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15 posts from March 2022

A fundamental realignment of power between funders and community: A commentary by Emily Yu, TC Duong, Brittany Giles-Cantrell, and Chris Kabel

March 30, 2022

Balance_power_dynamics_GettyImages_akinbostanci_553x482In recent years, amid calls for greater social, racial, and health equity, philanthropy has rallied together with communities to dismantle deeply rooted systemic inequities that jeopardize our nation’s safety, health, and prosperity. For many foundations, the pursuit of equity has become a powerful and unifying call to action. Yet supporting communities in the sustainable advancement of equity remains a challenge for the philanthropic sector.

As members of The BUILD Health Challenge®—a funding collaborative launched in 2015 to support partnerships among community-based organizations, health departments, and hospitals/health systems to reduce health disparities—we’ve hosted a series of conversations with community leaders, partners, and peers across the country to ask what their communities needed to advance equity and how philanthropy could be a more effective partner on that journey. The response was clear: There must be a fundamental realignment of power between funders and community—one that reflects and honors both groups' expertise and experience. The conversations surfaced four vital approaches to centering equity: 1) designing with, not for; 2) building equity capacity; 3) changing deeply rooted policy and practice; and 4) sharing power....

Read the full commentary by Emily Yu, executive director of The BUILD Health Challenge, TC Duong, program officer at Blue Shield of California Foundation, Brittany Giles-Cantrell, senior program officer at de Beaumont Foundation, and Chris Kabel, senior fellow in the Kresge Foundation’s Health program.

(Photo credit: GettyImages/akinbostanci)

Trust is transformative: A commentary by Kate O’Bannon and Cindy Greenberg

March 29, 2022

Handshake_women_pexels-george-milton-6953844Last June, Repair the World received a phone call that set in motion an exciting series of events for both the organization and a national service movement. We received a $7 million gift from MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett to expand our efforts to mobilize Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world. 

We had just seen a near doubling of Repair’s budget and staff as we built initiatives amid the pandemic to serve alongside our neighbors, boldly living out our Jewish values. As we announced at the time, this gift will strengthen our team and dramatically accelerate how we grow meaningful service and Jewish learning opportunities for young adults—from efforts to advance education justice and racial justice, meet the needs of community members alongside service partners at soup kitchens and urban farms, and much more. We’re proudly working toward one million acts of service and learning by 2026.

In the spirit of our organizational value of action and learning, na’aseh v’nishma, we’ve already learned many lessons from receiving this large, unrestricted gift. Seven key lessons learned about how best to leverage and maximize the impact of such a gift include....

Read the full commentary by Kate O’Bannon and Cindy Greenberg, chief strategy officer and president and CEO of Repair the World.

(Photo credit: George Milton via pexels)

The Ukraine tragedy's impact on global food aid: A commentary by Barron Segar

March 27, 2022

Ukraine_flag_wheat_field_GettyImages-Anna KoberskaThe ‘year of catastrophic hunger’ just got more catastrophic

Just a few short months ago, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned that the world was facing “a year of catastrophic hunger” in 2022. These were alarming words from an organization that deals in tragedy and devastation on a daily basis, quietly feeding millions of people experiencing the worst trauma of their lives, often as a result of devastating natural or man-made disasters.

Four tropical storms had hit Madagascar, a country already suffering from extreme hunger; over half of the population in Afghanistan was severely food insecure, with almost nine million people facing the looming prospect of famine; the Horn of Africa was facing its worst drought since 1981; Yemen was in its eighth year of sustained conflict and Syria in its eleventh; Northern Ethiopia remained locked in war, with food and fuel supplies cut off from those who needed it most.

And then Russia invaded Ukraine.

Since the war broke out in late February, more than two million people have fled the country and hundreds of thousands within Ukraine are suddenly unable to meet their basic needs. WFP executive director David Beasley warned of this new war that “[t]he world cannot afford to let another conflict drive the numbers of hungry people even higher.”

He’s right. The conflict in Ukraine puts enormous strain on a global humanitarian system already buckling under the pressure of 44 million people across 38 countries facing famine—numbers we haven’t seen since the Second World War, if ever. The Ukraine tragedy risks diverting attention and dollars from those suffering millions, but it will also impact the world’s most fragile places in less obvious ways—mainly because of its impact on global food prices....

Read the full commentary by Barron Segar, president and CEO of World Food Program USA.

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Anna Koberska)

Find more articles in Philanthropy News Digest about  philanthropy’s response to the war in Ukraine.

Find more updates and resources on Candids special issue page on the philanthropic response to the war in Ukraine.

Investing in CDFIs to drive equitable economic growth: A commentary by Carolina Martinez

March 25, 2022

Minority_women_owned_business_GettyImages Three ways philanthropies can support community development financial institutions

Over the last two years—as many businesses struggled to stay afloat amid COVID-19 lockdowns, supply chain disruptions, and staffing shortages—community development financial institutions (CDFIs) provided a lifeline to small business owners, especially women and people of color.      CDFIs have a mandate to funnel much-needed responsible capital to small business borrowers in low-income communities, communities of color, and other populations facing structural barriers to credit access, and are well positioned to offer financing to these underserved borrowers as the economy continues to recover.

