacy, we have to rally behind and expand the fight for justice. Now.

That means identifying innovative mobilization efforts, funding them fast, and taking our cues from the communities we are trying to empower.

Right after Election Day, the Women Donors Network worked in partnership with Solidaire Network and other funders to launch the Emergent Fund, a new kind of fund that was designed to be nimble, responsive, and led (at all levels) by people who are the most marginalized. With quick-turnaround grants of up to $50,000, the fund made it possible for new organizations springing up in response to Trump's policies, as well as those that have been organizing their communities for years, to quickly mobilize, train, and act for social justice.

Here is what we learned from that effort.

First, with flexible, no-strings-attached funding, innovative mobilizations can materialize overnight in response to the kinds of regressive policies being pushed by the White House.

In Texas, after the state government passed a bill that would ban sanctuary cities and endanger tens of thousands of immigrants — Emergent Fund grantee Jolt Texas sprang into action and staged a "Quinceañera at the Capitol" that brought teenage girls in beautiful Quinceañera ball gowns to the steps of the state capitol and rallied thousands of new and old supporters around a message that speaks to our core American values. The event quickly went viral online, got more than a million RSVPs, and drove new members and energy into Jolt's immigrant rights work across the state.

In the wake of a series of ICE raids in January, Emergent Fund also made a grant to the Texas Organizing Project (TOP) in support of a rapid-response plan that helped a coalition of immigrant-rights groups fight the state's proposed anti-sanctuary cities bill neighborhood by neighborhood.

For both efforts to succeed, we had to mobilize our funding quickly and do it without strings attached, allowing both Jolt and TOP to collect and use the funds without having to file detailed proposals or grant reports, enabling them to focus, instead, on the threat at hand and on mobilizing new supporters.

Another lesson learned: marginalized voices often are not heard in national media conversations because organizers working on issues that affect marginalized groups often find it difficult to secure funding.

As threats to DACA heated up over the last couple of months, for instance, organizations like the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), realized that a key demographic was missing from the conversation. While Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric has been directed, for the most part, at Latinos and Muslims, more than 130,000 young people eligible for DACA are Asian Americans. Likewise, other Emergent Fund grantees came out in full force — Movimiento Cosecha organized an emotional sit-in outside Trump Tower in New York; United We Dream held protests across the country and organized know-your-rights clinics and published resources for Dreamers and their families; and Mijente staged a creative protest outside the Department of Justice. And as the threat of deportation became more real, many joined dozens of immigrant-rights groups for a 24/7 vigil in front of the White House that has been going since August 15.

More than 86 percent of Americans support DACA and the Dreamers, and this kind of organizing is essential, in that it gives new supporters an opportunity to engage more deeply in the fight for justice.

When we launched the Emergent Fund, we were inundated with proposals that had the potential to create real impact but required fast and flexible support. And within six months, we had granted $1 million to fifty diverse organizations on the front lines of the resistance.

In the process, we learned that our model works, that it infuses energy into organizations we've supported for years in more traditional ways, and that $1 million isn't nearly enough to meet the urgency of the moment.

We challenge all philanthropists and donors to join us at this moment of crisis for 800,000 Dreamers who have only done what they were asked and expected to do. Innovative mobilization efforts need your funding, and they need it now. As donors who believe in social justice, we need to show up, with humility, and to trust in the communities that are fighting for their future.

We have an opportunity to empower communities and bring our nation together, and the philanthropic community has an important role to play in that effort. The time is now. The future cannot wait.

Donna_p_hall_for_PhilanTopicDonna P. Hall is president and CEO of the Women Donors Network, a community of more than two hundred progressive women donors who invest their energy, strategic savvy, and philanthropic dollars to help build a more just and fair world.

Harvey Relief: Individual Pledges/Commitments (Table 1.4)

September 09, 2017

Biblical. That's the word that best describes the rainfall visited on Houston and southeastern Texas by Harvey, the Category 4 hurricane that slammed into Texas on August 25. The storm meandered over the region for four days, dumping up to forty inches of rain in many places and over fifty in some, becoming the wettest tropical storm ever to hit the contiguous United States.

The catastrophic flooding that followed displaced nearly 40,000 people, prompted more than 17,000 rescues, and damaged over 200,000 homes (of which 12,700 were destroyed). The storm also caused at least 70 deaths and as much as $180 billion in damage, making it one of the deadliest and costliest hurricanes in U.S. history.

Support for relief and recovery efforts began to pour in within forty-eight hours and continued at an impressive clip for the next ten days. Here at the Foundation Center, our colleagues Andrew Grabois and Grace Sato have been tracking the corporate response, and thanks to their efforts, we're able to provide some good detail on more than $28 million from celebrities, sports figures, and wealthy individuals (see Table 1.4 below). We've also tracked nearly $189 million in corporate pledges/commitments of cash and product donations (Table 1.1), more than $58 million in foundation contributions (including $10 million from the United Arab Emirates) (Table 1.2), and over $9 million in public charity pledges/commitments (Table 1.3) — for a total, as of September 9, of almost $285 million ($284,911,000) pledged or committed to Harvey relief and recovery by private individuals and the private sector. Impressive.

We realize we haven't captured every dollar committed to relief and recovery efforts — and are aware that a lot of individual contributions have flowed into J.J. Watt's Houston Flood Relief Fund that may not be represented in our tables — but we do think this is as comprehensive accounting as you're likely to find. We encourage you to send us additional information as you encounter it and/or corrections to the information posted below. You can email that info (and any questions you might have) to Mitch at mfn@foundationcenter.org.)

As we're posting this, powerful Hurricane Irma, which has already flattened Barbuda and caused serious damage to Antigua, St. Martin/St. Maarten, and parts of the British Virgin Islands, has the Florida Keys and south Florida in its sights. Our thoughts are with everyone in the region who was not able to evacuate (or chose to ride the storm out in place). We'll be back on Monday with updates as the damage reports start to roll in.

[We're continuing to update the table as commitments are announced. Please scroll to the bottom of the post for ongoing updates; see also Foundation Center's Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy site for Harvey-related grants. We're also posting commitments designated specifically for Hurricane Irma relief and for Hurricane Maria and the Mexico City earthquake].

Table 1.1 (Corp.) | Table 1.2 (Fdns) | Table 1.3 (PCs) | Table 1.4 (Inds)

Table 1.4: Individuals

Grantmaker Type Recipient Amount Notes
Leslie Alexander NBA owner Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund $4,000,000  
Odell Beckham, Jr.  Pro football player Americares, Samaritan's Purse $100,000  
Chris Brown Musician American Red Cross $100,000  
Sandra Bullock Actor American Red Cross $1,000,000  
Charles Butt Businessman Houston Flood Relief Fund $5,000,000  
Jim Crane (Houston Astros) Businessman Houston Flood Relief Fund $4,000,000  
Ellen DeGeneres, Ellen DeGeneres Show Entertainer American Red Cross, SPCA Texas, Unknown Recipient(s) $75,000 American Red Cross ($25,000), SPCA Texas ($25,000)
Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show Entertainer Houston Flood Relief Fund $1,000,000  
James Harden Pro basketball player Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund $1,000,000  
Kevin Hart Actor American Red Cross $25,000  
Kieu Hoang Businessman Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund $5,000,000  
Huntsman Family Business Beaumont Foundation $1,000,000 To launch Huntsman Flood Fund
Kardashian-Jenner Family Family Reality TV personalities American Red Cross, Salvation Army $100,000  
DJ Khalid Record producer American Red Cross $25,000  
Kroenke Family American Red Cross $1,000,000  
Nicki Minaj Musician Houston Flood Relief Fund $25,000  
McNair Family (Houston Texans) NFL owner United Way of Greater Houston Relief Fund $2,000,000  
Paul Simon and Edie Brickell Musicians Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000  
Amy Adams Strunk (Tennessee Titans) NFL owner Houston Flood Relief Fund $1,000,000  
Donald Trump POTUS Multiple Recipients $1,000,000  
J.J. Watt Pro football player Houston Flood Relief Fund $100,000  
Chris Young Musician American Red Cross $100,000  
    TOTAL: $33,575,000  

 

September 15, 2017

Businessman Kieu Hoang pledges $5 million to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

Updated individual total: $33,575,000


Harvey Relief: Public Charity Commitments (Table 1.3)

Biblical. That's the word that best describes the rainfall visited on Houston and southeastern Texas by Harvey, the Category 4 hurricane that slammed into Texas on August 25. The storm meandered over the region for four days, dumping up to forty inches of rain in many places and over fifty in some, becoming the wettest tropical storm ever to hit the contiguous United States.

The catastrophic flooding that followed displaced nearly 40,000 people, prompted more than 17,000 rescues, and damaged over 200,000 homes (of which 12,700 were destroyed). The storm also caused at least 70 deaths and as much as $180 billion in damage, making it one of the deadliest and costliest hurricanes in U.S. history.

Support for relief and recovery efforts began to pour in within forty-eight hours and continued at an impressive clip for the next ten days. Here at the Foundation Center, our colleagues Andrew Grabois and Grace Sato have been tracking the corporate response, and thanks to their efforts, we're able to provide some good detail on more than $9 million in public charity pledges/commitments (see Table 1.3 below). We've also tracked nearly $189 million in corporate pledges/commitments of cash and product donations (Table 1.1), more than $58 million in foundation contributions (including $10 million from the United Arab Emirates) (Table 1.2), and over $43 million from celebrities, sports figures, and wealthy individuals (Table 1.4) — for a total, as of September 9, of almost $3000 million ($299,934,500) pledged or committed to Harvey relief and recovery by private individuals and the private sector. Impressive.

We realize we haven't captured every dollar committed to relief and recovery efforts — and are aware that a lot of individual contributions have flowed into J.J. Watt's Houston Flood Relief Fund that may not be represented in our tables — but we do think this is as comprehensive accounting as you're likely to find. We encourage you to send us additional information as you encounter it and/or corrections to the information posted below. You can email that info (and any questions you might have) to Mitch at mfn@foundationcenter.org.)

As we're posting this, powerful Hurricane Irma, which has already flattened Barbuda and caused serious damage to Antigua, St. Martin/St. Maarten, and parts of the British Virgin Islands, has the Florida Keys and south Florida in its sights. Our thoughts are with everyone in the region who was not able to evacuate (or chose to ride the storm out in place). We'll be back on Monday with updates as the damage reports start to roll in.

[We're continuing to update the table as commitments are announced. Please scroll to the bottom of the post for ongoing updates; see also Foundation Center's Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy site for Harvey-related grants. We're also posting commitments designated specifically for Hurricane Irma relief and for Hurricane Maria and the Mexico City earthquake].

Table 1.1 (Corp.) | Table 1.2 (Fdns) | Table 1.3 (PCs)| Table 1.4 (Inds)

Table 4: Public Charities

Grantmaker Type Recipient Amount Notes
American Jewish Committee Public Charity Multiple Recipients $34,000  
Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio Public Charity Texas Baptist Men, Salvation Army $100,000  
CHS Caregivers Fund Public Charity Diocese of Rockville Centre Hurricane Harvey Fund $100,000  
Direct Relief International Public Charity Unknown Recipient $200,000 Also entire current inventories worth $100 million made available
Henry Schein, Inc. Public Charity Multiple Recipients $500,000 Cash, in-kind and employee match
Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Inc. Public Charity Unknown Recipient(s) $2,000,000  
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Public Charity Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Up to $1 million in direct support to help blood cancer patients in affected communities
NFL Foundation, Inc. Public Charity United Way of Greater Houston Flood Relief Fund $1,000,000 Matching Houston Texans donation
PETCO Foundation Public Charity Unknown Recipient(s) $2,300,000 All For Saving Lives fund raising campaign in Petco stores and online through September 10
PetSmart Charities, Inc. Public Charity Multiple Recipients $2,000,000 To animal welfare agencies; also pet food and supplies
Scholarship America, Inc. Public Charity Unknown Recipient(s) $200,000 For college students affected by Harvey
    TOTAL: $9,634,000  

 

September 15, 2017

Scholarship America, Inc. announces a $200,000 donation to unknown recipient(s) in support of college students affected by Harvey.

Updated public charity total: $9,634,000


Harvey Relief: Foundation Pledges/Commitments (Table 1.2)

Biblical. That's the word that best describes the rainfall visited on Houston and southeastern Texas by Harvey, the Category 4 hurricane that slammed into Texas on August 25. The storm meandered over the region for four days, dumping up to forty inches of rain in many places and over fifty in some, becoming the wettest tropical storm ever to hit the contiguous United States.

The catastrophic flooding that followed displaced nearly 40,000 people, prompted more than 17,000 rescues, and damaged over 200,000 homes (of which 12,700 were destroyed). The storm also caused at least 70 deaths and as much as $180 billion in damage, making it one of the deadliest and costliest hurricanes in U.S. history.

Support for relief and recovery efforts began to pour in within forty-eight hours and continued at an impressive clip for the next ten days. Here at the Foundation Center, our colleagues Andrew Grabois and Grace Sato have been tracking the corporate response, and thanks to their efforts, we're able to provide some good detail on more than $58 million in foundation contributions (including $10 million from the United Arab Emirates) (see Table 1.2 below). We've also tracked nearly $189 million in corporate pledges/commitments of cash and product donations (Table 1.1), over $9 million from public charities (Table 1.3), and more than $28 million from celebrities, sports figures, and wealthy individuals (Table 1.4) — for a total, as of September 9, of almost $285 million ($284,911,000) pledged or committed to Harvey relief and recovery by private individuals and the private sector. Impressive.

We realize we haven't captured every dollar committed to relief and recovery efforts — and are aware that a lot of individual contributions have flowed into J.J. Watt's Houston Flood Relief Fund that may not be represented in our tables — but we do think this is as comprehensive accounting as you're likely to find. We encourage you to send us additional information as you encounter it and/or corrections to the information posted below. You can email that info (and any questions you might have) to Mitch at mfn@foundationcenter.org.)

As we're posting this, powerful Hurricane Irma, which has already flattened Barbuda and caused serious damage to Antigua, St. Martin/St. Maarten, and parts of the British Virgin Islands, has the Florida Keys and south Florida in its sights. Our thoughts are with everyone in the region who was not able to evacuate (or chose to ride the storm out in place). We'll be back on Monday with updates as the damage reports start to roll in.

[We're continuing to update the table as commitments are announced. Please scroll to the bottom of the post for ongoing updates; see also Foundation Center's Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy site for Harvey-related grants. We're also posting commitments designated specifically for Hurricane Irma relief and for Hurricane Maria and the Mexico City earthquake].

Table 1.1 (Corp.) | Table 1.2 (Fdns) | Table 1.3 (PCs) | Table 1.4 (Inds)

Table 2: Independent, Family, Community Foundations

Grantmaker Type Recipient Amount Notes
Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation Family Foundation Multiple Recipients $1,000,000 To be split evenly among Direct Relief, Houston Food Bank, Operation Homefront, Save the Children, and United Way of Greater Houston
Laura and John Arnold Foundation Family Foundation Greater Houston Community Foundation $5,000,000  
Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation Family Foundation Greater Houston Community Foundation $100,000  
Arthur M. Blank Foundation Family Foundation American Red Cross $1,000,000 Matching fund for victims of both Harvey and Irma
Bohemian Foundation Independent Foundation NoCo Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund $2,000,000 1:1 match up to $2 million for donations made by individuals, businesses, and corporate donors in Larimer and Weld County, Colorado
Boston Foundation, Inc. Community Foundation Greater Houston Community Foundation $25,000  
Michael & Susan Dell Foundation Family Foundation Rebuild Texas Fund $36,000,000 To launch Rebuild Texas Fund ($18 million); 1:2 text match campaign (up to $18 million)
Leonardo Di Caprio Foundation Independent Foundation United Way Harvey Recovery Fund $1,000,000  
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Family Foundation Unknown Recipient $500,000  
Huntsman Foundation Family Foundation Beaumont Foundation $1,000,000 To launch Huntsman Flood Fund
J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation Family Foundation American Red Cross $250,000  
Taube Philanthropies Family Foundation All Hands Volunteers $1,000,000 Jewish community needs ($100,000)
United Arab Emirates Sovereign fund Multiple Recipients $10,000,000 Embassy officials will coordinate with state/local leaders about specific relief and recovery efforts
Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation Family Foundation Houston Food Bank, Jewish Family Services (JFS) of Houston, Mission Continues, Team Rubicon $500,000  
    TOTAL: $59,375,000  

 

September 15, 2017

The Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation announces a $100,000 donation to the Greater Houston Community Foundation Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

Updated foundation total: $59,375,000


Harvey Relief: Corporate Pledges/Commitments (Table 1.1)

Biblical. That's the word that best describes the rainfall visited on Houston and southeastern Texas by Harvey, the Category 4 hurricane that slammed into Texas on August 25. The storm meandered over the region for four days, dumping up to forty inches of rain in many places and over fifty in some, becoming the wettest tropical storm ever to hit the contiguous United States.

The catastrophic flooding that folloFwed displaced nearly 40,000 people, prompted more than 17,000 rescues, and damaged over 200,000 homes (of which 12,700 were destroyed). The storm also caused at least 70 deaths and as much as $180 billion in damage, making it one of the deadliest and costliest hurricanes in U.S. history.

Support for relief and recovery efforts began to pour in within forty-eight hours and continued at an impressive clip for the next ten days. Here at the Foundation Center, our colleagues Andrew Grabois and Grace Sato have been tracking the corporate response, and thanks to their efforts, we're able to provide some good detail on nearly $189 million in corporate pledges/commitments of cash and product donations (see Table 1.1 below). We've also tracked more than $58 million in foundation contributions (including $10 million from the United Arab Emirates) (Table 1.2), over $9 million from public charities (Table 1.3), and more than $28 million from celebrities, sports figures, and wealthy individuals (Table 1.4) — for a total, as of September 9, of almost $285 million ($284,911,000) pledged or committed to Harvey relief and recovery by private individuals and the private sector. Impressive.

We realize we haven't captured every dollar committed to relief and recovery efforts — and are aware that a lot of individual contributions have flowed into J.J. Watt's Houston Flood Relief Fund that may not be represented in our tables — but we do think this is as comprehensive accounting as you're likely to find. We encourage you to send us additional information as you encounter it and/or corrections to the information posted below. You can email that info (and any questions you might have) to Mitch at mfn@foundationcenter.org.)

