231 posts categorized "Human/Civil Rights"

Remembering Urvashi

May 17, 2022

Headshot_Urvashi_Vaid_The_Laura_Flanders_Show_2014_CCOn Monday, May 16, I woke up to the devastating news that Urvashi Vaid had died. A pioneering LGBTQ+ civil rights activist, she leaves behind organizations, books, networks, movements, and ideas that will continue to inspire for decades to come. At a time when so many of the things Urvashi fought for are under attack it seems unfair that she should be taken from us. Instead, I choose to be grateful for how difficult she has made it for those would seek to walk back all the hard-won rights she dedicated her life to defending.

I knew Urvashi first as a colleague and then a friend. She served as deputy director of the Governance and Civil Society unit of the Ford Foundation from 2001 to 2005, during my tenure there as vice president for peace and social justice. By that time, she had already served as staff attorney at the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, led the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (now National LGBTQ Task Force) and authored Virtual Equality. At that moment in her life, coming to Ford was a choice to step back, if only a bit, from the front lines of activism and multiply herself, her values, and aspirations through the work of others. Urvashi fully appreciated the centrality of power and somehow managed to make space, outside of her more-than-full-time job at Ford, to study political philosopher Hannah Arendt at The New School. Her own life experience and activism had taught her that power concedes nothing without struggle, and she used her time at Ford to support nonprofits, movements, and researchers working to achieve human rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, and how they intersect to create identity.

Following her time at Ford, Urvashi went on to become the first executive director of the Arcus Foundation, devoted to LGBTQ+ social justice around the world, launched LPAC (the first lesbian super PAC), and co-founded the Donors of Color Network, the National LGBTQ Anti-Poverty Action Network, the National LGBT/HIV Criminal Justice Working Group, and the Equality, Federation, the National Religious Leadership Roundtable. Any one of these accomplishments would be the crowning achievement of a single lifetime, but for Urvashi they were building blocks for a vision of equality stronger than a single person or organization. Somehow, in the midst of it all, she managed to find abundant time for friends, for the family she dearly loved, and her wife and soulmate Kate Clinton. Even her long struggle with cancer was something Urvashi turned into an organizing opportunity, creating a support group for female cancer survivors, affectionately nicknamed “The Breasties,” of which my wife was a loyal participant through the years.

Urvashi is the only person I have ever known who was radical to the very core of her being. Everything she did, said, and lived for was informed by her values and ideals. But she was also a mensch in the most expansive sense of the word. Her undying commitment to equality was blended with kindness, generosity, and unfailing good humor (it is no accident that Urvashi is caught smiling in so many photos). Though as part of the Ford Foundation hierarchy, I was technically Urvashi’s supervisor, she went out of her way to reach out, listen, and talk at a time when the foundation was being heavily criticized from all sides for its work in Israel and Palestine. She did so out of friendship, solidarity, and a desire to ensure that we would all end up on the right side of history by realizing the long-term implications of decisions made under pressure.

Urvashi’s life and work lives on through everyone she touched.  She taught us that social justice is something for which struggle is necessary, day in, day out, 365 days a year. Changing the world takes power, resources, vision, organizing, even humor, but above all, and this was Urvashi’s true superpower, it takes unlimited love.

(Photo credit: The Laura Flanders Show, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

Headshot_brad_smith_for_PhilanTopicBradford K. Smith is former president of Candid.

Belonging and prosperity: A Q&A with Norman Chen, CEO, The Asian American Foundation

Headshot_Norman Chen_TAAFThe Asian American Foundation (TAAF) was launched in May 2021—amid a rise in anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate and violence—to help solve for the longstanding lack of investment provided to AAPI communities and to build the infrastructure needed to improve AAPI advocacy, power, and representation. That month, TAAF announced that through its AAPI Giving Challenge and donations from its board, it secured nearly $1.1 billion in donations and in-kind commitments from partners—the largest philanthropic commitment in history fully focused on supporting AAPI communities—including $125 million from board members to support AAPI organizations and causes over the next five years. TAAF’s work focuses on several priority areas: anti-hate, data and research, education, narrative change, unlocking resources, and racial solidarity.

Norman Chen has served as CEO of TAAF since November 2021. Before joining TAAF, Chen co-founded Leading Asian Americans to Unite for Change (LAAUNCH) in September 2020 and created the Social Tracking of Asian Americans in the U.S. (STAATUS) Index, a landmark study of American attitudes toward Asian Americans. Prior to his leadership in AAPI advocacy and philanthropy, Chen spent his career as an entrepreneur, investor, and community leader building innovative life sciences companies and supporting nonprofit organizations in both the United States and Asia. 