Investing in CDFIs is a winning strategy for philanthropic funders aiming to drive equitable economic growth and address systemic racial and gender barriers to economic opportunity. Grantmakers can play a key role in these efforts by providing more flexible capital that enables CDFIs to scale their operations to reach more socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs—those whom the mainstream financial system has long failed. Most mainstream banks lend less today to small businesses than they did before the 2008 financial crisis.In fact, according to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, 8,000 loans are declined by banks on a daily basis. In addition, women, immigrants, and people of color face structural barriers that mean they face even higher hurdles to securing a loan. Adding to the problem are alternative lenders, including predatory lenders, who have stepped in to fill the gap with products that are expensive and damaging to the health of small businesses.

While the pandemic has intensified these trends, it also has shown how CDFIs can make a real difference. The problematic rollout of the early rounds of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) demonstrated the limitations of big banks, which focused on their existing customers (including some large, profitable corporations) and overlooked borrowers in underserved communities. CDFIs, by contrast, deployed their PPP loans the way that Congress intended. The Small Business Administration reports that 78 percent of PPP loans made by CDFIs were under $150,000 and 40 percent were made to borrowers in low- and moderate-income areas, compared with overall program averages of 50 percent and 28 percent....

Read the full commentary by Carolina Martinez, CEO of CAMEO.

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

Indigenous Peoples’ rights and sovereignty: A Q& A with Carla F. Fredericks, CEO, Christensen Fund

March 23, 2022

Headshot_carla_fredericks_christensen_fundFounded in 1957, the San Francisco-based Christensen Fund works to support Indigenous peoples in advancing their inherent rights, dignity, and self-determination. In 2020 the foundation implemented a new grantmaking strategy that centers its work on “supporting and strengthening Indigenous peoples’ efforts to secure and exercise their rights to their land, territories, resources, and sovereign systems of governance.” The shift from a regional approach to a rights-based one in support of the global Indigenous Peoples’ Movement is rooted in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Carla F. Fredericks joined the foundation as CEO in January 2021. An enrolled citizen of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation of North Dakota, Fredericks is an expert in sustainable economic development, finance, human rights, Indigenous peoples law, and federal Indian law. She has provided core support to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, serving as counsel to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in bringing their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline to international financial institutions, assisting the Maya peoples of Southern Belize in implementing the affirmation of their land rights, and developing a model for Indigenous-driven consent processes and remedy. As a faculty member of the University of Colorado Law School, in 2017 she relaunched First Peoples Worldwide—an interdisciplinary program that engages investors, companies, financial institutions, and policy makers with Indigenous peoples to promote implementation of Indigenous rights. Fredericks also serves as board chair of the Mashantucket Pequot (Western) Endowment Trust, and is a member of the Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group to the Decolonizing Wealth Project.

PND asked Fredericks about the foundation’s right-based grantmaking strategy, the intersection of Indigenous people’s rights and climate action, and her work to integrate human rights into financial frameworks.

Philanthropy News Digest: You joined the Christensen Fund just as it shifted from a regional grantmaking strategy to a rights-based one. What does a rights-based approach look like, in concrete terms?

Carla F. Fredericks: Taking a rights-based approach means that we support and defend Indigenous Peoples inherent human rights, in and of themselves. Indigenous Peoples are too often seen as a means to an end to carry out solutions ordained by non-native people in power—especially in environmental and climate spaces. But Indigenous Peoples’ rights and sovereignty need to be restored and defended because these communities are inherently worthy of the same rights and protections that all people deserve.

Our approach centers Indigenous Peoples as rights holders first and foremost. It is rooted in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which is the global standard that both asserts and recognizes Indigenous worldviews and values and establishes a universal framework for recognition of their rights. UNDRIP is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Part of the goal of growing the recognition and use of UNDRIP by both Indigenous Peoples and states is to move Indigenous Peoples’ rights toward the status of customary, international, and/or domestic law. Our ultimate goal as a foundation is always to improve Indigenous Peoples’ lived realities in every way. This includes ensuring that Indigenous communities know their rights and protections under UNDRIP, and supporting them in defending these rights and protections. Rooting our strategy in UNDRIP is our contribution to the essential global work of ensuring that nation-states recognize and adhere to Indigenous Peoples’ rights, dignity, and sovereignty in order to improve their daily lives beyond just considering the well-being of the land and seascapes they steward.

In concrete terms, this looks like practicing trust-based grantmaking that advances self-determination and is not prescriptive. We’ve moved all of our grantmaking to general operating, multiyear support and have thrown significant financial support behind Indigenous-led funding mechanisms that fund Indigenous communities....

Read the full Q&A with Carla F. Fredericks, CEO of the Christensen Fund.

A vision for equalizing education: A commentary by Yolonda Marshall

March 21, 2022

College_students_pexels-keira-burtonClosing the racial gap in higher education

Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the path to higher education for first-generation college students and those growing up in underserved communities was rife with uncertainty and barriers. These hurdles disproportionately affect students in underfunded public school systems, many of whom are Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). The global pandemic  further exacerbated these challenges and uncertainties. With school buildings closed and periods of required quarantine creating gaps in attendance, students had to deal with significant disruptions to their learning. For a significant number of students from low-income communities the pandemic had added implications: Whether these students were tasked with the care of younger siblings or older family members while their parents worked essential jobs, or needed to take on a job themselves in response to family job loss, already underserved BIPOC students were taking on additional responsibilities outside the classroom.