As we're posting this, powerful Hurricane Irma, which has already flattened Barbuda and caused serious damage to Antigua, St. Martin/St. Maarten, and parts of the British Virgin Islands, has the Florida Keys and south Florida in its sights. Our thoughts are with everyone in the region who was not able to evacuate (or chose to ride the storm out in place). We'll be back on Monday with updates as the damage reports start to roll in.

[We're continuing to update the table as commitments are announced. Please scroll to the bottom of the post for ongoing updates; see also Foundation Center's Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy site for Harvey-related grants. We're also posting commitments designated specifically for Hurricane Irma relief and for Hurricane Maria and the Mexico City earthquake].

Table 1.1 (Corp.) | Table 1.2 (Fdns) | Table 1.3 (PCs) | Table 1.4 (Inds)

Table 1: Company-Sponsored Foundations, Corporate Giving Programs

Grantmaker Type Recipient Amount Notes
Aaron's, Inc. Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $145,000 Employee donations ($45,000)
Abbott Fund, Corporate Giving Program Company-Sponsored Foundation, Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients, Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Value of donated healthcare and nutrition products ($100,000
Abbvie Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Multiple Recipients $1,000,000  
Academy, Ltd. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $2,500,000 Value of unified command center and shelter for first responders
AdvoCare International L.P. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000 Employee and customer match ($50,000)
Agropur, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $25,000  
Ahold USA (Stop & Shop, Giant Food of Landover, and Giant Food Stores of Carlisle) Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $250,000 Cash ($175,000), in-kind ($75,000)
AkzoNobel, Inc. Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $250,000 American Red Cross ($50,000), Hurricane Harvey Disaster relief Fund ($50,000), misc. recipient ($50,000), employee match ($100,000) $50,000 to Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund, $50,000 to miscellaneous recip, $100,000 employee match"
Albertsons Companies, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $200,000 Customer match
Allergan Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $100,000  
Allstate Foundation, Company Contributions Program Company-Sponsored Foundation, Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients, Unknown Recipient(s) $750,000 For Harvey/Irma relief efforts; includes employee and agency owners match ($500,000), student match ($250,000)
Amegy Bank of Texas Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program United Way Flood Relief Fund $850,000  
Ameren Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $25,000 Also employee contributions
American Express Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $250,000 For immediate disaster relief ($150,00), employee match ($100,000)
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000 Also employee match
American International Group (AIG) Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients, Center for Disaster Philanthropy $1,000,000 Immediate needs ($500,000), medium- and longer-term recovery efforts ($500,000)
AmerisourceBergen Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Unknown Recipient(s) $100,000 For Harvey/Irma relief efforts
Amway Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, International Red Cross $250,000 For Harvey/Irma relief efforts, including in Caribbean; also in-kind donations
Anadarko Petroleum Corporate Giving Program United Way of Greater Houston Relief Fund $1,000,000  
Andeavor Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, San Antonio Food Bank, Houston Food Bank, Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters, Team Rubicon, Salvation Army, Coastal Bend Community Foundation’s Disaster Recovery Fund, Greater Houston Community Foundation’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, One Star Foundation  (Abbott’s Rebuild Texas Fund), Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Employee match ($100,000)
Andersen Corporate Foundation, Corporation Contributions Program Company-Sponsored Foundation, Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Houston Habitat for Humanity $175,000 Employee match ($25,000), value of donated windows and doors ($100,000)
Associa Cares, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $50,000  
AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Americares $100,000 Also employee match and product donations as needed
Apple Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $5,000,000 Incudes additional $3 million for relief efforts benefiting people affected by Harvey and Irma
Assurant Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $100,000  
AT&T Foundation, Corporate Contributions Program Company-Sponsored Foundation, Corporate Giving Program Greater Houston Community Fund, American Red Cross, Coastal Bend Community Foundation, Multiple Recipients $300,000 Employee match ($50,000)
Atlanta Braves Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Programs American Red Cross $25,000  
Atlanta Falcons (NFL)/Atlanta United (MLS) Corporate Giving Programs American Red Cross, United Way, World Vision $1,000,000 To be split by the three organizations
Avangrid Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $50,000  
Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $100,000  
Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Employee match ($750,000)
Bayer Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $750,000  
BB&T Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000  
BBVA Compass Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $750,000
BBVA Compass Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $325,000 $75,000 employee match; will also raise $250,000 in employee and customer contributions
BD Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Americares, TBD $700,000 For victims of Harvey and Irma; $100,000 employee match for Americares; $600,000 in cash and product donations to TBD
Bechtel Group Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $500,000
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $25,000 Also employee match
BMO Financial Group Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000  
Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation Unknown Recipient(s) $125,000 Corporate contributions and employee match. Also product donations
Boeing Company Charitable Trust Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $1,000,000  
Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $200,000 Employee match ($100,000)
BP America Corporate Giving Program Company-Sponsored Foundation Multiple Recipients $750,000 Also employee match through foundation
Bridgestone Americas, Inc. Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Programs American Red Cross $1,000,000 For Harvey/Irma relief efforts
Campbell Soup Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Feeding America, Multiple Recipients $160,000 Value of product donations ($85,000), employee match ($25,000)
Camping World, Inc. Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $2,000,000 Match. Also product donations
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $100,000  
Canadian National Railway Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Louisiana Red Cross $75,000 $25,000 for employee match
Cargill, Incorporated Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients, Unknown Recipient(s) $250,000 Also employee giving via payroll deduction ($150,000), value of 150,000 tons of donated animal feed ($100,000)
CarMax, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000 Also employee match from CarMAx Foundation
Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Foundation Corporate Giving Program, Company-Sponsored Foundation Multiple Recipients $1,000,000 To be split among Direct Relief, Houston Food Bank, Operation Homefront, Save the Children, and United Way of Greater Houston
Casey's General Stores, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000 Employee match
Caterpillar Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $300,000  
CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V. Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $500,000  
CenterPoint Energy Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, United Way of Greater Houston $1,250,000 Includes $250,000 each to the three named recipients
Century Communities Corporate Giving Program Houston Food Bank, Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund $500,000 Houston Food Bank ($125,000), Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund ($125,000)
Charter Communications, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Value of donated public service announcements
Cheniere Energy, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $1,000,000  
Chevron Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $1,000,000 Also employee match
Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program United Way of Greater Houston $750,000 Employee match ($250,000)
CH2M HILL Companies Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $70,000  
Cigna Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $100,000  
Cincinnati Reds LLC Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $40,000  
Cisco Systems Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund $1,000,000 Employee match ($500,000 - up to $10k per employee)
Citi Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $1,000,000  
CITGO Petroleum Corp. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, Unknown Recipient(s) $5,000,000</a Part of a fund of up to $5 million set aside to provide aid to those affected
Coach Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $200,000 Also employee match
Comerica Incorporated Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000  
Conn's, Inc. Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $200,000 Match
ConocoPhillips Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, United Way of Greater Houston $5,000,000 $1.5 million to Red Cross in addition to earlier $1 million gift
Continental Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $50,000 Employee donations ($25,000)
Covestro LLC Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000 Also employee contributions
Crestwood Equity Partners Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross of Greater Houston $125,000 Red Cross of Greater Houston ($100,000), Matagorda County ($25,000)
CUNA Mutual Group Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program CUAid $50,000 For affected employees
Cushman & Wakefield Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients, Unknown Recipient(s) $100,000 Employee match ($50,000)
CVS Health Foundation, Corporation Contributions Program Company-Sponsored Foundation, Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Greater Houston Community Foundation, Salvation Army, Unknown Recipient(s) $175,000 Employee match ($25,000), Value of donated products
Daimler AG Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $1,000,000 On behalf of U.S. subsidiaries
Dallas Cowboys Football Club, Ltd. Corporate Giving Program United Way of Greater Houston's Flood Relief Fund $1,000,000  
Dell Inc. Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $500,000 Also employee match
DentaQuest Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Michael & Susan Dell Foundation Rebuild Texas Fund $1,000,000  
DENSO North America Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $50,000  
D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $50,000 For Harvey/Irma relief
Diageo North America, Inc. Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $200,000 Cash, supplies, and water
Dick's Sporting Goods Foundation, Dick's Sporting Goods, Inc. Corporate Giving Program Company-Sponsored Foundation, Corporate Giving Program DonorsChoose.org, American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $5,500,000 $1 million for community youth sports leagues, teams, organizations affected by Harvey/Irma; $1 million for up to $25,000 for eligible schools' sports programs; $3.5 million in donated clothing and footwear
Direct Energy, LP Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $25,000 Employee match
Discover Financial Services Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $1,500,000 For Harvey/Irma relief efforts ($1 million); cardmember donation matching program ($500,000)
Dollar General Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $50,000 For relief and recovery efforts across Texas and Louisiana
Dollar Tree, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $500,000 Affected employees ($250,000)
Dominion Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $75,000  
Dow Chemical Company Foundation, Contributions Program Company-Sponsored Foundation, Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Multiple Recipients $1,100,000 Employee match ($100,000)
E. & J. Gallo Winery Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000 Also employee match
Eli Lilly and Company Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $250,000 Also employee match and product donations
Entergy Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $500,000 Also employee match
Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $1,000,000  
Exelon Corporation Contributions Program, Exelon Foundation Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $350,000  
Exxon Mobil Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $8,500,000 Employee match ($6,000,000), value of In-kind donations ($2,500,000)
Facebook, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program CDP Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund $1,000,000  
FCA US LLC, FCA Foundation Corporate Giving Program, Company-Sponsored Foundation Multiple Recipients $200,000 Americares ($50,000), First Response Team of America and Team Rubicon ($75,000)
Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $7,000,000 Grants ($6.7 million), member donations ($275,000)
FedEx Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Cash and value of transportation support to deliver critical medical aid and supplies
FirstEnergy Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $75,000 Employee match ($50,000)
Ford Motor Company Fund Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $150,000 $50,000 for employee match for American Red Cross
Foresters Financial Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $50,000  
Fortis Inc. and ITC Holdings Corp Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000  
Friedkin Group Corporate Giving Program United Way of Greater Houston Relief Fund $500,000  
Frontier Communications<.strong> Corporate Giving Program Rebuild Texas Fund $1,000,000  
Frost Bank Charitable Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Unknown Recipient(s) $1,100,000 Match (up to $100,000 for affected employees)
FULLBEAUTY Brands, Inc. Corporate Giving Program Delivering Good $300,000 In-kind
Gap Foundation, Gap, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation, Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Includes a cash grant from Gap Foundation, donations from Gap Inc. brands, and employee-matched donations
General Electric Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $500,000 Also employee match
General Mills, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Feeding America, American Red Cross $150,000 Employee match ($50,000)
GoFundMe Corporate Giving Program Direct Impact Fund $100,000  
Google.org Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $1,750,000 Google.org and employee contributions
Guy and O'Neill Inc. Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $200,000 In-kind donation of diapers
H. E. Butt Grocery Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $100,000 Also customer contributions
HanesBrands Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $2,250,000 In-kind to Delivering Good and Glen Raven Logistics ($2,000,000 ), American Red Cross ($25,000)
Hanmi Bank Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $100,000  
HCA Healthcare Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, HCA Hope Fund $2,000,000  
Hercules Capital, Inc. Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $25,000  
Hess Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund $1,000,000 Also employee match
Hilltop Holdings Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $50,000 Also employee contributions
Hilton Worldwide Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $500,000  
Home Depot Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Convoy of Hope, Operation Blessing and Team Rubicon $2,000,000 For short-term relief and rebuilding needs; includes additional commitment of $1 million to support hurricane relief efforts
Honeywell Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $2,000,000  
Houston Texans Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation United Way of Greater Houston Flood Relief Fund $1,000,000  
Humana Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $250,000  
Hyundai Motor America Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Multiple Recipients $500,000 $200,000 for five children's hospitals in Texas; $300,000 to American Red Cross for Harvey/Irma relief efforts.
IBM Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $2,000,000 Cash and value of in-kind technology and services
Intel Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Unknown Recipient(s) $250,000 Employee match
Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $1,000,000 Also employee match
International Paper Company Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Feeding America $1,000,000  
J.C. Penney Company, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $25,000 Also help to affected J.C. Penney employees from the Golden Rule Relief Fund
Jefferies Group, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Also pledged to donate all net trading commissions from trading on Wednesday, August 30
Johns Manville Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $50,000  
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients (Red Cross and others) $1,000,000 Also employee match
Kaiser Permanente Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Mental Health America of Greater Houston $1,000,000  
Kansas City Southern Charitable Fund Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $75,000 Employee match ($25,000)
KBR, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program KBR Charitable Foundation Disaster Relief Fund $500,000 For employees affected by Harvey
Kellogg Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Feeding America $100,000  
KeyBank Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Houston Food Bank $100,000  
Kia Motors America, Inc. Contributions Program, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $300,000 For Harvey/Irma relief efforts
Kinder Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation United Way of Greater Houston Flood Relief Fund $1,000,000  
Kindred Healthcare, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $50,000  
Kohl's Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $2,000,000 Aid to Kohl's employees ($1,000,000)
Kroger Co Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Houston Food Bank $100,000 For every social share of the #KrogerCares post, the foundation will donate $5 to the food bank, up to $100,000. Also, customer contributions
Kubota Tractor Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Cash and product donations
Lee's Sandwiches Corporate Giving Program Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund $100,000  
Lennar Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation United Way of Greater Houston Flood Relief Fund $1,000,000 Also employee match
Lexmark International, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $50,000 Employee match ($20,000)
Lockheed Martin Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $380,000  
Louisiana-Pacific Corporation Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $1,000,000 American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the United Way of Greater Houston Relief Fund ($500,000), in-kind ($500,000)
Lowe's Companies, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $500,000  
Lundbeck Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, American Epilepsy Society, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Alzheimer’s Association, Parkinson’s Foundation $135,000 Includes $10,000 for employee match; $25,000 each for the five organizations
Lyft, Inc. Corporate Giving Program Greater Houston Community Foundation $100,000 Also customer contributions to Red Cross
LyondellBasell North America Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $200,000  
M&T Bank Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $250,000 Employee match ($100,000)
Macquarie Group Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $100,000  
Macy's Corporate Giving Program United Way of Greater Houston Flood Relief Fund $1,000,000  
Major League Baseball Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $1,000,000 Jointly with MLB Players Association
Marriott International, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $250,000 Also customer donations
MasterCard Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000 Also waiving any interchange related to donations to specific charities
Mattress Firm, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $2,000,000 Value of product, customer donations
Mazda North American Operations Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000 Together with foundation
McDonald's Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $1,250,000 Employee match ($250,000)
McKesson Foundation, Corporate Contributions Program Company-Sponsored Foundation, Corporate Giving Program Direct Relief, World Vision $250,000 Value of product donations, also employee match ($100,000)
Merck & Co., Corporate Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Hand in Hand Hurricane Relief Fund, Multiple Recipient(s) $1,250,000 For Harvey/Irma, also product donations
Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $500,000  
Microsoft Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000  
MillerCoors LLC Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $25,000 Also 50,000 cans of drinking water to Red Cross
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $300,000</a  
Mizuho Financial Group, Inc. Corporate Giving Program Habitat for Humanity $100,000  
Motiva Enterprises LLC Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $500,000  
Nationwide Insurance Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $500,000  
NBCUniversal, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients, Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Value of advertising time ($500,000?)
New England Patriots LP Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $1,000,000 Match
New York Community Bank Corporate Giving Program Team Rubicon $25,000 For hurricane relief efforts in the United States
New York Life Insurance Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Feeding Texas, Save the Children $350,000  
Nexstar Media Group, Inc. Corporate Giving Program Nexstar for Texas $2,500,000  
NextEra Energy, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $200,000 Employee match ($100,000)
Norbord Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Home Builders Institute $1,000,000 For training and educating new construction professionals to help rebuild after Irma and Harvey
Norfolk Southern Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Food Bank of Houston $100,000  
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $1,100,000 Includes $1,000,000 in in-kind donations
Novo Nordisk Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Houston Health Foundation $150,000 Also employee match to American Red Cross
NRG Energy, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients, Unknown Recipient(s) $2,000,000 Value of in-kind donations and assistance ($1,000,000)
NuStar Energy L.P. Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Salvation Army, San Antonio Food Bank $250,000  
Olin Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $250,000 Also product donations
Oncor Electric Delivery Company, LLC Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000  
ONEOK Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $500,000 For employees in need ($200,000)
Orbital ATK Corporate Giving Program United Way of Greater Houston Flood Relief Fund $100,000  
Pacific Gas & Electric Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $50,000 Employee match
Panda Cares Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Tzu-Chi Foundation $1,000,000  
Patterson Companies Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $70,000  
PenFed Credit Union Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $50,000  
Pentair Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $25,000 Also employee match
PepsiCo Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $1,000,000 Also Aquafina purified drinking water from local business units
Pet Supermarket, Pet Valu Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $100,000 In-kind
Phillips 66 Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Rebuild Texas Fund, United Way of Greater Houston Flood Relief Fund $4,000,000
Pioneer Natural Resources Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000 Also employee match
PNC Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $350,000 Employee match ($100,00)
Publix Super Markets, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $250,000 Also employee and customer contributions
Qualcomm Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients, Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 For long-term recovery ($500,000), employee match ($250,000)
QVC, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $250,000 Customer match ($100,000), employee match ($25,000)
Range Resources Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000  
Red Wing Shoe Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Good360 $500,000 Product donations
Regions Financial Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $100,000  
Renaissance Family Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $25,000  
Reynolds American Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $150,000  
Rite-Aid Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $100,000 Employee match to American Red Cross ($50,000), in-kind ($20,000)
Rooms to Go Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $2,000,000 Also product donations
Ross Stores, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $400,000 Also customer contributions
Royal Bank of Canada Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000  
Samsung Electronics America, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Donated products ($500,000)
Sanofi Foundation for North America Company-Sponsored Foundation Multiple Recipients $225,000 Also employee match to American Red Cross
Santander US Corporate Giving Program Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, American Red Cross $100,000  
Schneider Electric Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $100,000  
Scholastic Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $25,000  
Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $150,000 Also price reduction and expedited shipping for products bound for the affected areas
Scotiabank Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program Zina Garrison Tennis & Education Academy $100,000  
Sealed Air Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $125,000 Employee match ($25,000); also in-kind donations to NGOs
SecureView, LLC Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000  
Sempra Energy Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Americares, Unknown Recipient(s) $200,000  
Shell Oil Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $1,000,000  
Shiner Beers Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $500,000  
Sinclair Broadcasting Group (and affiliates) Corporate Giving Program Salvation Army $1,450,000  
Southern Company Charitable Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $100,000 Also employee match
Southwest Airlines Co. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $500,000 Also donated 100 round-trip tickets to Houston for Team Rubicon responders
Spectrum Housing Assist Corporate Giving Program Rebuilding Together $350,000 To assist with home repairs and renovations
Stage Stores, Inc. Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $750,000  
Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Houston ToolBank $75,000 Also a 2:1 employee match, in-kind donations
Starbucks Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $250,000 Also employee match
Strada Education Network Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000  
Stream Cares Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $25,000  
SubscriberWise, Ltd. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Americares $2,500  
Suntory Holdings Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $1,000,000 For recovery efforts in communities affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
SunTrust Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $100,000  
Sutter Health Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $250,000  
Target Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $3,500,000 Includes in-kind gifts
Taylor Morrison Home Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $250,000 Also employee and customer contributions
TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $500,000 Employee and customer match
TD Charitable Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $125,000  
TechnipFMC plc Corporate Giving Program United Way of Greater Houston Flood Relief Fund $1,000,000  
Tegna Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $100,000 Employee match
Tempur Sealy International, Inc. Corporate Giving Program Good360 $1,000,000 Value of bed donations
Tenet Healthcare Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $20,000  
Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Also donating proceeds from 9/1-9/3 games
Texas Instruments Incorporated Contributions Program Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $200,000 Employee match ($100,000)
Tokio Marine Holdings, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, All Hands Volunteers $250,000  
Toronto-Dominion Bank Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000  
Total Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $250,000  
Toyota Motor North America, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $3,000,000  
TransCanada Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000 Also employee and customer match
The Travelers Companies, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $500,000  
Tribune Media Company Charitable Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, American Red Cross $100,000  
TXU Energy Retail Company LLC Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $500,000 Assist customers who need help paying their electric bills in areas hit by Hurricane Harvey
UBS Financial Services Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $250,000 Also employee match
Under Armour, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Team Rubicon $50,000  
Union Pacific Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, Unknown Recipient(s) $250,000 Employee match ($100,000)
United Air Lines, Inc. Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, AmeriCares, Airlink or Operation USA $100,000 Match first $100,000 donated by MilagePlus members via United's fundraising page
United Rentals, Inc. Contributions Program, Inc. Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $200,000  
UnitedHealth Group Incorporated Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000  
Univision Communications, Inc. Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $500,000 American Red Cross, Catholic Charities USA, and Texas Diaper Bank ($250,000), in-kind services
UPS Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000  
USANA True Health Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation Multiple Recipients $130,000  
USTA Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient $500,000  
Valero Energy Corporation Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $1,000,000  
ValueMomentum, Inc. Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Team Rubicon $50,000  
Vectren Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation Multiple Recipients, Unknown Recipient(s) $75,000 Employee match ($25,000)
Verizon Communications Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $12,550,000 To four nonprofit agencies TBD; $2,500,000 to Hand in Hand Hurricane Relief Fund; $50,000 to Texas Council on Family Violence for agencies affected by Harvey
Visa Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $250,000 Also will double-match employee donations to Red Cross
Vistra Energy Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $25,000 Also clothing and toiletries
Vitol Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $1,000,000 Also employee contributions
Vizient Foundation, Inc. Company-Sponsored Foundation Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Corp contributions and employee match. Also employee, member, and supplier contributions
VSP Global Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $5,025,000 $25,000 for employee match; $5 million for VSP network doctors whose businesses have been damaged by Irma and Harvey
Walgreens Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $200,000 Also donating food items, first aid, and medical equipment
Walmart, Walmart Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross, Greater Houston Community Foundation, Multiple Recipients $30,000,000 ARC shelters (up to $10 million), GHCF ($2 million); includes second 2:1 customer match of cash and product donations up to $10 million ($20 million total)
Walt Disney Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $1,000,000  
Waste Management, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $3,000,000  
Watercrest Senior Living Group, LLC Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Samaritan's Purse, Unknown Recipient(s) $110,000 Fundraising campaign ($100,000)
Waterton Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $50,000  
Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $10,000  
Weatherford International, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Feeding Texas, Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund $50,000  
Wells Fargo & Company Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 For local nonprofits ($500,000)
Whataburger Corporate Giving Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross, Whataburger Family Foundation, Unknown Recipient(s) $1,650,000 Affected local employees ($1,000,000), Local food banks ($50,000)
Williams Companies, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program United Way of Greater Houston Flood Relief Fund $500,000  
Wolverine World Wide, Inc. Corporate Giving Program Multiple Recipients $2,600,000 Cash and in-kind
Wynn Resorts, Limited Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $3,750,000  
Xcel Energy Foundation Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $100,000  
Xerox Corporation Contributions Program/strong> Company-Sponsored Foundation American Red Cross $100,000 $25,000 each for Harvey and Irma relief, $50,000 employee match
Yara North America, Inc. Contributions Program Corporate Giving Program American Red Cross $100,000 For Harvey/Irma relief efforts
Yardi Corporate Giving Program Unknown Recipient(s) $1,000,000 Plus employee match
    TOTAL: $233,552,500  