PND asked Chen about TAAF’s mission to address the historic lack of philanthropic investment in AAPI communities through key initiatives such as the AAPI Giving Challenge, the factors behind the historic underinvestment in AAPI communities, TAAF’s Anti-Hate National Network and AAPI Action Centers, and key findings from the 2022 STAATUS Index.

Philanthropy News Digest: TAAF’s mission is “to serve the community in their pursuit of belonging and prosperity that is free from discrimination, slander, and violence.” The AAPI community is often seen by other Americans as quickly attaining prosperity—i.e., the model minority myth—while continuing to be perceived as foreign, as other, generation after generation. How does the foundation work to address the tension between those two components of its mission?

Norman Chen: Prosperity is a core piece of TAAF’s mission because we are addressing often overlooked social and economic challenges in AAPI communities—one being that we are the most economically divided racial group in the U.S., with the highest median household income and the highest intra-racial group income disparity. Contrary to the model minority myth, which perpetuates a misguided perception about AAPI socioeconomic success, prosperity is not equally accessible across AAPI communities or to AAPI immigrants who come to the U.S. in pursuit of a better life for their families.

Belonging is part and parcel of our work because AAPIs continue to face other harmful stereotypes such as being seen as perpetual foreigners. For example, according to the 2021 STAATUS Index, one in five Americans agreed with the statement that Asian Americans as a group are “more loyal to their countries of origin than to the U.S.”

For these reasons, TAAF has sought to close critical gaps in support and make strategic investments in our communities. We are committed to accelerating prosperity and creating a greater sense of belonging for all AAPIs by bringing to bear more cross-sector support from partners who are also committed to these efforts....

Read the full Q&A with Norman Chen, CEO of the The Asian American Foundation.

How to support human rights, health, and well-being in Ukraine: A commentary by Christian De Vos

May 12, 2022

Migration crisis on the border with Belarus_GettyImages_NzpnIn its violent and unlawful invasion of Ukraine, Russia has launched indiscriminate attacks against civilians and the places where they gather, including hospitals, schools, and humanitarian corridors. Thousands of civilians, including children, have been killed and many more injured. Thousands more are in danger of dying in besieged areas cut off from water, food, and electricity. Almost five million refugees have already fled the country, while nearly eight million are internally displaced within Ukraine. Millions more remain at grave risk.

The global spotlight on and solidarity with Ukrainians have been inspiring, with governments, organizations, and individuals rallying in support of Ukraine and its vast humanitarian needs. Still, philanthropic funders can do more and do better to alleviate suffering in Ukraine, meet humanitarian imperatives, and support justice and accountability in several key areas of need.

Here we offer six approaches that should guide where and how philanthropic organizations can support human rights, health, and well-being in Ukraine....

Read the full commentary by Christian De Vos, director of research and investigations at Physicians for Human Rights.

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Nzpn)

Review: 'Private Virtues, Public Vices: Philanthropy and Democratic Equality'

April 30, 2022

Book_cover_Public_Virtues_Private_VicesIt is lamented that large-scale philanthropy (like everything else) has become politicized and polarizing, subject to conspiracy theories and accusations of whitewashing and being too “woke.” In Private Virtues, Public Vices: Philanthropy and Democratic Equality, Emma Saunders-Hastings reminds us that contributing private wealth for the public good—by definition—has always been a political act.

An assistant professor of political science at Ohio State University, Saunders-Hastings writes like the academic she is, giving careful consideration to historical and contemporary theorists and practitioners—including Alexis de Tocqueville, John Rawls, Peter Singer, Rob Reich, and Erica Kohl-Arenas—and scrupulously qualifying her statements, devoting almost as much space to what she is not arguing as to what she is. She does not deny the merits of philanthropy itself, as Machiavelli did, but seeks “a theory of philanthropy that is political, not just ethical; that applies across multiple levels of idealization; and that is oriented to relational equality”—that is, relations of social and political (not distributive) equality.

“Democratic equality demands of philanthropy and philanthropic regulation not (or not only) better outcomes but changes in the ways that power is distributed and exercised within philanthropic relationships,” she writes.

The book focuses on two objections to philanthropy with regard to democracy: “philanthropy can be an exercise of plutocratic power, and it can be objectionably paternalistic.” The title’s “public vices” are “relational vices—usurpation, subordination, failures of reciprocity, and paternalism,” which can create or reinforce unequal political relationships, even when based on consent. Despite calls for reform, elite philanthropy continues to enjoy both social deference, which limits comparative evaluations of philanthropic donations, and institutional and legal deference, in the form of tax benefits, facilitation of foundation creation, weak oversight, and protection of donor intent....

Read the full review by Kyoko Uchida, features editor at Philanthropy News Digest.