As the CEO of Student Leadership Network (SL Network), a nonprofit committed to helping students from diverse, underserved communities access higher education, I am heartened by the progress we have made in our 25 years of leading equity in education. Yet we still see so many systemic inequities prevent equitable access for all students—particularly students of color—in pursuing higher education....

Read the full commentary by Yolonda Marshall, CEO of Student Leadership Network.

(Photo credit: Keira Burton via pexels)

Resistance and opposition to Putin’s assault on democracy: A commentary by Viorel Ursu

March 18, 2022

Independence monument and ukrainian flag in Kiev_GettyImages_DmyTo_2Supporting civil society and democracy in Ukraine and beyond

The Open Society Foundations have been funding civil society groups in Ukraine since our founder, George Soros, launched the Kyiv-based International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) in 1990. Today, in the face of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s aggression, our foundations’ commitment to the independence of a democratic Ukraine is stronger than ever.  

But what does that mean? It means stepping up our support for those we have always supported in Ukraine—the civil society groups that have reinforced Ukraine’s democratic development, particularly since the Maidan uprising of the winter of 2013-14. Through our locally led foundation, we have been providing around $8 million annually in grants to these groups, working on everything from fighting corruption, to defending independent media, to helping Ukraine’s response to COVID-19, and promoting the rights of citizens.

So what are we doing now? With Ukrainian cities under attack, with more than a million civilians already fleeing the country and more terrors ahead, the international community is engaged in a massive humanitarian relief effort. But there’s another desperate need—to support the continued existence of the civil society groups in Ukraine and elsewhere in the region that provide the life blood of democracy, and who are now under threat from Putin....

Read the full commentary by Viorel Ursu, a division director with the Open Society Foundations’ Europe and Eurasia program.

(Photo credit: GettyImages/DmyTo)

Find more articles in Philanthropy News Digest about  philanthropy’s response to the war in Ukraine.

Find more updates and resources on Candids special issue page on the philanthropic response to the war in Ukraine.

 

Civic Alliance: A commentary by Natalie Tran

March 16, 2022

I_Voted_stickers_element5-digital_unsplashWorking together to strengthen civic engagement

At the CAA Foundation, we work to activate popular culture to create sustainable social change. Alongside our colleagues, clients, and industry peers, we mobilize timely initiatives to raise awareness and catalyze action and forge public-private partnerships to achieve scale and impact.

One of those initiatives is the Civic Alliance—a coalition of America’s premier businesses united by a commitment to our democracy. Founded in partnership with the nonpartisan civic nonprofit Democracy Works, the Civic Alliance has built a community of more than 1,250 businesses with a reach of over 5.5 million employees.

Personally, I’m encouraged by the record voter turnout we have seen in recent years: 49.4 percent in the 2018 midterm elections and 66.8 percent in the 2020 presidential election. I am hopeful that this trend in increased voter turnout will continue and that we will break records in upcoming elections....

Read the full commentary by Natalie Tran, executive director of the CAA Foundation.

(Photo credit: element5-digital via Unsplash)

 

Helping Ukraine: How philanthropists and foundations can take action

March 14, 2022

Ukraine - School after Shelling_Eastern_Ukraine_GettyImages_Jakub LaichterThe humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine is both heart wrenching and complex. While it’s similar to a natural disaster in many respects, it also poses distinct challenges that require both immediate and long-term support.

Philanthropists, especially those with private foundations, can help in agile and flexible ways that others cannot. Not only can they respond rapidly when a crisis occurs, they can also take a longer view to understand the full scope of the problem(s), pinpoint where they can make the greatest impact, and determine how to allocate their resources most effectively to boost established relief efforts and/or launch new ones.

Here are some considerations for supporting Ukraine now and in the difficult years ahead.

Providing immediate help

As the situation in Ukraine is fluid and the crisis will likely escalate in both scale and urgency, we cannot yet know the exact extent of the support required. The following are broad categories of humanitarian aid most often provided to populations in urgent need:

  • Health and medical support
  • Shelter, water, food, sanitation, hygiene, and other essentials
  • Clothing and non-food items
  • Time-critical support for both internally displaced and refugee populations
  • Protection for people in conflict zones
  • Special services for elderly, disabled, ill, impoverished, and other vulnerable populations
  • Services to fill gaps in education and income

Donating cash is the most effective way for donors and private foundations to provide support, because they afford humanitarian organizations maximum flexibility to direct funds to the areas of greatest need. Donating items such as clothing and medical supplies requires shipping, receipt, and management of goods and materials and may hinder response efforts.

Private foundations may also provide funding through a unique capability permitted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in times of emergency: Rather than following the usual procedure of making grants to charities, they can make them directly to individuals and families in need without obtaining prior IRS approval.

Screening charities

Lists of organizations that support Ukraine relief efforts are easy to find online. Before supporting a charity—for any cause—it’s important to ask the following:

  • Is the organization well established and reputable? What is its history in the affected region?
  • Does it have a clear mission?
  • Does it meet a vital need in the current crisis?
  • How sound is its stated approach?
  • Are its values aligned with my own?
  • Are its services and programs unique?
  • Who sits on its board?
  • Does it achieve substantial results? What does it report about them?

In addition, it’s helpful to check the organization’s rating from one or several “watchdog” sites. These resources apply a uniform set of standards to analyze and grade the financial and programmatic quality of nonprofits. Some of the more well-known sites include GuideStar, GiveWell, Charity Navigator, Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, and the American Institute of Philanthropy.