 

September 11, 2017

Atlanta Falcons (NFL)/Atlanta United (MLS) announce joint contribution of $1 million to help victims of Harvey and Irma, to be split by American Red Cross, United Way, and World Vision.

Apple announces additional $3 million for relief efforts benefiting people affected by Harvey and Irma.

Home Depot Foundation announces additional commitment of $1 million to support hurricane relief efforts, raising total financial support to $2 million for hurricane aid this season.

Walmart announces a second $10 million 2:1 customer match of cash and product donations to support American Red Cross disaster-response efforts.

Updated corporate total: $203,827,500

 

September 12, 2017

Discover Financial Services, which previously had pledged $500,000 to the American Red Cross as part of a cardmember donation matching program, announces additional $1 million pledge to the Red Cross in support of Irma and Harvey relief efforts.

New York Community Bank announces a commitment of $25,000 to Team Rubicon for hurricane relief efforts.

Suntory Holdings announces $1 million donation to American Red Cross for recovery efforts in communities affected by Harvey or Irma.

Updated corporate total: $205,852,500

 

September 15, 2017

The BD Corporate Giving Program announces an employee match, cash, and product donations totaling $700,000 to Americares and organizations TBD for victims of both Harvey and Irma.

The Scotiabank Corporate Giving Program announces a $100,000 pledge to Zina Garrison Tennis & Education Academy.

The BP America Corporate Giving Program announces a $750,000 pledge in support of Harvey relief efforts.

The DentaQuest Corporate Giving Program announces a $1 million pledge to the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation's Rebuild Texas Fund.

Dick's Sporting Goods Foundation and Dick's Sporting Goods, Inc. Corporate Giving Program announce cash and product donations totaling $5.5 million for sports programs affected by Harvey and Irma.

The DentaQuest Corporate Giving Program announces a $1 million pledge to the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation's Rebuild Texas Fund.

The KBR, Inc. Contributions Program announces a commitment of $50,000 to the KBR Charitable Foundation Disaster Relief Fund in support of employees affected by Harvey.

The Merck & Co., Inc. Corporate Giving Program announces a pledge of $1 million to the Hand in Hand Hurricane Relief Fund and $250,000 to multiple recipients for Harvey/Irma relief.

The Red Wing Shoe Company Contributions Program announces product donations worth $500,000 to Good360.

The Rooms to Go Corporate Giving Program announces a $2 million commitment and product donations for Harvey/Irma relief.

The Scotiabank Corporate Giving Program announces a $100,000 pledge to Zina Garrison Tennis & Education Academy.

The Target Corporation, which previously had pledged $500,000, announces an additional $3 million commitment, including in-kind gifts.

The Verizon Communications Inc. Contributions Program, which previously had pledged $10 million, announces additional commitments of $2.5 million and $50,000 to the Texas Council on Family Violence to assist South Texas domestic violence agencies affected by Harvey.

The Xerox Corporation Contributions Program pledges $100,000 to the American Red Cross for Harvey/Irma relief.

Updated corporate total: $220,452,500


September 20, 2017

The Allstate Foundation, which previously pledged $500,000 for Harvey relief efforts, increases its commitment to $750,000 total for Harvey/Irma relief efforts.

The Amway Corporation Contributions Program announces commitments totaling $250,000 for Harvey/Irma relief efforts.

The AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP Contributions Program announce a $100,000 pledge for Harvey relief efforts.

The Bridgestone Americas, Inc. Corporate Giving Program pledges $1 million for Harvey/Irma relief efforts.

The Ford Motor Company Fund announces a $150,000 pledge for Harvey relief efforts.

The Kia Motors America, Inc. Contributions Program and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia Corporate Giving Program announce commitments totaling $300,000 for Harvey/Irma relief efforts.

The Lundbeck Corporate Giving Program announces pledges totaling $135,000 for Harvey relief efforts.

The Macquarie Group Foundation announces a $100,000 pledge for Harvey relief efforts.

The Norbord Corporate Giving Program announces a $1 million commitment for Harvey/Irma relief efforts.

The Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation Contributions Program announces $1.1 million for Harvey relief efforts.

The Novo Nordisk Inc. Contributions Program announces a $100,000 pledge for Harvey relief efforts.

The Sanofi Foundation for North America announces a $225,000 commitment for Harvey relief efforts.

The VSP Global Corporate Giving Program announces a $150,000 commitment for Harvey relief efforts.

The Yara North America, Inc. Contributions Program announces a $100,000 pledge for Harvey/Irma relief efforts.

Updated corporate total: $230,437,500


September 22, 2017

The Andeavor Corporation Contributions Program announces a $1 million commitment for Harvey relief efforts.

The Atlanta Braves Corporate Giving Program announces a $250,000 pledge for Harvey relief efforts.

The Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. Contributions Program announces a $500,000 pledge for Harvey relief efforts.

The Bechtel Group Foundation announces a $1 million commitment for Harvey relief efforts.

The Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc. Contributions Program announces a $200,000 pledge for Harvey relief efforts.

The Cincinnati Reds LLC Contributions Program announces a $40,000 commitment for Harvey relief efforts.

The D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc. Contributions Program announces a $50,000 pledge for Harvey/Irma relief efforts.

Updated corporate total: $232,352,500


September 25, 2017

The Canadian National Railway Company Contributions Program announces a $75,000 pledge for Harvey relief efforts.

The Hyundai Motor America Corporate Giving Program, which had pledged $200,000 for Harvey relief efforts, announces an additional $300,000 commitment for Harvey/Irma relief efforts.

The BBVA Compass Corporate Giving Program and BBVA Compass Foundationannounce commitments totaling $825,000 for Harvey relief efforts.

Updated corporate total: $233,552,500


Powered by Women: Philanthropy in the Age of Trump Needs to Address Gender

September 08, 2017

Pink_pussy_hatsAttacks on women and gender identity have been central to the policies coming out of the Trump White House. Whether it involves dismantling Title IX, rolling back access to reproductive rights, defunding programs that aim to end gender-based violence, or seeking to ban transgender people from enlisting in the military, this administration has made attacking gender equity a key priority. To respond effectively, the philanthropic sector, too, must make gender justice, in addition to economic and racial justice, a core principle. 

Women have been central to resistance efforts across the country and around the world, with millions participating in Day Without a Woman and the Women's March. In record numbers, more and more of us are becoming engaged in the political process, advocating with state and national elected officials, and running for office. Across the country, ever larger numbers of community leaders are working daily to organize our friends, families, neighbors, and communities. In fact, as I write this, I'm meeting with representatives of hundreds of other women's foundations at the Women's Funding Network conference in San Francisco. All of us are committed to defending democracy, restoring respect, and challenging bigotry, misogyny, and racism.

With the role of gender elevated in our new political normal, philanthropy must address gender and gender issues in its response. Looking to, learning from, and partnering with the women's funding movement will be critical to philanthropy's overall success in the months and years to come. It's a smart and necessary approach because women's foundations:

  • continually engage with and are accountable to the public, listen to our grantee partners and donors, are responsive to the current moment with our program strategies, and pivot quickly as needed;
  • develop and train leaders, building capacity at the local and state levels by supporting leaders who are rooted in their communities;
  • work across issues, making linkages between health, safety, and economic security;
  • are nimble and can deploy money quickly; and
  • can reach small, grassroots organizations, often making the first grants to organizations that go on to be critical to social justice movement advancement.

Today, women's philanthropy is responding to the current political moment in ways that the broader philanthropic sector would be wise to emulate. In this first year of the Trump administration, the women's funding movement is answering the urgent call to step up and support community leaders, centering those who are experiencing attacks, including women, immigrants, people of color, low-wage workers, and LGBT people.

And women's foundations do all this on a dime. When the women's funding movement started in the 1970s, less than 1 percent of all philanthropic dollars went to fund women's and girls' issues. Now, four decades later, that number has grown to somewhere between 7 percent and 9 percent. That's still way too low — especially when one considers the gains associated with investing in gender equity. Research has shown that when we invest in women, the benefits ripple out to families, neighborhoods, communities, and the broader economy.

Collaboration and coordination are key to the way we do our work. Two years ago, twenty-nine women's foundations from across the country gathered at the Obama White House to launch Prosperity Together, a five-year, $100 million commitment to create greater economic security for women and girls of color and low-income women. In the first year of the initiative, we made almost $30 million in grants, surpassing our goal while coordinating our efforts and learning from each other. The broader philanthropic sector can join this already-successful effort by partnering with us and adding resources to the table.

Last year, at the United State of Women Summit in Washington D.C., eight women's foundations came together to launch a Young Women's Initiative modeled on the successful initiative led by the New York Women's Foundation. Through the initiative, women's foundations in Dallas, New York, California, Memphis, Minnesota, Birmingham, western Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C., are raising up the voices of young women and girls of color, including lesbian and trans people of color, and helping to develop solutions that will improve our communities, for everyone.

Policy advocacy is a critical component of achieving systemic change. At the Women's Foundation of California, our Women's Policy Institute has taught more than four hundred and fifty leaders how to advance gender equity through policy change. In turn, these leaders helped pass twenty-nine laws that have improved the health, safety, and economic well-being of millions of people living in California. Among those laws is the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, which extends overtime protections to an estimated 500,000 domestic workers in the state. (Ninety percent of domestic workers in California are women, while 46 percent are immigrant women.) And this year, we launched a Philanthropy and Public Policy Institute, modeled after the Women's Policy Institute, to teach funders about the public policy process and help them be more effective grantmakers.

In this political moment, we all need to recognize the centrality of gender to our social justice efforts. From community foundations to national grantmakers to individual donors, philanthropy can leverage its resources for tangible, systemic impact in our communities by putting money and trust in women and making gender and racial justice a central part of their giving.

Headshot_Surina-Khan_for-_PhilanTopicSurina Khan is CEO of the Women's Foundation of California. Follow @SurinaKhan and @womensfoundca.

Philanthropy Teams Up With Institutional Investors to Fight Climate Change

September 07, 2017

Carbon_0As the world works to tackle climate change without the leadership of the U.S. government, there's a growing need to connect philanthropy to institutional investors and catalyze change at a pace rapid enough to be meaningful. Because philanthropy typically is associated with nonprofit activity, that combination may sound surprising. But because climate change represents such an extraordinary threat, it's imperative we compress the dynamics of innovation and scale through new approaches.

That's why Planet Heritage Foundation, where I am the executive director, co-created and funded the launch of Aligned Intermediary, a global investment advisory firm that works with institutional investors to channel capital into "climate infrastructure" sectors such as clean energy, water, and waste-to-value. These investors — sovereign funds, pensions, endowments, insurance companies, family offices, and foundations — represent more than $80 trillion in assets and are the only stakeholders other than governments with the capacity to invest at a scale that can begin to slow and, ultimately, reverse the world's spiraling carbon emissions.

With less than 1 percent of institutional capital currently being deployed to the climate infrastructure space, we simply do not have the luxury of letting markets organically dictate the timing of our climate change actions. The climate infrastructure industry needs to be exponentially ramped up over the next five to ten years, and that will require the development of new financial products, business models, and business practices. Put another way, we need to make institutional investing in climate infrastructure as easy and standardized as investing in global real estate — and we need to do it quickly. Patient capital, the kind provided by foundations and philanthropy, will be critical to those efforts, and jumpstarting the flow of it into climate change efforts is crucial.

After only a year, the Aligned Intermediary model is already demonstrating promise in this regard. Led by co-founder and CEO Peter Davidson, who previously ran the U.S. Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office, the organization has secured member commitments totaling $1.45 billion from institutional investors in five countries — the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Institutions making commitments include the Regents of the University of California, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, TIAA Global Asset Management, Ontario Public Service Employees Union Trust, the Wellcome Trust, the Church Commissioners for England, the Wafra Investment Advisory Group, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, and Cbus (in Australia).

The model is an entrepreneurial one, with the founding partners behind it each possessing a necessary asset: Davidson (domain expertise), Ashby Monk (advisory experience in the institutional investing world), and myself (a history of collaborative platforms for social change).

In partnership with Sarah Kearney (PRIME) and Alicia Seiger (Stanford University), we initially attracted grant funding totaling $500,000 from four philanthropies — the Hewlett Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the ClimateWorks Foundation, and Planet Heritage Foundation — for research that demonstrated the potential of our model. Planet Heritage then funded the first year of Aligned Intermediary's operations as a public benefit corporation with a $1.5 million program-related investment (PRI), which made it possible for Davidson to start assembling a team of experts and analysts.

In the year since it opened for business, Aligned Intermediary has closed two deals and advised on a number of others, resulting in about $150 million in climate change investments. That's an impressive return on our $1.5 million PRI and underscores the potential of the model with respect to climate infrastructure for both philanthropic and institutional investors.

But perhaps most exciting is that the organization almost immediately began receiving requests for opportunities from a broader group of investors — beyond the member institutions noted above, who are looking for market returns on transactions of $25 million and up. So a related vehicle called Aligned Partnerships was created to mobilize smaller investors for infrastructure investments that fall below the $25 million+ threshold.

In addition, the organization recently started building out a strategy to de-risk climate infrastructure investments in emerging markets by blending institutional capital seeking market returns with concessionary capital seeking specific social, development, and/or economic goals. And it is actively considering additional offerings to meet growing demand. In other words, the organization is evolving into a much-needed hub for climate infrastructure capital and, with a little luck, will begin to transition into a financially self-sustaining one in 2018.

As governments become less willing to bankroll transformative change, innovative funding mechanisms will be a critical component of our efforts to address climate change. Bringing foundations and institutional investors together to fast-track investments in climate infrastructure that also generate significant returns is one way to do that. If you're a foundation or institutional investor and would like to learn more about how you can participate, we’d love to hear from you.

Headshot_tracey_durningTracey Durning is the executive director of the Planet Heritage Foundation.

