« RWJF Responds to Financial Crisis | Main | Quote of the Day (November 1, 2008) »

NPQ to Foundations: 'Not Good Enough'

October 31, 2008

Earlier this month, I posted part of an open letter to Council on Foundation members written by CoF board chair Ralph Smith and Steve Gunderson, the council's president and CEO. Prefacing their remarks with an acknowledgement of the seriousness of the economic situation and its likely impact on philanthropy, Smith and Gunderson suggested that, in the months to come, foundations should step up and "play a constructive role without raising unrealistic expectations" and offered three broad recommendations as to how they might do so:

  1. Actively look for ways to help the nonprofit sector (and grantees, in particular) weather the storm;
  2. Play an active and visible role in helping communities and regions figure out the scope and extent of the challenges they face, and in finding and crafting solutions that make sense; and
  3. Pay special attention to situations where the loss of philanthropic resources could be the unintended consequence of mergers and consolidations that are the inevitable products of economic restructuring.

Not exactly what many, including the editors of the Nonprofit Quarterly, were hoping to hear. In an e-mail "bulletin" to subscribers circulated earlier today, the NPQ argued that it was important in this time of economic turmoil for U.S. foundations "to think and act differently" and urged the council to encourage its members "to be expansive, generous, and bold, not fearful and self-protective." More specifically, foundations should:

  1. Increase their grantmaking;
  2. Increase the flexibility of their grants;
  3. Increase their program- and mission-related investments;
  4. Increase their support for advocacy; and
  5. Increase their commitment to the nonprofit sector.

For the full text of both letters and/or to join a lively conversation about the role of foundations in the current crisis, click here.

-- Mitch Nauffts

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Contributors

Quote of the Week

  • "[L]et me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...."


    — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States

Subscribe to Philantopic

Contributors

Guest Contributors

  • Laura Cronin
  • Derrick Feldmann
  • Thaler Pekar
  • Kathryn Pyle
  • Nick Scott
  • Allison Shirk

Tweets from @PNDBLOG

Follow us »

Archives

Tags