Delivering long-term support: The ‘disaster life cycle’

Crisis and disaster response happens in several stages. By distributing funds and support across the disaster life cycle, philanthropists can help achieve greater impact with their resources and reduce the likelihood of recurrence while also aligning their response with their values and giving priorities.

Based on the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s four stages of the disaster life cycle, the requirements of each response phase can be described as follows:

  • Response and relief: The reactive time during or immediately following an emergency, often with a focus on saving lives, preventing further damage, and providing basic human services. This stage typically draw the most attention from the media and the most funding.
  • Reconstruction and recovery: The strategic period after damage has been assessed, including longer-term efforts to restore a community or country to pre-disaster state. This work typically begins after the event no longer dominates the news cycle and is often more expensive than relief. It also is often overlooked and underfunded by public charities, private philanthropists, and insurance companies.
  • Preparedness: Another strategic phase, involving detailed plans that will help people and areas respond effectively to disasters or crises. Activities may include planning exercises, training and educating volunteers, identifying evacuation routes and partners, stocking food, water and other basic necessities.
  • Mitigation: More strategic work designed to cure factors leading or contributing to emergencies and limit the impact of similar events in the future. This stage requires hazard risk analysis and the investment of time and resources to build resilience and reduce risk. Activities may include strengthening existing infrastructure and developing redundant processes.

Devising a crisis response

In determining how best to respond to a disaster or crisis, here are five considerations:

  • Understand your motivation. What about the crisis speaks to you? Is there a stage in the disaster life cycle that would benefit greatly from your personal network or professional strengths? There are numerous ways to connect your philanthropic mission to the needs that arise in emergency situations.
  • Do your research. This includes staying abreast of current affairs as well as looking to past disasters and similar situations for guidance and lessons learned that can help you construct a high-impact response.
  • Be aware of scams. Many new nonprofits are formed in response to disasters, and while some are legitimate, unfortunately, others are not. Evaluate new organizations carefully before making a commitment.
  • Consider equity. Disasters and crises have the potential to magnify inequities. There may be marginalized, vulnerable, or underresourced populations that will be impacted by the crisis more acutely and may have difficulty accessing essential services.
  • Partner with other funders. Exchange insights and best practices with other philanthropists. In the process, you may find collaborators with similar or complementary goals, which, in turn, will allow you to develop a more innovative or comprehensive response.

In sum, during this critical time for Ukraine – and when addressing any other disaster –   philanthropists and foundations will likely find it most effective to meet both immediate and long-term needs when providing support.

The following are vetted organizations to explore for offering assistance to Ukraine:

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Jakub Laichter)

Headshot_Gillian_Howell_Foundation_Source_PhilanTopicGillian Howell is head of client advisory solutions for Foundation Source, which provides comprehensive support services for private foundations. The firm works in partnership with financial and legal advisors as well as directly with individuals and families. A different version of this article appeared in Barron’s Online.

Find more articles in Philanthropy News Digest about  philanthropy’s response to the war in Ukraine.

Find more updates and resources on Candids special issue page on the philanthropic response to the war in Ukraine.

 

Achieving health equity for all Americans: A commentary by Matthew DeCamara

March 13, 2022

RiteAid_Healthy_Futures_Bartrams_GardenRacial inequities and health disparities continue to profoundly affect the lives and futures of tens of millions of Americans every day. Societal fault lines based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, educational attainment, and other factors run through virtually every aspect of our daily lives.

Alarm bells should be ringing from coast to coast when a third of residents live in poverty in majority-minority citiessuch as Buffalo, Cleveland, and Detroit; more than four-fifths of Black fourth graders are not reading at grade level; and Hispanic/Latinx women are nearly twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic white women. Life expectancy spans 20- to 30-year differences within the same city, depending on one’s race and ethnicity, and ZIP codes have unparalleled consequences for one’s life opportunities and long-term outlook.

These are not just data points. Real lives and real futures are at stake. We must confront the discrimination and systemic racism that are root causes of these heartbreaking realities facing so many children, families, and communities.

We cannot achieve racial equity if we do not achieve health equity for all Americans. If we are truly committed to upholding the ideals of our nation, together we must all serve as catalysts for positive change....

Read the full commentary by Matthew DeCamara, executive director of Rite Aid Healthy Futures.

(Photo credit: Rite Aid Healthy Futures/Bartram’s Garden)

 

Review: The Tyranny of Generosity

March 11, 2022

Book_cover_Theodore M. Lechterman_The Tyranny of GenerosityFrom discussions about philanthropy’s ties to wealth generation and capitalism to its role in perpetuating systems of racial inequality, many important critiques have recently surfaced about the intervention of philanthropic giving in, and its impact on, society. In The Tyranny of Generosity: Why Philanthropy Corrupts Our Politics and How We Can Fix It, Theodore M. Lechterman advances a fresh critique of contemporary philanthropy through an exploration of how it supports, or hinders, the value of democracy. A research fellow at the Institute for Ethics in AI at the University of Oxford, Lechterman draws on political philosophy to thoroughly examine what democracy demands from philanthropic giving and the policies that structure it. The book’s conclusion is that philanthropy and democracy are perhaps intertwined, to the point that the democratic ideal cannot exist without philanthropy, but we must all work to shift philanthropic practice and the laws that shape it so that they support that ideal.