The Long Haul: Lessons From Charitable Responses to Previous Disasters

September 06, 2017

Disaster_response2-800x500While media outlets — both online and print — have been quick to offer suggestions as to how individuals should channel their charitable impulses to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey, many Americans have been inspired by the stirring images of neighbors and strangers lending a hand to help each other.

Alexis de Tocqueville, the Frenchman who documented our voluntary impulse during a tour of a young America in the 1830s, would nod knowingly if he were around to see the extraordinary outpouring of generosity we have witnessed since the first days of flooding in Texas.

Time and again over the last twenty years , I've watched Americans respond quickly and generously to a series of natural and man-made disasters. Corporations and foundations also have risen to the occasion, and the lessons they've learned from their responses are of considerable value as we all weigh how to use our resources to the greatest effect in the wake of a disaster like Harvey.

But I've also learned a few things of my own from the responses to disasters like Katrina and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and would like to share them with you.

First, businesses, foundations, civic and fraternal associations, faith communities, and the public at large must be prepared to invest in both relief and rebuilding efforts. Relief from the immediate suffering and dislocation caused by an unprecedented rain event like Harvey is, rightfully, the first order of business, and Texans know that the road ahead will be long and winding. But the rest of us must be willing to hang in with them for the long haul. As Texas governor Greg Abbott said earlier this week, "Digging out of this catastrophe is going to be a multiyear project for Texas."

After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast in the summer of 2005, Nancy Anthony, executive director of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, recounted how her community was still responding to the mental health needs of first responders and survivors of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City ten years earlier.

Because they're seen as entities with significant resources, corporations are always under pressure to "get the money out the door" after a disaster occurs. But many companies have discovered that a pledge or commitment with a dollar amount attached to it can be announced immediately while the actual funds are distributed for different phases of the recovery and rebuilding process over time. In fact, that was the course of action taken by the Toshiba Corporation after Hurricane Katrina.

It was also heartening to see the pledge of $36 million made by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation — the largest to date for Harvey relief and recovery efforts. In announcing the gift, Michael Dell noted that "[i]t will take all of us together, over the long term, to rebuild our Texas communities." Interestingly, the foundation has chosen to pool its resources with others by seeding the Rebuild Texas Fund under the aegis of a charitable intermediary, the OneStar Foundation. The approach is consistent with the one taken after 9/11 by the New York Community Trust and the United Way of New York City, when they joined forces to create the September 11 Fund with the aim of both maximizing the impact of their own resources and creating a vehicle for thousands of others eager to contribute to recovery efforts.

Second, given the scale of the destruction caused by Harvey and regardless of the truly impressive scope of the charitable response, charity cannot presume to be a substitute for action by government at the local, state, and federal levels. It is estimated, for example, that rebuilding the flood-ravaged parts of Texas and Louisiana will far exceed the $50 billion in funds allocated by the Congress to states in the Northeast after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 — and that figure is likely to increase as the full scope of the devastation becomes apparent.

Third, while the dollar amounts attached to relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts in Texas truly are staggering, small acts of kindness should not be discounted. The images of Houstonians helping neighbors through flooded streets will stick in people’s minds for decades. Something similar happened after the Indian Ocean tsunami created devastation from Thailand to Kenya in December 2004 and many tourists were stranded without access to telephones or other means of communication. However, American Express was able to track many survivors through their credit card charges and notified their loved ones back home, bringing unimaginable relief to countless families.

Fourth, national organizations like the American Red Cross are vital frontline responders. But the hard work of recovery and rebuilding inevitably falls on the shoulders of community-based organizations that are most attuned to local residents' needs. While most such organization are unknown to the general public and almost always are underresourced, they are in the best position to make a small contribution go a long way. In fact, after the Loma Prieta/Bay Area earthquake on October 17, 1989, the only large kitchen in the area in good operating shape belonged to Project Open Hand, the local Meals-on-Wheels organization for homebound people living with AIDS. Over the next few days, its staff and volunteers were able to get meals to many of the 12,000-plus residents of San Francisco's Marina district who had lost their homes.

Fifth, rebuilding efforts at their best must address underlying factors that contribute to a disaster's destructive impact, whatever they may be. While New Orleans cannot hope to avoid hurricanes in the future, the strengthening of the city's levees after Katrina should help to mitigate the damage and dislocation caused by future storms. Such efforts require stakeholders to raise their voices and make the case to government at all levels for the funding of preventive measures.

And finally, government, businesses, foundations, and the public must act to ensure that the lessons learned from previous disasters — and the stories of those who lost their lives or were profoundly affected — are not forgotten. In the fourth decade of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S., a number of local foundations were sufficiently moved to erect a memorial in a park in Greenwich Village to the 100,000-plus New Yorkers who have died from AIDS, while memorials and museums like those in Oklahoma City and on the site of the destroyed World Trade Center serve as much-needed reminders of those tragedies for future generations.

Recovery, rebuilding, and healing after a disaster know no timetable. However, small and big acts can ease the suffering of the survivors and help build stronger and more resilient communities. We just have to pay attention to the lessons learned by those who have already been through it.

Headshot_michael seltzerMichael Seltzer directs the New York Community Trust Leadership Fellows program at Baruch College's Marxe School of Public and International Affairs in New York City. A version of this post appears on the Philanthropy New York site.

Weekend Link Roundup (September 2-3, 2017)

September 04, 2017

Our weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

RosieClimate Change

Did climate change magnify the destructive power of Hurricane Harvey? Robinson Meyer The Atlantic's Robinson Meyer uncovers a fair amount of evidence which suggests that global warming is making a bad situation worse.

On the Yes! Magazine site, 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben talks with Jacqueline Patterson, director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program about the threat of climate change as a lens to understand many of the injustices confronting the planet.

Collaboration

Which of the following elements of effective collaboration is the most challenging: reaching consensus, bringing diverse perspectives to the table, taking meaningful action? Hop over to the Kauffman Foundation site and cast your vote, then read on to learn how "to apply the principles that matter to move to [a] place where collaboration can happen on a much larger scale." 

Data

Could data science be the key to unlocking the next wave of social change? Elizabeth Good Christopherson, president and chief executive officer of the Rita Allen Foundation, talks with Jake Porway, founder of DataKind, a global network of volunteers skilled in data analysis, coding and visualization, about changes in technology that are influencing the work of his organization and the prospects for accelerated social change.

Disaster Relief

The New York Times has a good roundup of federal assistance for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Looking for commonsense advice about the best way to donate to Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery efforts? This article by Pam Fessler on the NPR site is a good place to start.

In a post on Slate, Jonathan M. Katz explains why the Red Cross, the default disaster relief recipient for a majority of corporations and individual Americans, won't "save" Houston.

And in a post on the NCRP site, Ginny Goldman, founder and former director of the Texas Organizing Project, the Houston-based affiliate of the Center for Popular Democracy, reminds Americans that "[w]hen camera crews head home and it's time to rebuild Houston, the people on the ground will need organizing capacity and legal support to fight for themselves." 

International Affairs/Development

According to a Better Business Better World report, the UN's Sustainable Development Goals could open up an estimated $12 trillion in market opportunities in four economic systems: food and agriculture, cities, energy and materials, and health and well-being. But, writes Nazila Vali, seizing such opportunities will require many more and much stronger partnerships.

Speaking to a small crowd at the Overseas Development Institute in London, Rajiv Shah, the new head of the Rockefeller Foundation, shared the following math: If the top fifteen foundations in the United States pooled their annual giving, their collective contributions would not fill the gap left by President Trump's proposed 30 percent cuts to foreign assistance. Devex's Molly Anders reports on what Shah is doing to position his foundation for the realities of an "America First" world.

Nonprofits

What can a nonprofit board do to make sure its members are evaluated honestly for their effectiveness? In a post on his Nonprofit Management blog, Eugene Fram shares some good advice.

Philanthropy

Prompted by the recent events in Charlottesville, Nellie Mae Education Foundation president and CEO Nick Donohue argues that maybe philanthropy has become to comfortable in its response to, and efforts to combat, white privilege.

And in her monthly commentary, Kiran Ahuja, CEO of Philanthropy NW, echoes that sentiment.

On the Glasspockets blog, Nicole Richards, chief storyteller at Philanthropy Australia, the national industry association for giving Down Under, argues that when it comes to storytelling, philanthropy generally gets a failing grade. 

And the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy has launched a new blog, and it looks like it's going to be a good one. Content coordinator Abby Rolland explains what she and her colleagues hope to accomplish.

That's it for this week. Got something you'd like to share? Drop us a line at mfn@foundationcenter.org.

5 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Awareness Campaigns

August 29, 2017

Yell_at_earth_pc_1600_clrWith the busiest fundraising season fast approaching, nonprofit leaders everywhere should be spending much of their time thinking about their end-of-year fundraising campaigns. But when fundraising isn't top of mind, nonprofit leaders often turn their attention to another type of activity: the awareness campaign./p>

Awareness campaigns typically are defined as a sustained effort to educate individuals and boost public awareness about an organization's cause or issue. And in almost every instance they should:

  • target people who share your organization's beliefs and values;
  • educate those potential supporters about your issue or cause; and
  • generate new contacts for your donor database.

A well-executed awareness campaign will accomplish all three of those goals. But there's a caveat: awareness campaigns are easy to get wrong. And who needs that? So what should your organization be doing — and not doing — to raise awareness and acquire new donors? Read on to see whether you're making any of these common mistakes:

1. Your definition of success is too narrow; One of the most common misconceptions about awareness campaigns is that they should be mounted for the sole purpose of, well, raising awareness. But while an awareness campaign can be focused on awareness, there's actually a lot more involved: education (teaching the public about your issue or cause), explaining current events (and how they connect to your issue and efforts), and engagement (soliciting a low-level action on behalf of your organization or cause).

2. You didn't include an action in your materials. Regardless of your issue or cause, an awareness campaign should be designed to move potential supporters from interest to action — that is, from having a general interest in your issue to actually stepping up and doing something on behalf of the issue or cause. The thing to remember about actions in awareness campaigns is that they should be low level. While it's possible someone previously unfamiliar with your organization might be willing to sign up as a volunteer or donate on the spot, it's not usually the case (and shouldn't be something you count on). Instead, actions should be "stepped" like the rungs on a ladder: they should start small and increase in intensity/commitment over time, ultimately leading to concrete support (of time and/or money) for your organization or cause.

3. You're only focused on email signups. All awareness campaigns are about acquisition and building your constituency. But many nonprofit leaders make the common mistake of setting a goal of obtaining as many email addresses as possible — and nothing else. Unfortunately, acquisition isn't simply a question of getting someone to sign up for your email list. Why? Because these days everyone, nonprofit or otherwise, asks us for our email address — and we've become conditioned to comply. After all, what's the worst that could happen? It doesn’t necessarily mean we feel a deep connection to the company or organization...which is exactly what nonprofit and cause leaders hope for and need.

Instead of simply asking for an email address, you want to get potential supporters to take a low-level action on behalf of your issue or cause that reinforces their belief in your organization and its work. Consider asking them to sign a petition, share a video you've produced, or get their friends involved. Then build on that initial action with additional appeals aimed at deepening their engagement with — and support for — your issue or cause.

4. You spend too much time talking about your organization instead of your issue. Except in very special cases, people support organizations because they care about the issue the organization is working to address — not the other way around. Don't believe me? Consider the research. The top takeaway from our 2013 Millennial Impact report was that millennials, in overwhelming numbers, support organizations that are working to address an issue they are passionate about — not the other way around.

Now, consider your own behavior. Let's say you support the work of an organization like PETA. Did you become a supporter because you decided one day you liked the work they did, or did you become aware of PETA's work because you already cared deeply about the welfare of animals? Sure, PETA's work may have contributed to your awareness of and knowledge about the all-too-common mistreatment of animal species, but you wouldn't have paid attention to its messaging if you didn't already care about animals. The one preceded the other, and once you were moved to take action, you did so through PETA.

The same is true of most — if not all — donors. Your organization is the vehicle through which they're able to support an issue or cause they care about, and your role is, first, to make them aware of the issue itself and, second, to tell them how you're working to address it.

5. You forgot to measure (or you're measuring the wrong thing). When our clients complain about an awareness campaign that "failed," a lot of times it's because they didn't think they needed to track any metrics (after all, how do you measure someone's "awareness"?), or because they tracked the wrong metrics. Typically, this mistake is related to having too narrow a definition of what an awareness campaign should entail (see #1 above).

Thanks to things like social media, it's easy to turn to impression counts, engagement scores, and the like into metrics that help you track the effectiveness of your awareness campaigns. But while these kinds of metrics are a good starting place, they don't really tell you anything about whether the folks on the other end of your messaging became more knowledgeable about your issue or cause as a result of that messaging. In other words, don't confuse education with engagement.

So, what should you measure? Think of the cause engagement ladder as a sales funnel. Start with the end in mind (e.g., acquiring new donors or volunteers), then work backwards through lower-level actions and determine how many people are likely to take each step (or will be content to stay where they are). Let's say you want to obtain a hundred new supporters. For our purposes (and to keep the math simple), we'll estimate that each rung of the ladder has an attrition rate of 10 percent. In that scenario, you'd need 10,000 people to perform the lowest level action, of which 1,000 would move on to the next step, of which 100 would become move on to become a donor or volunteer. It might take a little more work on the front-end, but putting a solid measurement process in place will help you better understand what's working and what isn't — and how to move people along a continuum to become supporters of your cause.

So there you have it. Awareness campaigns might not be as simple to implement and measure as a fundraising campaign, but they can make all the difference in terms of keeping and growing your supporter base. If you haven't taken the plunge, what are you waiting for? September is the start of the sprint to the end of the year, and the more people you have rooting you on, the greater the chances you'll reach the finish line (and hit your fundraising targets). Good luck!

Headshot_derrick_feldmann_2015Derrick Feldmann is the president of Achieve, a research and marketing agency for causes, and the author of Social Movements for Good: How Companies and Causes Create Viral Change, now available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Weekend Link Roundup (August 26-27, 2017)

August 28, 2017

Our weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

Harvey-goes-82517_0Disaster Relief

Harvey has slammed into the Texas Gulf Coast and flooding from the rainfall accompanying the storm appears to be as bad, if not worse, than predicted. NPR has put together a very helpful list of sites and resources for those who would like to help.

Fundraising

The team behind the Fundly blog shares five tips aimed at helping your organization improve its crowdfunding goals. 

International Affairs/Development

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a framework for what might just be the most ambitious development effort ever. And if that effort is to succeed, every dollar contributed toward one of the goals needs to be spent effectively. On the Triple Pundit site, Mandy Ryan, managing director at Changing Our World, has some good tips for companies looking to align their citizenship work with the SDGs.

And what can we learn from UNLEASH, an "innovation lab" where a thousand young people from a hundred and twenty-nine countries spent ten days in Aarhus, Denmark, developing solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals?  Catherine Cheney reports for Devex.

Journalism/Media

Google News Lab, in partnership with ProPublica, is launching a new, machine learning-powered tool to track reported hate crimes across the country. Taylor Hatmaker reports for Tech Crunch.

We were saddened to learn of the death of Jack Rosenthal, the great  New York Timesman (and our UWS neighbor), at the age of 82. In a long career at the Times, Rosenthal served as urban affairs correspondent in Washington, deputy editorial page editor, editorial page editor, editor of The New York Times Magazine, and president of the New York Times Company Foundation. Eighteen months after 9/11, we had an opportunity to interview him as he was serving in that latter role  an interview that still has much to teach us.

Nonprofits

Does your nonprofit struggle to find board members eager to advance the work of your organization instead of their own career? On her Social Velocity blog, Nell Edgington shares three questions designed to help you determine whether a prospective board member is a good fit.

Good news: Stanford Law School's organizations and Transactions Clinic has launched a website that offers free access to hundreds of sample legal documents for attorneys who represent nonprofit organizations. 

Philanthropy

Many of today’s emerging mega-philanthropists aspire to "audacious" success. But audacious social change is incredibly difficult, and it never results from a single grant or silver bullet, write Susan Wolf Ditkoff and Abe Grindle in the Harvard Business Review; instead, "it takes collaboration, government engagement, and persistence over decades." Based on a deep dive deep into fifteen breakthrough initiatives, Ditkoff and Grindle share five elements that together "constitute a framework for philanthropists pursuing large-scale, swing-for-the-fences change."

In a finance-driven economy that of late seems to reward equity holders at the expense of almost everyone else, donor-advised funds, which give donors an immediate tax break and enable them to avoid capital gains taxes on gifts of appreciated stock, have become the fastest-growing segment of American philanthropy. But do they create incentives for providers to hoard rather than distribute charitable dollars? Nonprofit Chronicles blogger Marc Gunther takes a deep dive into the increasingly popular, and controversial, world of DAFs.

On the Impact Alpha site, Ross Baird, president of Village Capital, asks,:After Charlottesville, does impact investing even matter?

Poverty

Is poverty the result of "the wrong mind-set," as Ben Carson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, recently told an interviewer? On Valerie Strauss's Answer Sheet blog, Richard Rothstein, a former education reporter for the New York Times and author of the new book, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America, looks at the factors that really drive poverty in America.

Public Policy

The Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin looks at the dozen or so national monuments most at risk from an executive order signed by Donald Trump earlier this spring. 

Racial Justice

And in an op-ed in the Washington Post, Wes Moore, chief executive of the New York City-based Robin Hood Foundation,  wonders what his grandfather, who was born in South Carolina and chased out of the United States (along with the rest of his family) by the KKK when he was just six, would say about the resurgence of white supremacy in America today.

(Photo credit: Global Online Enrollment System)

That's it for this week. Got something you'd like to share? Drop us a line at mfn@foundationcenter.org.

Newsmakers: Laura Callanan, Founding Partner, UpStart Co-Lab

August 25, 2017

In its most recent Arts & Economic Prosperity report, Americans for the Arts found that the U.S. nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $166.3 billion in economic activity in 2015, prompting Robert Lynch, the organization's president and CEO, to comment, "Leaders who care about community and economic vitality, growing tourism, attracting an innovative workforce, and community engagement can feel good about choosing to invest in the arts."