The book’s introductory case study of the Bezos Day One Fund—a $2 billion commitment to address homelessness and preschool education in the United States—is used to showcase how such announcements of mega-philanthropy actually “colonize what are essentially democratic responsibilities.” As the book goes on to show, democracy ensures that goods like affordable housing and education are governed collectively, but donor behavior like that of Bezos undermines the core commitments of a democratic society—“in which people are supposed to determine their common affairs together, on equal terms.”...

Read the full review by Sarina Dayal, research specialist at Candid.

How organizations are responding to the Ukraine crisis

March 08, 2022

Ukraine_credit_Joel Carillet_GettyImages-1371827450According to UNHCR, between February 24 and March 8, 2022, an estimated 2,011,312 refugees left Ukraine. The vast majority (1,204,403) fled to Poland, while others went to Hungary (191,348), Slovakia (140,745), the Russian Fedeartion (99,300), Moldova (82,762), Romania (82,062), Belarus (453), and other European counties (210,239). On March 1, the United NationsOffice for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs issued a funding appeal for $1.7 billion in support of humanitarian relief efforts for people in Ukraine and refugees in neighboring countries.

Meanwhile, numerous NGOs are working on the ground in Ukraine and in the region to address the humanitarian needs of those affected by the Russian invasion. Needs range from medical supplies, food, water, hygiene kits, and psychosocial support to mental health assistance for children and families fleeing the region.

Here we highlight just some of the organizations directly assisting  and/or supporting efforts to assist internally displaced Ukrainians and refugees and the communities hosting them.

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee

The New York City-based American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has operated in Ukraine for three decades and supports nearly 40,000 low-income Jewish people in 1,000 locations across the country. Through its emergency hotlines, volunteer corps, and network of social service centers, the organization provides essentials such as food and medicine. JDC also is preparing to respond to mass displacement and deploy psychosocial support and increased aid to the most vulnerable. JDC has received grants from funders including Genesis Philanthropy Group, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and the Jewish Federations of North America.

American Red Cross

According to the American Red Cross headquartered in Washington, D.C., as of March 6, 2022, Red Cross teams have distributed more than 90,000 food and hygiene parcels to families on the move across Ukraine, including Mariupol; provided first aid training to more than 12,000 people in metro stations and bomb shelters; delivered more than 32 tons of food, blankets, medicine, medical supplies, trauma kits, and household items; assisted with the evacuation of people with disabilities; and distributed critical care items to more than 7,000 people seeking safety in bomb shelters from shelling. The American Red Cross also has deployed crisis responders to provide humanitarian relief in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Moldova, Croatia, Lithuania, and Russia, where Red Cross volunteers are supporting displaced people. ARC has received grants from funders including Bank of America, Key Bank, and Wells Fargo.

“The escalating conflict in Ukraine is taking a devastating toll,” said International Committee of the Red Cross director general Robert Mardini in a statement. “Casualty figures keep rising while health facilities struggle to cope. We already see long-term disruptions in regular water and electricity supplies. People calling our hotline in Ukraine are desperately in need of food and shelter.”

Americares

Based in Stamford, Connecticut, Americares has worked in Eastern Europe for decades, delivering $120 million in medicine and supplies to Ukraine to date. To help provide health services for Ukrainian families affected by the current humanitarian crisis, the organization has sent an emergency response team of physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals to Krakow, Poland. The organization will deliver medicine, medical supplies, emergency funding, and relief items to the region and provide primary care services, emergency treatment for injuries, and mental health and psychosocial support services to help survivors cope with stress and trauma. Americares has received commitments from Boeing and United Airlines, among others.

CARE

Atlanta-based CARE works to address global poverty—with an emphasis on empowering women—and deliver emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters. In Ukraine, the NGO is supporting local partner organizations to provide warm, safe spaces for refugees to rest at border crossings and to send food, sleeping bags, diapers, and other essentials into Ukraine. At the Ukrainian-Romanian border, CARE and its partner, SERA, are training 200 psychologists in emergency psychosocial support to help arriving refugees overcome the trauma of war and leaving their homes and also are supporting social services and child protection services at arrival points and on transit routes for the most vulnerable children. In addition, CARE has warned that “[f]or women who have been forced to flee their homes, who are far away from their usual support networks and usual means of income; exploitation—including sexual exploitation—is a real risk” and is calling for coordinated protection services to register and accompany those fleeing the conflict.

“One of the best ways to ensure a gender-sensitive humanitarian response is to fund women’s organizations in Ukraine, and other local organizations led by and serving specific groups, such as people with disabilities,” said CARE emergency media manager Ninja Taprogge in a statement. “These groups also need to be consulted as the international humanitarian response is planned, because their local knowledge, skills and networks are invaluable.”

Center for Disaster Philanthropy

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) in Washington, D.C., has created the CDP Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Recovery Fund, which will focus on addressing needs among the most vulnerable, marginalized, and at-risk internally displaced peoples, and refugees. The organization is in contact with and can award grants to Ukrainian and other international organizations that are not 501(c)3 entities. In addition, CDP has a list of suggestions for disaster giving by foundations.

“Although it will take a few days before we get a better understanding of the scale and extent of additional humanitarian needs from this rapid escalation and expansion of the conflict, we know that people forced from their homes need shelter, food, clean water and other basic necessities, particularly in the harsh winter climate,” the organization said on its website.

Direct Relief

Based in Santa Barbara, California, Direct Relief works to equip health professionals in resource-poor communities to meet the challenges of diagnosing and caring for people in need. As of March 3, 2022, Direct Relief—which has supported hospitals in Ukraine for years—has sent two shipments of medical aid to Poland for transport into Ukraine. The shipments include medicines and supplies requested by Ukraine’s Ministry of Health, such as medical oxygen concentrators, antibiotics, wound dressings, and respiratory medicine, as well as field medic packs. The organization anticipates a rapid expansion of medical relief to Ukraine in the near term, as dozens of medical manufacturers, including Eli Lilly and Co. and Merck, lend their support. FedEx is also working with Direct Relief to provide in-kind support of a charter flight containing medical aid.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), with U.S. headquarters in New York City, has delivered a shipment of emergency medical supplies—including surgical kits, trauma kits, and basic necessities for intensive care units, emergency rooms, and surgical operating theaters—to the Ukrainian Ministry of Health in Kyiv. Experienced MSF emergency and specialist medical staff are currently entering Ukraine, with more scheduled to arrive to support teams already working on the ground. MSF teams are assessing medical humanitarian needs at the Polish-Ukrainian border as well as elsewhere in Poland. The organization is also assessing the needs of refugees in Hungary, with a focus on identifying less visible needs for particularly vulnerable people; in southeastern Moldova, with a focus on chronically ill patients or mental health needs; and in border areas in Slovakia. In addition, MSF has an established presence in southern Russia and in Belarus—with its tuberculosis and hepatitis C programs—where it is assessing whether new medical humanitarian needs have emerged.

Global Giving

Global Giving, based in Washington, D.C., works to facilitate donations to reliable, locally led disaster relief and recovery efforts around the world through its online giving platform. The organization has set up a Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund in support of humanitarian assistance in impacted communities in Ukraine and surrounding regions where Ukrainian refugees have fled, including shelter, food, and clean water for refugees; health and psychosocial support; and access to education and economic assistance. As of March 7, the fund has raised $6.47 million toward its $10 million goal. Global Giving also provides a Ukrainian Crisis: Fast Facts page that provides historical context for the war and its impact on humanitarian challenges.

International Medical Corps

The International Medical Corps, based in Pasadena, California, is on the ground in Ukraine, has created a logistics and support hub in Poland, and is working with health agencies and local partners to provide primary and emergency health services; mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS); gender-based violence (GBV) response services and protection services for women, children, and other at-risk people who face risks during conflict; and medicines and medical supplies, including personal protection equipment, to help provide critical care and prevent infectious diseases like COVID-19 among refugees and displaced populations. The organization first delivered essential relief and medicines to Ukrainian healthcare facilities and trained local doctors and medical staff in 1999; since 2014, when the healthcare system in eastern Ukraine collapsed, it has been providing primary health care, MHPSS, GBV, and COVID-related services.

International Rescue Committee

The New York City-based International Rescue Committee (IRC), which helps those whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive and recover, is on the ground in Poland, working with local partners there and in Ukraine. The organization is providing critical information to some of the one million people who have arrived in Poland from Ukraine and are also procuring medical supplies and essential items such as sleeping bags and blankets for distribution at reception centers on the Ukrainian/Polish border. In addition, IRC is also working to quickly mobilize resources and connect with partners in Ukraine to establish a response that will provide life-saving support to civilians forced to flee their homes. The organization has received a grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

Project HOPE

Project HOPE, based in Omaha, Nebraska, is coordinating with local NGOs, hospitals, and government officials across Poland, Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine, as well as the World Health Organization, Logistics Clusters, ministries of health, and other authorities. The organization’s immediate focus is on continuing to source and ship essential medicines and medical supplies for primary health and trauma care to affected areas, including hygiene kits, Interagency Emergency Health Kits, and insulin. In Poland, Project HOPE is procuring vital medical supplies to be delivered to a neonatal hospital in Kyiv, supporting an NGO in Kyiv in purchasing and transporting medicines and medical supplies to civilian hospitals, and assessing health needs in the Dnipro region, including for those who are internally displaced. In Moldova, the organization also is procuring and delivering critical medical supplies to the Ministry of Health to serve refugees. In addition, in Romania, Project HOPE is sourcing hygiene kits, medical supplies, and medicines for transport into Ukraine and for the refugee population.

“These refugees have no idea when they will be able to return home or what home they will return to. Many of them only have the few belongings they could grab before fleeing,” said Project HOPE’s Vlatko Uzevski in a statement. Within these waves of refugees are untold thousands who are pregnant, nursing, elderly, or managing serious medical conditions. The doctors and medicines they rely on are gone. There were already three million people in Ukraine in need of humanitarian assistance before this invasion. They are the ones who will bear the brunt of this war.”

Project Kesher

Based in New York, Project Kesher works to build the Jewish community and advance civil society by developing and empowering women leaders. Their work in Ukraine is to mobilize globally to support Ukrainian women and families. Project Kesher Ukraine staff are currently on the ground, either sheltering in place or traveling in search of safety. At the same time, Project Kesher activists are crossing into border countries in Europe, many with children and elderly family members, while those in Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, and Israel are fielding requests from Ukrainian women for help with evacuation, support at the border, immigrating to Israel, and accessing emergency support services. The organization is in daily contact with Jewish relief efforts on the ground and in Europe.