But where were the impact investments? While the economic importance of the arts has long been recognized, arts-related organization and businesses often fly under the radar when it comes to comprehensive community development, and the relative lack of such investment in the creative economy was one of the things Laura Callanan was determined to explore when she established Upstart Co-Lab in 2016. What's more, Callanan — who majored in theater in college and began her professional career in the financial world, working as an investment banker on Wall Street after graduate school before serving as an endowment manager at the Rockefeller Foundation, a consultant to foundations at McKinsey & Company, and deputy chair of the National Endowment for the Arts — was well positioned to find out.

Earlier this year, Callanan and her colleagues at Upstart Co-Lab released Creative Places & Businesses: Catalyzing Growth in Communities (55 pages, PDF), which identified a $1.54 billion pipeline of more than two dozen projects administered by twenty-two creative places and businesses seeking impact capital. The findings came as a pleasant surprise to many in the arts community, and, according to Callanan, who was recently named to the NonProfit Times' Power & Influence Top 50 list, are a clear sign that the creative economy is ready for impact investment on a significant scale.

PND sat down with Callanan earlier this summer to discuss the findings of the report and the role philanthropy can play in catalyzing impact investments in the creative economy.

Headshot_laura callananPhilanthropy News Digest: The first thing that jumped out at me in the report was the almost complete lack of impact investment in the creative economy, despite the fact that the arts, in the most recent year of record, generated $704 billion in nonprofit and for-profit economic activity, or 4.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

Laura Callanan: Actually, since we published the report in April, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bureau of Economic Analysis have updated their assessment of how much of the U.S. economy is driven by arts and cultural production. It's still 4.2 percent of GDP, but the dollar total is $730 billion, $26 million more than the figure mentioned in the report.

That's the best number currently available on the size of the creative economy, of which the arts are a core part. The National Endowment for the Arts emphasizes music, literature, visual art, and activities related to artistic disciplines. That means it's light on things like fashion, food, furniture making, and some other areas that we at Upstart Co-Lab include in our definition of the creative economy.

PND: That only makes the lack of impact investing in the creative economy more surprising. Why hasn't impact capital been flowing to these areas?

LC: We don't yet have dedicated investment products, investment funds, or investment managers with strategies that make it easy for individuals who are impact investors — or for institu­tions like foundations doing mission-related investing — to target their capital to the creative economy. Yes, an individual investor can buy a share of stock in Etsy, which is a public company, and feel like they're supporting the creative economy. And a foundation can make a program-related investment with a nonprofit arts organization or creativity-based social enterprise. But these one-off investments don't equal scale.

Let me give you an example of why that's a problem. Stockade Works and Stockade Studios in Kingston, New York, were started by the actress Mary Stuart Masterson and her business partner Beth Davenport. Stockade Works is structured as a nonprofit. Stockade Studios is structured as a for-profit social-purpose business. They've been approaching foundations about supporting their efforts to create a film/TV/media hub in the Hudson River Valley. This could be through a grant to the nonprofit, or a program-related investment, or a mission-related investment in the social-purpose business. But a foundation has to know that Stockade Studios exists, so it needs to have an active deal-sourcing process. And then the foundation has to do its own due diligence, its own risk assessment of the oppor­tunity. Plus track performance on the investment once it's made. These are things that an investment manager could do once, and then make the information available to any number of potential investors. Not being able to get information easily is a disincentive to investment.

Today, there are products, funds, and strategies that facilitate impact investment in education, in affordable housing, in support of women and girls, in support of the environment. Not surprisingly, those are all big areas where impact investors are directing their money. And it's not that we can't tweak and re-deploy existing investment products and funds and manager strategies for the creative economy. It's just that it hasn't happened yet.

PND: Looking out five or ten years, would you expect impact investing in the arts and the creative economy to be a focus only for larger foundations, or will foundations of any size have opportunities to participate?

LC: Everyone's able to pursue impact investing, from the individuals who invest $20 in a Calvert Foundation Community Investment Note to ultra-high-net-worth individuals, and from small foundations to some of the largest in the country, like the Ford and Gates foundations. Once we have the dots connected, and the products, funds, and strategies are in place, it won't matter whether you're an individual or an institution, or whether you have a modest amount of capital to deploy or a lot of capital to deploy. People and institutions today should be able to support the creative economy with impact investments just as they can support the environment, affordable housing, education, and other important priority areas.

PND: Do the politics of the moment help or hinder what you're trying to do with Upstart Co-Lab?

LC: To my mind, they shine a bright light on the gap we're trying to fill. There was a story in the Wall Street Journal recently that said: "No matter what the Trump administration does to the Environmental Pro­tection Agency, impact investing for the environment cannot be stopped." Of course, we can’t expect that to be the case if the administration pulls the plug on the National Endowment for the Arts, because impact investing for the creative economy hasn't gotten off the ground. But that just underscores the significance of the opportunity.

The NEA deploys $150 million a year for the arts. That's far less than the $17 billion annually that philanthropy puts into the arts. It's certainly a lot less than $8.8 trillion of impact investing assets under management in the United States today. If we can target a small portion of impact investing assets for creativity — as much, say, as currently flows through crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo — it would be many times more than the budget of the NEA. As a country that cares about free speech, it's important that we support arts and crea­tivity at the federal level. But on a pure dollar basis, there are a lot of resources available in the impact marketplace that can be deployed in support of arts and creativity.

PND: What do you hope to accomplish with the Creative Places & Businesses report?

LC: I hope the report is the beginning of a robust conversation that intro­duces the concept of a "creativity lens" to impact investing and leads, sooner rather than later, to concrete action.

It is incredibly important that any definition of a creativity lens highlights creative places and creative businesses as an important long-time contributor to comprehensive community development. That's why we started the conversation where we did. There's a lot of discussion in the foundation arts community about cultural equity. If we want to shape a creative economy that is inclusive and equitable and sustainable, we have to back up our words with resources.

We know the future of the United States is the creative economy. We're no longer an agrarian economy; we're no longer a manufacturing economy. Today, what we really have is an innovation economy, an ideas economy. But what do we want that economy to look like in the decades to come? Do we want an economy where a few people get paid a lot of money to make apps, and the rest of us are driving for Uber and Lyft and don’t have a retirement plan or health benefits? Or do we want an economy that is inclusive, equitable, and sus­tainable; that is generating quality jobs at every level of the wage scale; and that fully celebrates the imagination and inno­vation that is present in every community in the United States?

PND: Where do you see things going with respect to impact investing and the creative sector?

LC: Upstart Co-Lab has had hundreds of conversations with impact investors and wealth managers over the last couple of years, and they all have clients who have been asking for impact investing opportunities related to arts, culture, and creativity. There's great potential here. Philanthropy did a lot to build the ecosystem of impact investing, social inno­vation, and social entrepreneurship. Arts philanthropy absolutely has a role to play in enabling this new creativity lens for impact investing. The work that philanthropy has done to build thought leadership, technical capacity, and awareness around creative placemaking has been an important early step.

PND: Has it been difficult to build on that early momentum?

LC: It's only just begun! What I'm excited about are the examples, those mentioned in the report and others that I learn about every day. In the last couple of weeks, for instance, I've had a chance to make site visits around New York City and visit Chicago. I see people who are ambitious and thinking big, who see the potential that can be unlocked by connecting impact capital with creative places and businesses. In Chicago, for example, there's an effort under way to redevelop the Avalon Regal Theater. Jerold Gary, an investor-entrepreneur has been actively working in the African-American community on the South Side, investing in residential housing. He had an opportunity to buy the theater — it's a landmarked 1920s property, amazingly detailed, with an ornately painted lobby. In its day, it was a large-capacity venue that drew A-list performers like Ella Fitzgerald and Michael Jackson, but it has been shuttered for quite some time. The good news is that they're on course to re-open the theater by the end of the year.

But it's not just about the theater. The Avalon is an anchor for a whole new cultural corridor on the South Side that's going to include retail space, incubator space where people can do creative work, and a museum of black music. The project is crucial to ensuring that the South Side has a stake in the emerging creative economy, because it's not just about nostalgia and the cultural expression of the past, it's about recognizing that creativity exists in every neighborhood, and that every neighborhood deserves places where people can develop and showcase their creativity.

PND: What role do you see for arts foundations in the development of an impact investing market linked to the creative economy?

LC: Philanthropy played a crucial role in establishing impact investing, social innovation, and social entrepreneurship. It was early philanthropic support that made it possible for people to explore these new ideas, build awareness and understanding, and establish standards, tools, and metrics that enabled the impact investing community to coordinate and grow. And now we see philanthropy taking the next step, bringing more endowment resources to bear on critical issues through mission-related investing. Foundations that support the arts, creativity, and innovation can follow this playbook for the creative economy.

For foundations that have been making traditional grants to the arts — but may not yet be ready to embrace impact investing as a tool to advance their mission — there's a lot to be done by supporting the growing ecosystem, investing in new ideas, investing in thought leader­ship and convening activities, in standards-setting and documentation of the types of projects we describe in the report. I wrote for Grantmakers in the Arts ;about what program officers can do, even if they don't have mission-related investing avail­able to them, and that includes things like making grants to build the ecosystem for impact investing in the creative economy and using their bully pulpit and convening power to spotlight what's happening in creative communities around the country.

One key thing program officers can do is bring to the attention of their fellow grantmakers the artists who are social entre­preneurs who are doing great work. They could be artists focused on the environment and climate change, artists who are focused on reforming the criminal justice system, artists who are focused on immigra­tion. You name it. Folks handing out social entrepreneurship awards always overlook the artist social entrepreneurs.

In short, philanthropy can play an important role in jump-starting the new idea of a creativity lens for impact investing and getting it to a place where the market can take it to scale.

PND: Have we reached a tipping point with respect to how philanthropy views impact investments in the creative economy?

LC: I certainly hope so. And we think there are three reasons why. One: creativity is cool. The excitement around creativity is palpable. You have mayors and governors commissioning creative economy reports and plans. They recognize that creative activity is going to be crucial to building wealth, ensuring social cohesion, and creating quality jobs in their com­mun­ities. When you look at surveys that ask corporate CEOs what will drive business success in the future, creativity in their workforce is top of the list. Just look at how many billions of dollars people have put through platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo — in small increments — to fund creative projects. Even people who don’t think they are particularly creative themselves are happy to invest $25 in someone else’s creativity, whether that's making a film, starting a band, painting a mural, you name it. Creativity is having a moment.

Two: at the same time, impact investing is having a moment. McKinsey & Company, the World Economic Forum, Forbes — all are telling us that impact investing is going mainstream. And as they launch first-time impact investing portfolios, there's no better time to encourage new impact investors to focus on an area that we know they care about: arts, culture, and creativity. As the field of impact investing becomes more devel­oped, there are more targeted opportunities for impact investors to put their money to work: for women and girls, organic food, education, housing, aging in place, sustainable fisheries. These are things that impact investors can support right now. The creative economy is simply too big to be left out of the picture.

The third reason this is a great oppor­tunity is because creative people gravitate toward solving problems, whether that means bringing jobs to the Hudson River Valley or launching an innovation district on the South Side of Chicago. In our research, we identified $1.5 billion in demand for impact capital over the next five years from creative places and businesses catalyzing growth in communities across the U.S. There are investable opportunities searching for values-aligned capital.

At Upstart Co-Lab, we think this is the right moment to apply a creativity lens to impact investing, and we're trying to bring as much energy, intelligence, and workable solutions to the challenge as we can.

— Matt Sinclair

Making Sense: Reflecting on Evaluations at the Jim Joseph Foundation

August 23, 2017

QuestionsanswerssignA core part of the Jim Joseph Foundation's relational approach to grantmaking is supporting the efforts of grantees to evaluate their programs — either through engaging an external evaluator or by collecting and analyzing data internally. The foundation has always believed this is a key part of good grantmaking, in that it builds the capacity of organizations to ask questions, to collect data, and to reflect on findings in a way that then enables them to make changes that increase the chances of success.

In this period of transition at the foundation, the grantmaking team has asked some pertinent questions regarding our own evaluation program: "What are we learning from the evaluation work we have supported over the past eleven years?” And, "Are there common lessons and emerging themes that we should recognize and reflect upon?"

To begin exploring these and other questions, the entire foundation team gathered for a full day earlier this year to share and discuss learnings and common themes discovered from a comprehensive review of nearly all the key evaluations and reports commissioned by the foundation since its inception.

To make the day as productive as possible, the foundation grantmaking team completed "homework" in the weeks leading up to the day-long session, dividing up the responsibility for reviewing a sample of forty-two evaluation reports, capacity-building and business plans, and field-building research reports — all commissioned and completed in the foundation's first eleven years — among team members and asking them to summarize the challenges, outcomes, and successes they identified in their respective documents.

This "day of evaluation reflection" (as we called it) turned out to be well worth the collective time and effort and, importantly, offered space for the team to discuss how the information and lessons that surfaced in our conversations might guide our future work. The summary below includes highlights from those discussions.

The foundation's effect on Jewish life and learning

How has the Jim Joseph Foundation influenced Judaism and Jewish peoples' approach to Jewish life and learning? This overarching question speaks directly to the foundation's mission. A common theme across many of the grants we have funded and evaluated is fostering community and positive relationships within the Jewish community. With few exceptions, evaluations show that participants in foundation-supported programs report feeling more connected to their Jewish identity and to Israel when those are the intended outcomes of the program. Since the DNA of the foundation includes a broad interpretation of and approach to Jewish learning, these programs encompass every kind of setting and activity, from camps, to schools, to service experiences, to Jewish outdoor food and environmental education. And, almost without exception, they have all proved to be effective while remaining aligned with our mission and values.

Lessons learned that have potential to inform foundation grantmaking

Several key themes emerged from the day's discussions that highlight opportunities for reflection, focus, and improvement:

  • Young adult communities can be brought together successfully through different interests and avenues that resonate and are relevant to the lives of young adults. Social justice and service increasingly are reasons for young Jews to engage in Jewish life.  And follow-on programming after an immersive experience is critical to deepening programmatic impact, creating community, and achieving positive outcomes.
  • Successful programs vary in cost and scale, and while immersive programs can be expensive and reach a relatively small number of people, they also tend to have a deep and lasting effect on participants. Other programs, such as doctoral programs in Jewish studies or education, are a longer play, with a relatively high cost per student or participant.
  • Mentorship and time for reflection are key elements in the success of many programs, particularly those focused on educator training. In addition, students value a reputable university program and also desire flexibility and diversity in their program options.
  • Capacity building with respect to evaluation, development, and growth planning can be important investments for grantees. As a relational grantmaker, the Jim Joseph Foundation is in a position to help an organization pivot and/or engage in long-term strategic planning. These plans must be right-sized, however, with realistic revenue targets and investments.
  • Relationships among organizations and people matter. There is value in collaboration and strength in building networks; both also are integral components of successful culture-change initiatives.
  • Some grants are designed to leave a system in place so as to create impact long after the grant period ends. Admittedly, this is an ideal scenario, but local and national funding partners with aligned interests can leverage their resources to both widen and deepen the impact of their grant dollars.

Challenges grantees often encounter

The day also brought to the fore some of the common challenges grantee partners experience.

  • The majority of challenges experienced by the foundation's grantees were related to marketing, recruitment, and retention. Retaining current participants can be just as valuable as bringing in new participants to a program/initiative. Another common challenge relates to hiring and retaining the right personnel — at all levels.
  • Fundraising for sustainability and growth frequently is a challenge — and many effective programs end up being not "sexy" enough for donors.
  • Whole school and/or organizational culture change is an effective way to create impact, but it often involves a lengthy process that requires significant staff capacity and buy-in.

Reflections on evaluation

In discussions about our evaluation support moving forward, the team discussed the importance of elevating the following concepts:

  • Asking good questions and being data informed in our decision-making. Related: evaluations help tell a story for newer foundation staff members about what is working and what is not.
  • It's important to create opportunities for funding to follow what is working — and evaluations can help inform both the "if" and "how" with respect to scaling a pilot program.
  • We should "celebrate failure" in appropriate ways and for the purposes of learning. It's also important to acknowledge that some "failures" actually turned into partial successes years after the grant and evaluation periods had ended. In other words, sometimes an evaluation simply captures a moment in time that may not be representative of the true impact of the program.
  • Field-building research reports frequently raise the profile of certain programs and certain issues — and dissemination is a very important part of the process.
  • Assessing return-on-investment from a grant or series of grants is a daunting challenge. Numbers (e.g., program participants) do not tell the entire story about the long-term effects or how someone's experience influenced their worldview and connection to their faith and community. As a result of its experience, the team reaffirmed our commitment to understand more deeply how Jewish life and learning is experienced and fostered.

Our team viewed the Day of Evaluation Reflection as a productive, enjoyable time for learning. And staff expressed positive sentiments toward the day itself in terms of the structure, presentations, and team-building environment — as well as the preparation process outlined in advance. The conversations we had were open and honest, and signaled that the current grantmaking team is willing to critically examine the foundation's past, current, and future work in a manner that emphasizes transparency, trust, and patience.

The exercise also raised a number of interesting and important questions that we will continue to explore. As is our tradition, we will continue to ask new questions and encourage dialogue as a means to advance our work and deepen our understanding of the most effective ways to practice and evaluate philanthropy.

Headshot_stacie_cherner_156x200Stacie Cherner is senior program officer at the Jim Joseph Foundation.

Embrace Racial Healing to Change Hearts and Minds

August 22, 2017

Hands_photo_from_iStockPrior to the displays of hatred and the tragic loss of Heather Heyer,
a young woman who seemingly embraced the virtues of healing, a transformation was taking place in Charlottesville, Virginia. This college town, where roughly 80 percent of the residents are white, culminated a lawful process in February when its city council voted to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee from a city park.

Passionate acts came from opposing sides, as opponents filed suit
to stop the removal and the city changed the name of Lee Park to Emancipation Park. But there was honest dialogue and truth-telling, the ingredients for healing. Neighbors learned more about one another, their culture, and motivations. But the progress was derailed.

The protesters who converged in Charlottesville were largely white men often perceived as privileged in our society, and among their slogans was "We will not be replaced" by immigrants, blacks, Jews, or homosexuals. Instead of feeling empowered, they were threatened and seemed in pain. Their hearts and minds needed healing.

But racial healing doesn't begin until you intentionally, respectfully, and patiently uncover shared truths, as Charlottesville residents had begun to do before the violence and turmoil. Shared truths are not simply the removal of physical symbols, like monuments. While that may begin to change narratives, it doesn't reach the level of healing that jettisons racism from the land or creates equitable communities. Racism has persevered because remedies ranging from public accommodation laws to Supreme Court rulings are limited in scope and reach: They fail to change hearts and minds.