Razom

New York-based Razom works to foster Ukrainian democracy and civil society through a global network of experts and organizations supporting democracy activists and human rights advocates across Ukraine. Razom’s emergency response to the crisis is focused on purchasing medical supplies for critical situations like blood loss and other tactical medicine items through an extensive procurement team of volunteers that tracks down and purchases supplies, and a logistics team that then gets them to Ukraine. Razom also is coordinating with several partner organizations worldwide, including Nova Ukraine, United Help Ukraine, Revived Soldiers Ukraine, Sunflower for Peace, and Euromaidan-Warszawa; working with governments and embassies on establishing humanitarian corridors; and arranging for warehouses and points of delivery in Poland and Ukraine. Donated funds will be used to purchase tourniquets, bandages, combat gauzes, sterile pads, and satellite phones.

Save the Children

Connecticut-based Save the Children is supporting humanitarian programs aiming to reach 3.5 million children and their families with immediate aid and recovery through its Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund, which will provide children and families with immediate aid such as food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support, and cash assistance. Save the Children is on the ground in Romania, working with migrants and asylum seekers in five reception centers. Teams are currently conducting a needs assessment in four refugee camps in northeastern Romania and preparing to distribute essential items and set up spaces where children have a safe place to play, learn, and cope with grief and loss; it is also urgently assessing needs in Poland and Lithuania. In addition, Save the Children is calling on neighboring countries to provide access to asylum, protection, and assistance to all people fleeing Ukraine, regardless of their nationality or visa status.

Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights

California-based Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights partners with women’s movements worldwide to support women’s human rights defenders striving to create cultures of justice, equality, and peace. In response to the crisis in Ukraine, the fund supports women, trans, and nonbinary activists on the ground in Ukraine and the surrounding region by providing flexible funding and security support. To that end, the organization is responding to requests from groups and individuals seeking help with emergency evacuations and relocations; legal, financial, and medical support; security and disaster survival training; increasing shelter capacities for children, women, and all other civilians; and access to alternative communication channels, mobile internet, power banks, VPNs, proxy, spare phones, and tablets.

World Central Kitchen

Founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen (WCK), based in Washington, D.C., provides meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises while building resilient food systems with locally led solutions. WCK is on the ground in Ukraine and nearby countries, serving thousands of fresh meals to Ukrainian families fleeing home and those who remain in the country. Within hours of the initial invasion, WCK began working at a 24-hour pedestrian border crossing in southern Poland and now feeds families at eight border crossings across the country. In addition, WCK supports local restaurants preparing meals in eight Ukrainian cities, including Odessa, Lviv, and Kyiv. WCK teams are also on the ground in Romania, Moldova, and Hungary and plan to assist in Slovakia. Andrés ,who last year was awarded a $100 million “courage and civility award” from Jeff Bezos for his humanitarian work, has said via Twitter that he will commit support from that award to Ukraine.

“It’s hard to know that, even in this moment, there are mainly women with children walking for hours out of Ukraine to safety, to different countries,” said Andrés s in a recorded message. “Every country is welcoming them, and every country is doing their best, but it’s hard to know there are people walking in the streets or spending the night in a car with no gas, with no way to heat themselves.”

The majority of these organizations has earned a Candid Seal of Transparency at the Platinum, Gold, or Silver level.

A Candid Seal of Transparency indicates that an organization has shared publicly information that enables informed funding decisions. Depending on the level (Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum), requirements include information about its mission, grantmaker status, donations, and leadership, programs, brand details, audited financial report or basic financial information, board demographics, strategic plan or strategy and goal highlights, and at least one metric demonstrating progress and results. Learn more about how nonprofits can earn a Seal of Transparency. https://guidestar.candid.org/profile-best-practices/

Find more articles in Philanthropy News Digest about  philanthropy’s response to the war in Ukraine.

Find more updates and resources on Candids special issue page on the philanthropic response to the war in Ukraine.

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Joel Carillet)

Lauren Brathwaite is content editor and Kyoko Uchida is features editor at Philanthropy News Digest.

 

Strategies to help nonprofits not only survive, but thrive: A commentary by Donna Kennedy-Glans

March 07, 2022

Diversity_GettyImages_gmast3rNot only is the not-for-profit sector expected to address the disparities and fill the gaps exposed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofit leaders are not exempt from the calls for greater accountability, equality, fairness, and sustainability—from the public as well as their funders, employees, volunteers, and the communities they serve. In these uncertain times, what strategies can help not-for-profit organizations not only to survive, but to thrive?

To understand how successful leaders build the organizational capacity required to adapt to a changing ecosystem and maximize opportunity for growth, it’s essential to understand the most relevant challenges your nonprofit is facing, then deploy strategies that connect the dots between external threats and foundational organizational values and capacities....

Read the full commentary by Donna Kennedy-Glans, founder of volunteer-run global social entrepreneurship initiative Bridges Social Development and the citizen engagement initiative Viewpoints AB.

(Photo credit: Getty Images/gmast3r)

Review: In Defence of Philanthropy

March 04, 2022

Book_cover_In_Defence_of_PhilanthropyDoes philanthropy really need defending? While never explicitly asked, it’s the question that’s implied throughout Beth Breeze’s treatise In Defence of Philanthropy. You might wonder why this fundraiser-turned-academic feels the need to state, once and for all, what philanthropy is and what it isn’t, to counter notorious examples of bad apples with the concrete and long-lasting good that philanthropy brings, and to encourage space for more philanthropy, not less, as we look for long-term solutions to ever-greater challenges both local and global.