A new approach is needed that penetrates the full consciousness of our society, draws in all communities, and focuses on racial healing and truth-telling.

Racial healing can facilitate trust and authentic relationships that bridge vast divides created by race, religion, ethnicity, and economic status. Only after truths are shared, racism is acknowledged, and hearts begin to mend will communities begin to heal the wounds of the past and together move forward to address the bias in employment, education, housing, and health that causes widespread disparities and denies opportunities to our children.

To be sure, racial healing is predicated not just on emotional encounters such as saying, "I'm sorry"; rather, it's predicated on truth-telling. But who's truth? We all have our own truths, and we need collective conversations to help us in reaching a common truth and vision for the future based on what we decide.

And while sharing our individual truths requires that we share stories, reaching a common truth is more than a blending of stories. It's about co-creating morals, principles, wisdom, and guidance that is written on our hearts and captured in our faith and how we treat each other as human beings. It is developed by all of us in the courtyard, in town halls, and in living rooms with family and neighbors. That's where we develop "the" truth.

At the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, we promote racial healing because it moves people to act from their hearts. Real change happens when people work together and build relationships. Rarely does it occur when it is forced upon communities by laws and rulings. Last January, WKKF coordinated an annual National Day of Racial Healing that inspired civic, religious, community, and philanthropic organizations to collaborate on activities designed to facilitate racial healing. But we can't wait until next January to embrace racial healing.

Today, with the threat of unrest billowing through communities, our country needs to heal. All sides must air their fears and anxieties, and articulate their visions for a future where all children can thrive.

After centuries of racial hierarchy, all sides have been wounded. Whenever a policy or decision gives privileges to some and not others or perpetuates injustices, the collective community suffers, and part of our common humanity is lost. It leaves some wounded and unable to work toward our collective interest.

What is inspiring is the healing that is happening around the country. Earlier this year, two hundred people gathered at the Chicago Theological Seminary for an extraordinary day of racial healing. People of all races, genders, religions, and ethnicities gathered in healing circles to share their "truths" on the racism they endured or (consciously or unconsciously) unleashed on others. The healing circles were sanctuaries for truth-telling and helped people see one another, acknowledge differences, and begin to build authentic relationships.

WKKF, through our Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) framework, is supporting racial healing in fourteen places where the framework is being implemented. Since 2010, when our America Healing initiative launched, WKKF has actively promoted racial healing and supported racial healing practitioners who are available to help communities, concluding that:

  • Racial healing accelerates human capacity for resilience, for embracing one another, and for reconnecting people who previously had their identities denied back to their roots, culture, language, and rituals.
  • The focus of racial healing is our "collective humanity" and lifting up that which unites us rather than that which divides us, while discovering, respecting, and indeed honoring our unique experiences.
  • Racial healing will facilitate narrative change, which will help everyone in communities articulate the truth about their collective histories and be exposed to full, complete, and accurate representations of themselves and their communities.

Headshot_montgomery_tabronCommunities must heal so they can grow. Let's heal and build sustainable progress neighbor by neighbor, community by community, to transform America so all children can have a brighter future.

La June Montgomery Tabron is president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Social Innovation Exchange and PND: A New Partnership

August 21, 2017

Social_innovationThe social and environmental challenges confronting societies globally are growing in scale and complexity. And no single organization, private or public, is equipped to fight these challenges alone. Which is why it's more important than ever for private- and public-sector organizations to seek and find alignment between their various activities and efforts.

The UK-based Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) is the world's primary network focused on social innovation. Comprised of more than sixteen thousand people who believe in innovation for societal good, SIX works to connect people and organizations globally, build innovation capacity, and provide strategic foresight to the social innovation field. It works to achieve those goals in three ways: 1) through organizational capacity building; 2) by fostering networks of social innovation leaders; and 3) through learning interventions.

Over the past two years, SIX has created something called the SIX Funders Node, a global collective of more than sixty foundations willing to share, learn, and engage with one another in order to be more innovative in their approach and practice.

Through the Funders Node, SIX orchestrates a global peer-to-peer learning exchange, hosts unique activities across the world supporting funders as they work through various challenges, and brokers strategic relationships and partnerships between foundations.

Areas of focus for the initiative have included the roles of foundations in social innovation and understanding how they can best leverage change; the different models and methods of collaboration; understanding the power dynamics within philanthropy; and impact and risk. Last year, SIX hosted a retreat devoted to funding systems change that explored, among other things, definitions of systems change and provided foundation representatives in attendance an opportunity to work through many of the challenges they face internally and to share best practices.

Hosted in collaboration with the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, in partnership with the Breuninger Foundation, the BMW Foundation, and Community Foundations of Canada, our next convening will be a retreat, August 20-23, in Canada focused on the topic "Aligning for Impact."

Following the retreat, SIX and Philanthropy News Digest will partner to share key insights and learnings from the retreat through a series of blog posts, interviews, and other materials, with a focus on three broad themes:

  • Impact
  • Alignment
  • Innovation

Like many of you, members of the Social Innovation Exchange are working to address urgent challenges and believe that there is enormous potential and power in peer learning. We're looking forward to sharing details about the challenges and pain points we face, as well as highlighting new approaches to alignment and opportunities for innovation going forward, and we sincerely hope you’ll join us and participate in that conversation. Stay tuned to this space!

Jordan_Junge_for_PhilanTopicJordan Junge (jordan.junge@socialinnovationexchange.org) is program director at SIX.

Weekend Link Roundup (August 19-20, 2017)

August 20, 2017

Our weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

206_460x460_Front_Color-NACurrent Affairs

The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University has put together a partial list of social impact leaders who spoke out against the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend. The list includes statements by Elisa Villanueva Beard  (CEO, Teach for America), Ben Hecht (CEO, Living Cities), Danyelle Honoré, (President, UVA chapter of the NAACP), Jonathan Reckford (CEO, Habitat for Humanity International), and Kevin Trapani (CEO, Redwoods Group).

Half a dozen Connecticut Council on Philanthropy members also weighed in, including Michael Johnston (President/CEO, Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford), Martha McCoy (Executive Director, Everyday Democracy), and Frances G. Padilla (President, Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut)

Other social sector leaders who made powerful statements include Jean Case (CEO, Case Foundation),  Kristen Clarke (President/ED, Lawyers Committe for Civil Rights Under Law), Aaron Dorfman (Executive Director, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy), Grant Oliphant (President, Heinz Endowments), and Rip Rapson (CEO, Kresge Foundation).

The violence in Charlottesville prompted the American Civil Liberties Union, on Thursday, to announce that it would no longer represent white supremacist groups that protest with guns. The PBS NewsHour's Joshua Barajas has the story.

In the Daily Dot, Andrew Wyrich explains why there's no such thing as the "alt-left."

On her Philanthropy 2173 blog, Lucy Bernholz reminds us that "Racism is a problem created by white people. People of color suffer, but white people are the ones who created it, benefit from it, perpetuate it, and, I believe, also suffer from it. None of us are free when some are not. It's not enough to say this, we need to act to change it, persistently and continuously...." 

Education

From 2003-2015, U.S. reading scores on the two most respected achievement tests, the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) and the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment), remained essentially flat. So why aren't we making any progress? The answer, according to Paula J. Schwanenflugel, PhD, and Nancy Flanagan Knapp, PhD, writing in Psychology Today, is pretty straightforward: poverty.

Environment

The Society of Environmental Journalists is proud to present the winners of the 2016-2017 Awards for Reporting on the Environment. Congratulations to the winners!

International Affairs/Development

Convinced that the United States is losing the war of ideas in the Middle East, the Center for American Progress has issued a new guide to countering extremism in the region.

So you want to change the world and know exactly how to do it? Entrepreneur magazine's Jeffery Hayzlett shares five things you should consider before you get started.

And in Good Housekeeping, Melinda Gates, who knows a thing or two about the subject, shares her top ten tips for making the world a better place.

Philanthropy

On his Nonprofit Chronicles blog, Marc Gunther profiles Unorthodox Philanthropy, a program of the San Francisco-based Lampert Byrd Foundation that, in the words of founder Mark Lampert, looks for "opportunities with the greatest potential exist where others aren't looking."

In Fast Company, Ben Paynter reports on the work of a handful of foundations, including Ford and Omidyar Network, that are leading the charge into the brave new world of impact investment. And The Economist reports that even the Catholic Church is dipping its toes into the impact investing water.

The always level-headed Bruce DeBoskey has some good advice for families looking to engage "rising-generation members" in a mutigenerational family endeavor like philanthropy.

And Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors has three tips for NextGen philanthropists.

That's it for this week. Got something you'd like to share? Drop us a line at mfn@foundationcenter.org.

[Review] 'Teach to Work: How a Mentor, a Mentee, and a Project Can Close the Skills Gap in America'

August 17, 2017

When you're able to do something that sparks your passion and leverages your skill set, it feels pretty good. When you can make a living doing it, it's even better. But getting to that place can be hard; you have to have opportunities to learn a new skill or stretch a new muscle, learn from the experience, and improve. I've been lucky to have had some great mentors, informal and formal, who have guided me through such learning experiences — from a cross country coach who taught me that slow and steady will get you to the finish line (if not always win the race), to entrepreneurial friends who offered marketing tips for my side hustles, to my parents, who stressed to me the importance of writing thank-you notes. Many young people, however, aren't as lucky to have received the kind of coaching that can give them the confidence and skills to tackle new or unexpected challenges. That's where mentoring programs can provide significant value; they provide learning opportunities to young people who may not otherwise have them.

Book_teach_to_work_3dPatty Alper is a seasoned mentor with fifteen years of experience mentoring inner-city high school students. She's "adopted" classrooms through Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), an international nonprofit organization that I first learned about in the Mary Mazzio documentary Ten9Eight. The film showcases the transformational learning that happens when students are given the opportunity to create a business, benefit from a curriculum that allows them to dive into critical skills, and have a supportive adult serve as their mentor during the process. As an NFTE donor and board volunteer, Alper wanted to "allow supporters [of the organization] to go beyond financial giving and share their knowledge as well," so she created an Adopt-a-Class program that recruits professionals to sponsor an entrepreneurship class, work with teachers, and commit to mentoring students for a full academic year. I remember being struck by how many of the kids featured in Ten9Eight went from expressing little hope about their future to confidently tackling and successfully delivering a big on-stage presentation about the businesses they had created. Seeing the obvious pride and sense of accomplishment in these young people, it's easy to overlook the other piece of the story, which, I confess, I had done until I picked up Alper's new book, Teach to Work: How a Mentor, a Mentee, and a Project Can Close the Skills Gap in America. But once I started reading, it didn't take long for me to be persuaded that mentoring involves both art and science, and that done well, it can truly unlock the potential of underserved youth.

For many, the act of mentoring is something one just does, based on one's hard-won experience. But in her book, Alper takes a very granular, how-to approach to mentoring, starting with this key bit of advice: one of the best things a mentor can do is to listen and not share everything she has learned over the years with her mentee. (Note: Alper relies on an adult-student framework throughout the book and, unfortunately, does not touch on any other kind of mentor-mentee relationship. As the book is based on a particular model of mentorship, so, too, does this review.)

"The fastest way to turn kids off is to tell them how great you are," Alper writes. Instead, mentors should relate to their mentees as "peers." You do that, she adds, by telling them, "[Y]ou are the boss. You can accept or reject my suggestions because this is your project. What I bring to bear is experience, ideas, and support. We can brainstorm, but the ultimate decisions here are yours."

That's only a start, though. There are lots of other things mentors need to be mindful of — from body language, to support systems, to hopes and dreams — and for each, Alper lays out solid advice designed to help mentors approach the challenge at hand in a manageable way. In a chapter about lesson planning, for example, there's a terrific line-by-line guide that adapts the Harvard Business School-developed case method into a ninety-minute classroom exercise. It's hard to tell accomplished adults they may not be good teachers or thoughtful lesson planners (a truth many of us are happy to acknowledge about others, though not ourselves), and so Alper doesn't try to tell us; she shows us instead with tools that no mentor ought to ignore.

But while her advice is grounded in deep experience and mostly useful, there are elements of it that feel outdated. A very thoughtful section on key components to establishing a one-on-one dialogue ended up falling flat for me, as there was no mention of asking a mentee herself if she had any ground rules she'd like to suggest. Without such reciprocity, the dialogue you hope to have often ends up a one-way street. Another example: the advice in a section about preparing a student for an interview ("[W]omen should wear dress slacks or a knee-length skirt with a blouse and possibly a blazer, or a dress...also wear low heels") and, in a later section, about dressing for presentations ("What is inappropriate? Clothing that is too sexy, too baggy, too dirty, too ripped, too short, or too bare") felt too prescriptive and gendered. Like most of the  examples Alper provides in the book, this one is more appropriate for "traditional" professions and contexts, even though the book purports to be about preparing students to pursue any passion and path. And finally, Alper tries so hard at times to be actionably prescriptive that she loses sight of the human touch that, as she reminds readers elsewhere, is essential to successful mentoring. (Do kids actually say, "How do you do?")  

That raises another question: Beyond the grateful letters from students she cites throughout the book, did Alper consult young people about what works (and what doesn't) when writing it? After all, feedback loops are embedded in the mentorship process for mentees, but I wonder whether the same can be said for mentors, or whether the inevitable power differential in any mentor-mentee relationship makes that difficult. And how might authentic feedback be obtained and heard? While there's a nice suggestion for reflective debriefing at the end of each program (a group meal outside the school setting, with some reflective questions kept handy on an index card), it doesn't seem to provide sufficient space for meaningful critique. And still another question I had is whether the pay-to-mentor model she discusses actually limits the diversity of the mentor pool? While this isn't the only model Alper discusses, it is prominent and many examples in the book seemed to refer to careers in which mentors likely could afford to sponsor a class. Which begs the question: Is there a bias in favor of mentoring among people who are paid well, have lots of social capital, and have the wherewithal to be flexible with their time and choices? And how well does such a pool of mentor candidates reflect students' passions and needs?

Those questions aside, Teach to Work left me with a renewed sense of gratitude for the mentors I've had, and pride in the mentoring I've done. There are lessons in the books that anyone — young or old, accomplished or with as-yet–unrealized potential — will find relevant to them in some way. And perhaps most powerful is the assertion implied by the book's subtitle: that the mentoring young people receive can be a lever to help close America's skills gap and bring increased diversity and talent to the workforce. As Alper's book describes and the aforementioned Ten9Eight brings to life, project-based mentorship can be transformational, and, done at scale, there's no doubt it would be a gamechanger. And, besides, this millennial is into placing big bets on solutions that will make the world a better place.

To volunteer as a mentor — and commit to doing it well – is about wanting to create change and catalyze potential. I would suggest there's an added value proposition: maybe mentoring a young person isn't so much a one-way learning opportunity as it is a way for us all to get smarter. Alper certainly acknowledges how much she has learned and grown from her experiences in the classroom. And as I've seen through any number of youth grantmaking programs, philanthropy as a sector has much to learn from students in terms of how they approach community needs assessments and discussions of impact. What more could we learn and apply to our own careers by pairing up with a young person who is wrestling with difficulties in her life and, with our help, coming up with her own solutions to those challenges?

Jen Bokoff is director of stakeholder engagement at Foundation Center. For more great reviews, visit the Off the Shelf section in PND.

Two New Data Tools for the Open Ag Sector

August 14, 2017

The following post is part of a year-long series here on PhilanTopic that addresses major themes related to the center's work: the use of data to understand and address important issues and challenges; the benefits of foundation transparency for donors, nonprofits/NGOs, and the broader public; the emergence of private philanthropy globally; the role of storytelling in conveying the critical work of philanthropy; and what it means, and looks like, to be an effective, high-functioning foundation, nonprofit, or changemaker in the twenty-first century. As always, we welcome your thoughts and feedback.

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You work at a foundation, government agency, or nonprofit committed to reducing poverty and hunger. Recognizing the importance of agriculture for achieving this goal, you've decided to focus on improving the lives of smallholder farmers, who represent a significant portion of those living on less than $2 a day. You know which regions you want to work in, and now you're trying to determine which value chains you should invest in to create the greatest impact. As part of the Initiative for Open Ag Funding, Foundation Center has two new tools to help you answer that question.

First, an acknowledgment: such a decision requires an analysis of many, many data points. Among the factors to consider are: Which crops are produced by smallholder farmers? Which of those crops have the most potential to increase farmers' income? What does the market for these crops look like? What is the potential for significant productivity gains? Is there the infrastructure needed to get these goods to market? Who else is investing in these particular value chains?

The Initiative for Open Ag Funding focuses on this last question: Who is doing what, where, with whom, and to what effect? And rather than reinvent the wheel, the initiative uses the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) data standard as its starting point. IATI aims to improve the transparency of international development and humanitarian resources and activities and has been widely adopted by bilateral and multilateral donors as well as many other organizations. To date, two of Foundation Center's major contributions have been: 1) filling a gap in IATI data; and 2) developing a tool to enrich that data so it better meets the needs of the agriculture sector.

Shedding Light on Foundation Funding for Agriculture

Foundation Center has been collecting and sharing data on foundations' grantmaking for decades. This data has been used to ground philanthropy research, inform grant prospecting, and foster collaboration. Given our comprehensive data on foundation grants and the fact that few foundations have published their data to IATI, we have opened our data on funding for international agriculture and food security activities. This data represents $4.3 billion worth of grants from nearly 1,900 funders to more than 3,000 organizations around the world. In addition to posting the data on the IATI Registry,* we've also made it accessible through a new and publicly available Open Agriculture Data map.

OpenAg_tools_grino

Making IATI Data More Relevant for Agriculture

At the moment, most data published to IATI is coded with OECD DAC purpose codes or the organization's own subject taxonomy. Early conversations with agricultural practitioners revealed, however, that these categories are not granular enough. In response, we developed an open source agriculture autocoder for the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) AGROVOC thesaurus. Enter a project title, description, or any other text and, using machine learning, the OpenAgClassifier will return codes for terms such as rice or bananas or goats. (You can learn more about our approach to open source in this blog post by my colleague, Dave Hollander.) As a result, what would have been a time-consuming and probably manual process of identifying who is working in, say, the rice value chain is now much faster and easier.