According to the latest report from Giving USA, Americans—individuals, foundations, and corporations—combined to give away $471 billion in 2020, a 5.1 percent increase over the 2019 total. And if the issues of climate change, vaccine development, or supporting historically underserved communities are any measure, philanthropic dollars are doing ever-bolder work. What’s more, even with volunteers staying home in these pandemic times, more people—wealthy or not—are giving more of their treasure than ever before. From that point of view, we just might be living in a golden age of giving....

Read the full review by Daniel X Matz, foundation web development manager at Candid.

Corporate America’s philanthropy model doesn’t work. It’s time for a better one.

March 01, 2022

Child_health_care_Drazen_Zigic_GettyImages-1287924870Corporate America is exceedingly generous. With nearly $17 billion in donations in 2020 alone, businesses are working hard to address everything from equity to education to addiction. Yet while it’s undeniable that corporate America is philanthropically minded, it’s highly questionable whether all this giving is truly effective. Businesses need a better way to tackle society’s biggest problems.

When it comes to philanthropy, businesses take a traditional approach. They lean heavily on traditional corporate foundations: nonprofits through which they dole out grants to specific causes and marginalized communities, or provide free or reduced-price products and services. While this giving matters, it can’t drive the systemic change that’s needed to address long-standing issues like poverty or economic inequity. Such problems can be solved only by long-term innovation, not short-term programs.

That’s why businesses should adopt a new nonprofit model: a public charity spinout from a corporation. It’s significantly different from traditional corporate foundations and exponentially more effective at driving systemic change.

This new nonprofit model, which my organization has adopted, springs from the realization that public charities have more flexibility than corporate foundations. Public charities are required to receive most donations from noncorporate sources, which means potentially greater resources. They are free to invest in promising innovators and reinvest the returns to spur faster progress—something corporate foundations avoid. At the same time, a public charity can draw on the expertise and infrastructure of the founding company and its employees, giving it the benefits of the business itself.

Add it all up, and public charities can operate more like a corporate startup incubator or seed investor than a corporate foundation. They can easily invest in startups and promising solutions that require more resources or a longer time frame. They can also more easily support innovators who are not well-known in traditional investor circles. This outside-the-box strategy is key to driving comprehensive solutions to society-wide problems.

How can a business make this happen? First, establish a public charity, either instead of or in addition to a traditional corporate foundation. Give it a mission of finding and investing in promising innovators and social changemakers who can tackle the root causes of major social challenges.

Next, get your employees involved in its work. They can donate their time and professional expertise to the public charity, empowering it to support promising innovations far more effectively. That’s another difference from a foundation, which doles out corporate money but not the subject mastery of a corporate workforce. An independent board can ensure there’s no corporate self-dealing.

The next step is to solicit donations from outside the business—a requirement for a public charity. Fortunately, philanthropists have a good reason to support this nonprofit. Their donations are amplified by the founding company’s resources and employee expertise, exceeding the impact that donor dollars would otherwise make. They can also watch their support grow more powerful over time, as investments generate returns and get reinvested.

Add it all up, and what do you get? Groundbreaking solutions to pressing social problems. The public charity gives changemakers the funding they need but often can’t find, as well as the business expertise they want but often don’t have. Historic lack of support for social innovation means that countless advances have never seen the light of day. With this new nonprofit model, they finally have the chance to shine.

My organization is potentially the first to adopt the public charity model. We were stood up by Roivant Sciences, a technology-driven health care company, and our mission is to use technological advances to expand health care access and improve health outcomes for underserved groups. While typical health care-related corporate foundations facilitate free or cheap therapeutics, we focus on supporting innovators who can advance health equity over the long run.

Consider Sunflower Therapeutics, which my organization supports. It is developing a cost-effective means of manufacturing vaccines locally in less developed countries—a basic matter of health equity and an urgent need coming out of the pandemic. In addition to funding, my organization provides Sunflower with corporate expertise. With a public charity like ours supporting it, Sunflower Therapeutics could fundamentally change how the world makes and gets vaccinations, which will protect health globally and end long-standing inequities in large parts of the world.

This new nonprofit model could be applied to virtually any industry. A bank could support innovative fintech startups that expand access to the financial system for the unbanked or underbanked. A homebuilding business could invest in new manufacturing processes that make homes more affordable or more durable. Tech companies could expand consumer access to digital currency, which is being embraced globally and can empower minority communities in America too. Such nonprofits will need to comply with applicable state and federal charitable rules, and also develop a robust fundraising plan for substantial, ongoing donations beyond their founding companies, in order to maintain public charity status.

The possibilities are vast, yet they won’t be unleashed if companies stick with the traditional corporate foundation model. That tried-and-true system has its purposes, but it’s insufficient for tackling massive problems and ending long-standing injustice. A new model can spark systemic change, one that combines the best of for-profit businesses with the benefits of nonprofit public charities. What is corporate America waiting for?

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Drazen Zigic)

Headshot_Lindsay Androski_Roivant_Social_Venures_PhilanTopicLindsay Androski is president and CEO of Roivant Social Ventures and a trustee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

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