Foundation Center and the Open Ag Funding team know that data and tools alone won't lead to smarter investments or more collaboration. Our goal is simply to give organizations a better starting point for making decisions about where and how to direct their resources. Given the progress of the open data movement, a lack of data or good tools shouldn't be a major reason why organizations duplicate efforts, why Organization A didn't know to go to Organization B to learn more about their approach, or why an organization really making a difference is invisible to those that have the means to support it. Our hope is that by putting the right data and tools at their disposal, we can make it easier for organizations to focus on the harder things about getting development right.

Headshot_laia-grino(*Note: To avoid duplication of data on the IATI Registry, we have removed funders already publishing to IATI from our IATI data.)

Laia Griñó is director of data discovery at Foundation Center. For more posts in the FC Insight series, click here.

[Review] 'The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class — and What We Can Do About It'

August 10, 2017

In The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation, and Failing the Middle Class — and What We Can Do About It (Basic Books: 2017), urban studies theorist Richard Florida offers a mea culpa of sort for the back-to-the-city movement he has long championed. In books such as The Rise of the Creative Class, and How It's Transforming Work, Leisure and Everyday Life (Basic Books, 2002) and Cities and the Creative Class (Routledge, 2005), Florida argued that, if cities hoped to thrive in a competitive global economy, they needed to attract and retain talent — "[t]he knowledge workers, techies, and artists and other cultural creatives who [make] up the creative class.:

Book_the_new_urban_crisis (002)If nothing else, Florida's timing was impeccable. By 2000, the ranks of the creative class in the United States had grown to 40 million — a third of the U.S. workforce — and many of its members had left the suburban or rural communities of their childhood and headed to cities such as New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle, where they moved into neighborhoods that had been written off by the professional class and city officials. That story was repeated around the globe, as knowledge workers and creatives flocked to already vibrant cities such as London, Paris, and Tokyo; booming Asian metropolises such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Seoul; and sprawling, emerging mega-cities such as Lagos, Mexico City, and Mumbai.

Indeed, today — in a stunning illustration of the power of urban centers to transform societies through what Florida dubs the "3Ts of economic development" (technology, talent, and tolerance) — more than half the population of the globe lives in cities, and the United Nations estimates that by 2050 upwards of 70 percent of the global population will live in urban areas. Little wonder, then, that in recent decades urbanists have proclaimed "the triumph of the city" (the title of an excellent book by Harvard economist Edward Glaeser), or that the future of humanity is urban.

And yet this newfound appreciation for the richness, convenience, and stimulation provided by city living has not been without costs, as gentrification, rising rents, and real estate speculation have squeezed blue-collar and service workers out of neighborhoods and livelihoods, contributed to the re-segregation of public schools, and driven huge increases in wealth and income inequality. It is an economic failure that we should have seen but didn't, and from the Brexit vote in England, to the election of Donald Trump, to the growing popularity of far-right populist parties in Europe, we are living with the consequences of that failure. The New Urban Crisis is Florida's attempt to diagnose where things went wrong — and offer a prescription for how we can recover an urbanism that works for all people, not just elites and the creative class.

If that's too conceptual, allow me an anecdote by way of illustration: As I was finishing Florida's book in Washington Square Park in Manhattan earlier this summer, surrounded on all sides by buildings belonging to New York University (where Florida is a fellow), I could see, firsthand, his 3Ts at work. Across the way, diverse crowds of college students walked to their next class or appointment while sending photos to friends on the latest app; on the corner, a well-heeled couple waited impatiently for their Uber driver; and, a group of foreign tourists were listening to their guide about the history of the square. To the "urban optimist," it was a perfect illustration of "the stunning revival of cities and the power of urbanization to improve the human condition," while for the pessimist, it might suggest just how profoundly "modern cities [are] being carved into gilded and virtually gated areas for conspicuous consumption by the super-rich...."

And that's not the half of it. The juxtaposition of boundless opportunity and desperate poverty found in so many cities has led to mounting alienation and resentment. Indeed, Florida, who counted himself among the optimists "not too long ago," argues that to truly understand this new urban crisis (as opposed to the mid-twentieth-century urban crisis of deindustrialization and white flight), we need to recognize and come to grips with the fact that cities are both "the great engines of innovation, the models of economic and social progress," and "zones of gaping inequality and class division."

Florida identifies five key factors that have combined to create this crisis: 1) the growing economic gap between so-called superstar cities — where a disproportionate share of high-value industries, high-tech startups, and top talent are concentrated — and struggling industrial cities, or what he calls "winner-take-call urbanism"; 2) the steep rise in urban housing costs, which has resulted in the displacement of countless numbers of blue-collar and service workers, not to mention the poor and disadvantaged; 3) a rapid increase in inequality and segregation driven in part by "sorting" — a phenomenon in which creatives and the well-off congregate in neighborhoods formerly favored by the working middle class, creating a patchwork of relatively small areas of privilege surrounded by large tracts of poverty; 4) the growing crisis in the suburbs, where problems typically associated with urban areas — poverty, economic insecurity, crime, and segregation — are growing and becoming entrenched; and 5) the urbanization of the developing world, often without the improvements in standards of living that accompanied an earlier wave of urbanization in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and China.

At the core of these challenges, writes Florida, is an economic divide that shapes our built environment and determines where we live. "Simply put," he adds, "the rich live where they choose, and the poor where they can." This reality creates a host of related problems with both short- and long-term consequences (e.g., "people who live in far-flung suburbs and endure long commutes have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, stress, insomnia, and hypertension and are more likely to commit suicide or die in car crashes").

Florida illustrates each of these challenges using the latest demographic and economic data, much of it pulled from the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto, which he leads. In fact, the book is filled with interesting graphs and charts, including one showing the number of houses one could buy in various U.S. cities for the price of a single apartment in Manhattan's chi-chi SoHo neighborhood (Memphis, Tennessee, tops the list with 38!). He also highlights his institute's New Urban Crisis Index, which reveals high levels of combined economic segregation, wage inequality, income inequality, and housing unaffordability not only in superstar cities such as Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, but in Chicago, Miami, and Memphis. (While interesting, many of the maps and charts could have benefited from better graphic design, and most of the data cited are for U.S. cities — a weakness in a book that purports to be about global trends.)

But what most readers will be looking for is a solution (or solutions) to this complex crisis of inequality. On that score, the glass is half full (or empty, depending on one's perspective). Florida points to the tension between the kind of "urban density and clustering that innovation and economic progress require" — and a "New Urban Luddism" — as the greatest impediment to the kind of equitable development and opportunity needed to overcome rising inequality. He has little sympathy for these twenty-first-century Luddites, who live in well-off communities and neighborhoods and are quick to say no to projects that may pose inconveniences but whose benefits in terms of the greater public good are indisputable. As he writes at one point, "If we are to...enjoy a widely shared and sustainable prosperity, we must become a more fully and fairly urbanized nation."

With that tension in mind, Florida sets out seven strategies designed to foster a "more productive urbanism for all": 1) make clustering work more efficiently by switching from a property tax to a land value tax; 2) invest in urban infrastructure to support greater density and growth; 3) build more affordable housing; 4) convert low-wage service jobs into living-wage work by raising the minimum wage; 5) address urban and suburban poverty by investing in people and places and providing a universal basic income; 6) shift development policies from nation-building to city-building and mobilize behind a global effort to build more resilient, prosperous cities; and 7) empower cities and communities by devolving political power from states and national governments to cities themselves.

As wide-ranging as these solutions are, the recommendations at the core of Florida’s books are fairly straightforward: governments and the private sector need to make investments in new and upgraded infrastructure and adopt tax and land-use policies that encourage increased density. Around the world, he writes, "strategic investments in basic infrastructure can help connect [poor people] to jobs; leverage their talent and productive capabilities and enable them to become more fully engaged; and, ultimately, turn the vicious cycle of urban isolation and poverty into a virtuous cycle of urban progress." In an American context, that means moving beyond the longstanding practice of encouraging suburban sprawl and expansion into rural areas and, instead, putting a new focus on the country’s neglected urban cores — a re-urbanization movement, if you will — that creates jobs and opportunities for all Americans.

While The New Urban Crisis may not be the twenty-first-century equivalent of Jane Jacobs' The Death and Life of Great American Cities or Lewis Mumford's The City in History, it is an interesting and highly readable update of Florida's creative class concept and an excellent introduction, for those not familiar with his earlier work, to how a new generation of knowledge workers and creative class types are shaping our economy, our cities, and, for better or worse, our future. The challenges posed by this development are profound, both in the U.S. and around the world, and The New Urban Crisis is a welcome contribution to the conversation around the best ways to address those challenges.

Michael Weston-Murphy is a writer and consultant based in New York City. For more great reviews, visit the Off the Shelf section in PND.

NMAAHC and the Museum of the Future

August 07, 2017

In my previous post, I shared details of a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, during which I had the opportunity to meet with Rhea L. Combs and Jon S. Goff of the museum’s film and photography program. With the help of Combs and Goff, I also was able to connect with a number of staff in related areas and quickly came to appreciate that another important dimension of NMAAHC — really, the key to its identity — is technology and the way, today, it has been integrated into exhibition design, audience engagement, and the extension of a museum's programs beyond its walls.

Nmaahc_separate-but-not-equalThis includes things like interactive exhibits, touch screens, livestreaming of events, and much more. As I visited  various galleries, for example, I encountered an impressive number of items, many of them digitized; the museum is committed to sharing the majority of its collection with the public rather than keeping it in storage. I was also struck by how all the exhibits I saw were beautifully enhanced by digital technology, including one wall of objects that delighted a group of teens as they took turns touching images and uncovering additional information on everything from baseball memorabilia to pop culture couture.

In Best of Both Worlds: Museums, Libraries, and Archives in a Digital Age (78 pages, PDF), former secretary of the Smithsonian G. Wayne Clough notes that the institution has committed to digitizing millions of objects in its collection and anticipates that the initiative will make the collection more accessible in ways we can hardly imagine.

As Clough explained in a 2013 interview on Smithsonian.com: "In the past, the creative activities were entirely behind the walls of museums and collection centers. The public only got access through labels in exhibitions, which told them what we thought. Now, in this new world…, people are going to be engaged with us in a conversation, not a monologue."

Museums established prior to the digital age have had to rethink their collections and reconfigure space to accommodate these developments, but NMAAH's long lead time has been an advantage in this regard. Although Congress voted to establish the museum in 2003, African- American veterans of the Civil War first proposed the idea for a museum devoted to the African-American experience in 1915. Founding director Lonnie G. Bunch III, whose career as a historian and curator includes several previous Smithsonian positions, arrived in 2005 with a staff of two. (The museum employs nearly two hundred people today.) The museum itself didn't open until 2016, but Bunch and his small staff launched its first program in 2007, embracing technology and partnering with other Smithsonian museums, including the National Museum of American History (which hosted the photography show I wrote about in my previous post), in 2009.  

In a Smithsonian magazine article marking the museum's opening last fall, Bunch elaborated: "Rather than simply plan for a building that would be a decade away, we felt that it was crucial to curate exhibitions, publish books, craft the virtual museum online — in essence, to demonstrate the quality and creativity of our work to potential donors, collectors, members of Congress, and the Smithsonian."

 "Black Culture and History Matter," an article by folklorist Kirsten Mullen in The American Prospect, emphasizes this point: "The NMAAHC is the first major museum to 'open' on the web before its physical structure is even built."

A PND On the Web profile of the museum earlier this year praises its "standout" website; director Bunch credits early support from IBM for the site. (IBM has contributed more than $1 million to the museum.) The PND profile notes that the site allows visitors to access collections and exhibits, and highlights a section for educators, a mobile app, and the Many Lenses initiative, which features staff at several Smithsonian museums discussing personally selected objects in their respective collections.

With thousands of objects, programs, and exhibitions to manage, the museum has done a marvelous job — and should be credited — for the amount of material  already on display and the many points of access to those materials provided to the public. Even so, as I consulted the website for information on the museum's many areas, projects, resources, and exhibitions, I sometimes found it difficult to navigate the volume of information. (To help readers of this article, I've included links throughout.)   

Even before it opened, NMAAHC could take advantage of the Transcription Center, the Smithsonian-wide project mentioned in my previous post. In his 2013 interview, Clough anticipated a future in which a museum would "crowdsource its research," an experiment the Smithsonian had just launched with the center. Fully operational now, the center has mobilized a corps of nearly nine thousand digital volunteers from all over the world who have transcribed more than two thousand projects using their own computers and broadband connections. The volunteer transcriptions are reviewed by center staff and then posted on the Web, where they can be accessed by researchers and the general public.

Laura Coyle, collection manager and head of cataloging and digitization, tells me that since the museum joined the transcription initiative in 2015, thirty-four collections or items in the NMAAHC project have been transcribed. As an example, the James Baldwin collection, with a hundred and twenty-four pages of material, was completed thanks to the efforts of forty-three volunteers.

Another project is focused on indexing and transcribing the archives of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, which was created by the U.S. government after the Civil War to address the problems of the four million formerly enslaved people and hundreds of thousands of impoverished white people living in the South; there are nearly two million letters, reports, contracts, and other documents related to administration of the bureau. Preserved by the National Archives, the materials are now being made accessible to the public. NMAAHC’s "Freedmen’s Bureau Project" includes a partnership with FamilySearch International, which has indexed the material to capture names and dates, allowing people to search for ancestors. With the assistance of the Transcription Center, the museum also is in the process of transcribing bureau documents.

 "So far, we've made available all thirty thousand records of the Assistant Commissioner for North Carolina," Coyle tells me. "And we're continuing to process and prepare the remaining records for transcription and will eventually make available the entire Freedmen's Bureau collection online and through the Robert Frederick Smith Explore Your Family History Center at the museum."

In addition to the transcription work, NMAAHC has created at least a minimal digital record of all thirty-seven thousand items in its collection — photographs, documents, and artifacts. To date, more than eight thousand images are available online via the Collection Search page. And later this year, the museum will expand access to its film and video collection (which at the moment is only available via YouTube), making it viewable directly through the museum's website.

"Because so much is possible through digitization," says Coyle, "it makes all the other things we do possible: our website, our prints and publications, our exhibits, our mobile access. And we were able to do everything right from the start."

I ask Coyle, who has a degree in art history and worked at the National Gallery of Art and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington prior to joining NMAAHC in 2010, if her education and experience prepared her for the opportunities, and challenges, of the digital age.

"This job did not exist when I was in school," she says. "Museums started using digital tools to manage collections when personal computers became widely available in the nineteen-eighties. With the advent of the Web in the nineties, museums realized they could share their collections and stories digitally, but no one was quite sure how to do this. We just couldn't imagine all the ways digitization would be a part of our lives.  Now, of course, actual and virtual visitors expect museums to offer a variety of digital experiences. But we still don't know what the digital museum will be in the future. NMAAHC was committed to digitization from the start and remains committed to the digital museum concept, wherever that takes us."

Coyle tells me that when she came on board, "It was just me working in this area. Everyone was focused on building the collection and building the building."

Today, her staff of nineteen includes specialists in cataloging, record creation, rights and reproductions, digital assets management, and photography. Rounding out the "Digi Team" are the five media digitization and preservation staff working in the Digitization Media Center. All together, the team produces catalog records and images for internal and public platforms; reformats audio-visual materials; manages digital materials and intellectual property rights related to collections; responds to requests for collection information; and oversees publication projects.

"My team is a service organization within the museum," Coyle says. "We work with the curatorial team and participate in the creation of digital content for various platforms. That's essential for online and traditional exhibitions, collection research, and publications." For instance, of the nearly twenty-five thousand photographs in the museum's collection, a digital archive of more than sixty-three hundred photographs is now accessible through the website.

But keeping up is a challenge. "Digitization is time consuming and costly," says Coyle. "At this point, only 25 percent of the museum's collection is well cataloged, imaged, and online to the public — our definition of fully digitized. And we're continuing to collect, so digitization will always be a little behind. Cataloging is also an ongoing process and we can always add more information. People expect a lot in this area, so we want to meet the demand as much as we can."

Meanwhile, demand is growing. In the first three months of this year, for instance, 319,000 people visited the museum's Collection Search page. "We know that people are searching our collection online" says Coyle. "And we'll be collecting more analytics to learn more about what visitors do once they get there."

The Digi Team also manages the Collection Stories feature on the website, where NMAAHC staff are invited to share their response to an item in the permanent exhibits. Coyle chose the dress worn by Carlotta Walls ("Dress for the Occasion") on the historic day in 1957 when Walls helped integrate an Arkansas high school as one of the "Little Rock Nine." An image of the dress, digitized along with related photographs and documents, appears there and is also available through Collection Search.

"That dress made a mighty impression on me," Coyle tells me, "and I was really honored to meet Carlotta Walls LaNier, who donated the dress to the museum."

Collecting the Collection

One of the defining qualities of NMAAHC is its process for acquiring material. Collecting began a decade ago, and director Bunch has described the task of starting a collection before a museum even opens in various interviews. In a 2016 Washington Business Journal article, he shared some of the details of his own family history, what led him to become a historian, and some of the experiences that helped shape his vision for the museum.

"I thought the best thing we could do," Bunch said in that interview, "was to use African-American culture as a lens to understand what it was to be American. This was not a museum for black people by black people. It was a museum for resilience, for optimism."

He then related a story about the first item received by the museum, the result of a serendipitous meeting with an Ecuadoran man, Juan Garcia, who subsequently donated a canoe seat carved a century ago by his great-grandmother, who lived in a community of escaped slaves — an encounter that impressed upon Bunch the presence and history of Africans throughout the Americas.

"That artifact helped me frame the museum as a global museum, not just an American museum," he told the Business Journal. "That was transformative for me."

But not all items came to the museum that serendipitously. In the 2016 Smithsonian.com article mentioned above, Bunch shared the concerns he felt in those early days.

"Maybe it was the curator in me, but what worried me the most was whether we could find the stuff of history, the artifacts that would tell the story of this community," he said. "Some of the early plans for the museum de-emphasized artifacts, partly out of a belief that there were few to be collected and technology could fill any void. But I already knew that even if you have the very best technology, a tech-driven institution would fail. People come to the Smithsonian museums to revel in the authentic."

Bunch reflected on his experiences, over his career, with "community-driven collecting," including reaching out to African-American families and securing gifts "over a cup of tea." And he spoke eloquently of the urgency he feels to find and preserve these artifacts.

"I believed that all of the twentieth century, most of the nineteenth, maybe even a bit of the eighteenth might still be in trunks, basements, and attics around the country. I also knew that as America changed, family homesteads would be broken up and heirlooms would be at risk. We had to start collecting now, because the community's material culture might [not] exist in ten years."

With support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the museum created "Save Our African American Treasures," a program designed to appeal directly to communities and surface those forgotten items stashed away in attics and trunks while at the same time educating people on how to preserve family photos, documents, and artifacts. That approach continues, although as the museum's staff has grown to include professional curators, the approach to curation and the collection has shifted.

At the same time, the stories of Naomi Long Madgett, the poet who donated the films of Rev. Jones to CAAMA (see my earlier post), and Carlotta Walls LaNier, who donated her dress, are echoed over and over in the larger collection. While many items in the NMAAHC collection have been purchased, many more have been donated by people whose fervent desire is to see the preservation of their family history.

According to Michèle Gates Moresi, supervisory curator of collections at NMAAHC, the vast majority of the items in the collection have been donated. "I don't have a current count of the total number of people who have donated artifacts to the museum," she said in an email exchange, "but last summer, when we organized a special event for object donors, we had a list of more than sixteen hundred." An estimate of the value of all the artifacts donated does not exist, but the donated material is quite possibly the museum's most valuable asset. In addition, many individuals have stepped up with monetary donations; as of the end of the first quarter, the museum had a hundred and sixty thousand charter members, some who had given substantial amounts, and many more who had donated what they could.

(The generosity of donors is a consistent theme in studies of African-American philanthropy. A recent PND article points out that "African-American households tend to give more of their discretionary income — as much as 25 percent more — to charitable causes than white Americans; that figure increases as African Americans move into the ranks of the wealthy.")

A Great Convener

In Lonnie Bunch's interview with the late Gwen Ifill shortly before the museum opened, the PBS NewsHour co-anchor, in reference to a series of racial incidents around the country, stated, "We are at a crossroads in our country." Bunch agreed with her characterization and expressed his conviction that NMAAHC could play a positive role in moving forward as a society. 

"Our job is to create a space that, through dialogue and exhibitions, can make America better," he added. "We expect this to be one of the most diversely visited places in the U.S. In surveys, 75 percent of white Americans said this is a story they want to know as well. I hope this museum will continue to evolve, continue to change, because it really has to be a place that is the great convener."

Since I attended my first NMAAHC exhibition (the 2009 photography show I mentioned in my earlier post), I've been looking forward to seeing the finished museum. Even at a time when interest and scholarship about the African-American experience has flourished, it has not always been easy to learn about that history and culture. NMAAHC redresses that gap; its film and media programs in particular are reaching audiences on a deep emotional level, and the integration of technology in almost every aspect of its operations has greatly enhanced its impact. The museum's collection and the way it is presented affirm an African-American identity, as was always the intention. But the museum also succeeds brilliantly in advancing the mission crafted by its founders and articulated by Bunch: "To tell the story of America through an African American lens."

Kathryn Pyle is a regular contributor to PhilanTopic. Check out her other posts for PhilanTopic here.

Weekend Link Roundup (August 5-6, 2017)

August 06, 2017

Sam-shepard-in-winterOur weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the social sector. For more links to great content, follow us on Twitter at @pndblog....

African Americans

We begin with this week's startling statistic. According to the Pew Research Center, one out of four black Americans have faced online harassment because of their race or ethnicity.

Arts and Culture

On the James Irvine Foundation blog, Leslie Payne, a senior program at the foundation, asks: What does it mean to participate in the arts today?

Education

On the Center for Effective Philanthropy blog, Jen Wilka, executive director of YouthTruth, reports  on key findings of a survey of more than 55,000 high school students that asked them how prepared they feel for life after high school.

Here on PhilanTopic, Alexis Morin, co-founder and executive director of Students for Education Reform, reports that a survey of first-generation college students conducted by her organization found that the majority of them feel unprepared for college.

And in a post for the Hechinger Report, Nicole Dobo shares key findings from Time to Act 2017: Put Data in the Hands of People, which argues that while the use of data in formulating education policy has evolved for the better, parents and teachers still find it difficult to get access to that data.

Immigration

The last time the federal government tried to slow the legal immigration to the United States by adopting a merit-based system was fifty years ago — and Lyndon Johnson was president. Alana Semuels reports The Atlantic.

Nonprofits

Writing in the MinnPost, Kristi Rendahl, an assistant professor and director of the Nonprofit Leadership Program at Minnesota State University, Mankato, argues that repeal of the so-called Johnson Amendment "would mean de facto campaign finance through religious and charitable organizations, but with none of the rules." 

In the New Hampshire Business Review, Jeff Feingold chats with nonprofit activist Robert Eggers about nonprofit stereotypes and whether nonprofits should be more politically engaged.

Philanthropy

"Philanthropy has come a long way since [Andrew Carnegie] took a childhood experience and turned it into a national legacy," writes Courtney Martin on The Development Set website. But too often, Martin adds, "it feels like we’ve lost our core wisdom about how change actually happens." What does that mean? "It means that the only philanthropy worth engaging in — both ethically and strategically speaking — is the kind that honors the wisdom of relationships and the power of money."

According to Rob Reich,  director of the Center for Ethics in Society at Stanford University, charitable foundations are a “donor-directed, perpetual, tax-subsidized exercise of the liberty to give public wealth away.” And what, Reich asks Quartz' Olivia Goldhill, is “the democratically good part about that again?"

New research from the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University finds that philanthropists in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo (Michigan) give generously to improve their respective communities, but that they go about it in vastly different ways. Jane C. Simons reports for MiBiz.com.

In Philanthropy Daily, Martin Morse Wooster, a senior fellow at the Capital Research Center in Washington, D.C., suggests that maybe "there is no one best way to give. Sometimes charity is the answer, and sometimes it is philanthropy. Sometimes program-related investments may be the right way to go." The point is, the "mix should vary with each donor and aim."

"America’s foundations spend many millions of dollars every year on investment advice. In return, they get sub-par performance." On the Transparency Talk blog, Nonprofit Chronicles blogger Marc Gunther explains why this may be about to change.

Science/Tech

Because "those who experience hate, marginalization, and discrimination on a daily basis know it when they see it," writes Lucy Bernholz on her Philanthropy 2153 blog, "[m]ainstream nonprofits struggling to understand how and why they must investigate the technology on which depend [their] 'values fit' would do well to turn to such groups for guidance."

Social Innovation

And almost all the way back from a self-imposed social media "break," Nell Edgington checks in with a list of ten great social innovation reads from June and July.

That's it for this week. Got something you'd like to share? Drop us a line at mfn@foundationcenter.org.

Mobilizing Community College Students to Protect Our Democracy

August 04, 2017

News_africanamerican_grads_300x250These are extraordinary times. From education to immigrant rights to health care, it seems we wake up every day to news of fresh assaults on equity, opportunity, and inclusion.

In the education area, proposals floated by the administration slash budgets for public education, including a draconian 50 percent cut for college work-study programs, and the administration and its allies in Congress are engaged in an ongoing effort to dismantle hard-fought rules that protect postsecondary students and their families from predatory lenders and fraudulent for-profit colleges. If passed, mean-spirited healthcare proposals would strip essential coverage from millions of vulnerable people. And a recently enacted ban on refugees fleeing persecution and harm is tearing apart families and communities.

And all this in only seven months. Confronted by this relentless assault on our values, there is a real danger that we will grow numb to the enormous challenges we face, or become overwhelmed by the amount of work needed to repair the damage. But we simply can't afford to give up or give in. Too much is at stake. In this extraordinarily fraught moment, we must embrace new, extraordinary measures to advance the values and priorities we share. We have to think differently — and bigger — about how to make a difference.

For the Rappaport Family Foundation, that means ramping up our commitment to a population whose voice, power, and potential are too often ignored: the twelve million students enrolled at more than twelve hundred community college systems across the country. Over the next fourteen months, we will commit $2 million to efforts aimed at mobilizing and training student leaders as advocates for positive social change, with a focus on community college students.

Why invest in strengthening leadership and advocacy for community college students? Because they represent the future of the country. Today, almost half of undergraduates in the United States are enrolled in community colleges. Compared to students at the nation's four-year colleges and universities, community college students are significantly more diverse. According to the latest tally by the American Association of Community Colleges, close to 50 percent of community college students are non-white; 36 percent are the first in their families to attend college; 17 percent are single parents; and 12 percent have a disability.

By mobilizing students to become active in their communities (and society more broadly), we ensure that government and other institutions are more accountable to everybody — not just the privileged (or loudest) few.

Across the country, we've seen what can happen when community college students are engaged and involved.

  • In North Carolina, where Young People For launched a community college initiative in 2015, students are advocating to expand voting rights and fighting against anti-LGBT and anti-Muslim sentiment.
  • At De Anza College in Northern California, students successfully lobbied the local transit agency to adopt a discounted student bus pass policy — a victory that not only has saved thousands of students money but also has had a positive environmental impact on surrounding communities.
  • In California, thanks to the leadership of the Campaign for College Opportunity, community college students helped win a $60 million investment from the state of California so that millions of students placed in pre-college-level courses can catch up and get on track to achieve their college dreams.

As these examples show, creating opportunities for students to flex their activist muscles delivers immediate dividends. But there's also a longer-term payoff. When students lead and engage in these and other ways, it delivers untold benefits for communities and society — not just today, but for decades to come. At a time when many of us are wondering how we can save our democracy and create a fairer, more inclusive society, we cannot and should not ignore the leadership of community college students.

Now is the time to support and help students develop their leadership skills, raise up their voices, and work together to make a difference. How can you support community college students? 

Catalina_ruiz_healy_for_PhilanTopicFor more information, visit http://rappaportfamilyfoundation.org.

Catalina Ruiz-Healy is vice president of the Rappaport Family Foundation in San Francisco.

We Must Listen to First-Generation College Students' Perspectives on Education

August 02, 2017

First_gen_college_students_490x350For thousands of students in the United States, a college degree represents the realization of the American dream. It's supposed to be a cycle-breaker for low-income families and provide upward economic and social mobility. But even though college entrance rates have risen, some students still struggle, and students who are the first in their families to go to college often are woefully unprepared by the K-12 education they have received.

While there is great research and data out there on how to increase college completion rates and support students, I could find nothing from the primary source — first-generation college students reflecting on their K-12 experiences and how prepared they were, or weren't, for college.

That's why Students for Education Reform conducted a first-of-its-kind national poll (29 pages, PDF) surveying a representative national sample of a thousand first-generation college students. Through this process we learned a ton.

Overall, first-generation students said they felt unprepared for college. More than 56 percent of students who enter a two-year university have to begin by taking remedial courses covering material they should have learned in high school. They burn through financial aid, making no credit-hour progress toward graduation, and end up dropping out without a degree and without the chance to move up. This is the fault of K-12 systems that have never done right by low-income kids who, if they matriculated, would be the first in their family to attend college.

On a related note, 65 percent of the students we surveyed said that students should not have to pay for remedial courses in college. These include students like Cindy Contreras, a first-year student at Normandale Community College, just outside the Twin Cities, who has had to extend her time at Normandale by an extra year to take remedial courses in subjects she excelled in during high school. Cindy testified at the state capitol about her experience with remedial courses and worked with other students in Minnesota to demand that the state be held accountable for sending high school graduates to college unprepared. The students' recommendations for improvement were incorporated into legislation that Governor Mark Dayton recently signed into law.

The first-generation college students surveyed also had several recommendations about what could help them and their peers succeed in college. A majority of students like Cindy said they wanted a more robust life-skills curriculum in high school that would help them succeed in the college application process and job market. Financial literacy (61 percent), job interviewing (56 percent), résumé building (54 percent), and stress management (52 percent) were at the top of the list of skills first-generation college students wished they had.

On top of these coursework-related recommendations, it was clear from our poll that students wanted access to better schools than the ones they were zoned to. Seventy-five percent of survey respondents supported the idea of "school choice," or the ability to choose a school other than the one they were assigned to. Many of them (44 percent) said they would have chosen a different high school had they been allowed to. The top reasons for wanting school choice were that students sought a school environment that was safer (12 percent), was more focused on academics (27 percent), and had better and more caring teachers and staff (23 percent).

Students also provided information about how systematic discipline and safety problems within their school buildings hampered their ability to succeed. One in four students, for example, reported that they did not feel safe in school, and nearly one in three reported they did not find their school to be an emotionally safe or inclusive place. These indicators are often swept under the rug in favor of achievement data, but school environment plays a critical role in student success.

School environment doesn't stop with safety; it also includes how discipline is handled, in the classroom and beyond. Among the public school students who were severely disciplined in high school, a large majority found it difficult to achieve success in college. Most of those who experienced harsh discipline were suspended for non-violent offenses, and more than a third of suspended students received no other intervention — for instance, a warning or alternative discipline measure — prior to their suspension.

Take Brenda Contreras, a rising senior at Sacramento State who attended public schools in Richmond, in the Bay Area. She was suspended in third grade for finger painting and watched as her peers, one by one, dropped out of school over the years following similar demoralizing responses from school administration to non-violent — and often frivolous — classroom offenses. By the time Brenda graduated from high school, she knew more students who had dropped out than received their diploma.

Young people are our future, and the biggest stakeholders when it comes to their own education. We must listen to their perspectives if we are to craft policies that actually help them succeed — especially those who face unique challenges in getting to and through college. Listening to student voices is the critical first step toward creating a better, more inclusive school system.

Alexis_morin_for-_PhilanTopic_250x300Alexis Morin is co-founder and executive director of Students for Education Reform.

Most Popular PhilanTopic Posts (July 2017)

August 01, 2017

The most popular posts here on PhilanTopic in July include strong calls to action from sector veterans Gary Bass and Mark Rosenman, Cathy Cha, and Kate Kroeger; new posts by Blackbaud's Annie Rhodes and PEAK Grantmaking's Michelle Greanias; and a couple of "repeaters" (John Hewko's account of how Rotary International manages to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world, Kyoko's Q&A with the Rockefeller Foundation's Claudia Juech). Check 'em out (if you haven't already)!

What have you read/watched/heard lately that got your attention, made you think, or charged you up? Feel free to share in the comments section below. Or drop us a line at mfn@foundationcenter.org.

4 Questions to Help You Develop Your Year-End Messaging

July 31, 2017

"Movements are built by and for the people. The people generate the movement, spread the rallying cry of the message, and depend on one another to meet the collective’s goals in addressing the social issue at hand. The people, though, are bound by a common vision and a common narrative — to change the course of an issue that has affected so many people. But how is this possible? How can an individual turn his or her attention from the general issues present in so many communities to the importance of one issue affecting a group of people they may have never met before? Or take a stand for a concept that may never even affect them personally? It comes down to the message and a story. A story based on a vision for change for people or communities that need it most."

— excerpt from Social Movements for Good

Dec-31-calendarIf you're like a lot of our clients, you're starting to work on (or at least think about) your year-end fundraising appeals. Although successful year-end campaigns are driven by a strategic combination of factors, one above all others is both critical and often the most challenging to execute: messaging.

From the belief statement (also called the opening or donor statement) and opening sentence or two to pull quotes, calls to action, and the ever-important P.S. line, you have a limited amount of space (and time) in which to capture potential donors' attention, communicate your story, and, of course, persuade them to donate.

That's a lot of work!

When it comes to developing messaging for a fundraising appeal, I'm asked one question more than any other: How do I get started? Though it can be a challenge to get past writer's block and craft effective messages for a year-end campaign, I always suggest that you first ask yourself these four simple questions:

1. What makes your organization unique? Chances are yours isn't the only organization working to address or solve your particular issue. And that's okay! A fundraising appeal is your chance to call out — loudly and clearly — what’' unique or different about your organization.

Supplemental questions to consider: Why does your organization exist (i.e., why does it do the work it does)? Whom do you serve (demographically, geographically, etc.)? What's special or compelling about the population you serve? How does your organization approach its work? What's unusual or unique about that approach? How is it different from the approach employed by other organizations?

2. Why should a donor give to your organization now? Why the sense of urgency behind your organization's appeal? Sure, responses like "It's the last chance for you to claim a tax deduction" or "Matched funds are available for a limited time" are valid, but end-of-the-year appeals really are your chance to think big.

Still struggling? Think in reverse: What won't happen if you don't hit your fundraising targets? Who won't ;be helped? What might happen if they aren't served by your organization?

3. How does your organization help people? Beyond broad responses such as “We connect people to the skills they need" or "We strengthen parents' engagement in their children's education," think more specifically about the effect your programs are having on individuals. Think about that impact on both the tangible and intangible level. Then think bigger: As a result of your organization making it possible for one person to do or have x, what are they now able to do? How has their life trajectory been affected? Are they now able to contribute to the broader community in ways they weren't before? How does the community benefit from the improved prospects of the people you serve?

4. What do you want donors to do? Why do people give? Put simply, people give because it makes them feel good. One study I examined when writing my book Social Movements for Good even found that people reacted positively when paying taxes if they believed that a portion of the amount they were paying would be used to help a local charity or cause. Your year-end appeal is the perfect time to tap into that feel-good emotion and tell potential supporters that now is their chance to make a real difference in the lives of real people, maybe even people they know.

Once you've developed (short) responses to the above questions, start to think about how to bring them all together in an effective appeal. If you're still stuck, check out these additional tips:

  • When crafting your belief statement, try starting with "We believe…" and then follow with a clear articulation of what your organization stands for.
  • Include participatory, "you"-centric language (e.g., "Are you in?") in your appeal that makes potential supporters feel as if they're joining a community of like-minded people.
  • Use emotive language that shows rather than tells. (Insider’s tip: Find another word for "impact.")
  • Share the story of a specific individual and how your organization's services/actions/efforts improved his or her life.
  • Be creative! Don't feel you have to write your appeal in a certain way simply because that's what your organization has always done. For inspiration, look at what other organizations (especially national or well-known ones) are doing to capture their share of year-end giving.

Developing fundraising messaging for the most critical giving period of the year can be daunting, but, if approached strategically, that messaging can mean the difference between a successful and a not-so-successful year-end season. If you keep the above tips in mind when thinking about your year-end campaign, come December 31 you just may be pleasantly surprised.

Headshot_derrick_feldmann_2015Derrick Feldmann is the president of Achieve, a research and marketing agency for causes, and the author of Social Movements for Good: How Companies and Causes Create Viral Change, now available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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