Review: 'George Soros: A Life in Full'

April 26, 2022

Book_cover_George_Soros_A_Life_in_FullIt feels like our idea of an “open society” is in retreat. Wherever we look—be it the United States, where anti-democratic forces are rolling back voting rights; or Russia, where opposition leaders are imprisoned and restrictive press freedoms make it nearly impossible to report the news; or Hungary, where its nationalist, authoritarian president has been elected to a fourth term; or Ukraine, where the very existence of a free and democratic country is being challenged with military force—our notions of justice, rights, and political freedom are under threat. What we are learning in these precipitous times is that the truths we hold to be self-evident are in fact won—and lost—by our own willingness to nurture and defend them. And that is something George Soros understands very well.

The day before the publication of George Soros: A Life in Full, edited by longtime Soros publisher Peter L.W. Osnos, the Open Society Foundations (OSF) announced a $25 million pledge to launch the $100 million Ukraine Democracy Fund in response to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of its neighbor. This timing could not have been more appropriate, reflecting the urgency of the moment to support Ukrainian civil society and bolster relief efforts, while opening a window on the life and work of one of the last half-century’s more remarkable philanthropists. Soros, at the age of 91, is where he has always been: outspoken on his values and out front in his support of a world that embraces universal justice, human rights, political freedom, education, public health, and a free press....

Read the full commentary by Daniel X. Matz, contributing editor at Philanthropy News Digest.

Bold and intersectional funding: A Q&A with Ana L. Oliveira, President and CEO, The New York Women’s Foundation

April 13, 2022

Headshot_AnaOliveira_New_York_Womens_FoundationAna L. Oliveira has served as president and CEO of The New York Women’s Foundation (The Foundation) since 2006, after leading Gay Men’s Health Crisis for seven years as its first woman and Latina executive director. Oliveira grew up in São Paulo, Brazil, earned an MA in medical anthropology from the New School for Social Research, and directed community-based programs at Samaritan Village, the Osborne Association, and Kings County and Lincoln hospitals.

Under Oliveira’s leadership, The Foundation has expanded its grantmaking—starting with a 20 percent increase in 2009, to $3.3 million—and awarded $9 million in 2021, bringing total grant dollars awarded to date to more than $100 million.

PND asked Oliveira about her priorities for 2022, the importance of investing in grassroots organizations, the fight for reproductive rights and criminal justice reform, and women’s and LGBTQ individuals’ advancement in the sector.

Philanthropy News Digest: In announcing that your foundation had reached $100 million in cumulative grantmaking over 35 years in support of community-based solutions to create a more equitable and just future for women, girls, and gender-expansive people, you noted that “we are also aware of the work left to do.” What are your top priorities for 2022? And for the next $100 million?

Ana L. Oliveira: The Foundation’s focus has been and will remain on investing in women and gender-expansive leaders to advance justice in their communities. This marks a pivotal year for The Foundation, as we celebrate our anniversary and will host the 35th annual Celebrating Women® Breakfast on May 11. Our top priorities in 2022 include deepening our practice of participatory and inclusive philanthropy, altering the traditional power structure of more traditional philanthropic approaches. We will deepen our proximity to community, increasing the presence of those with lived experience at all tables at The Foundation. We will continue to focus on funding those creating and organizing a city and a country that works for all through their gender, racial, and economic equity movements. We believe in a vibrant and participatory civil society, so we will also increase our support to those protecting and expanding democratic practices in the U.S.

We will also start our work to distribute our next $100 million in grants in the next 10 years! It will reflect our commitment to continued bold and intersectional funding that honors the leadership and vision of women and gender-expansive people....

Read the full Q&A with Ana L. Oliveira, president and CEO of The New York Women’s Foundation.

Now is the time for philanthropy to be bold: A Q&A with Isabelle Leighton, Interim Executive Director, Donors of Color Network

April 11, 2022

Headshot_Isabelle_Leighton_Donors_of_Color_Network_2Isabelle Leighton is interim executive director of Donors of Color Network, whose mission is to build systemic racial equity to be more reflective and accountable to communities of color. Leighton has 20 years of experience growing social justice and movement-oriented organizations, including Political Research Associates, where Leighton focused on supporting communities targeted by racist and misogynist forces during the Trump administration. Prior to that, Leighton was the founding director of Equality Fund, a philanthropic advocacy project, and served as NYC co-chair of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy. Leighton currently sits on the boards of the Solidago Foundation, Open City Labs, and the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism.

PND asked Leighton about barriers to donors of color achieving equitable attention and consideration, how media and other allies can assist in better recognizing donors of color, the role that race and racism play in the problems that philanthropists are working to solve, how the philanthropic sector could be more inclusive, philanthropy’s response to climate justice, and how best to demystify and educate the sector on the issues that mean the most to donors of color.

Philanthropy News Digest: While donors of color are not “new” or “emerging,” your report, Philanthropy Always Sounds Like Someone Else: A Portrait of High Net Worth Donors of Color indicates that “philanthropy writ large does not understand who high net worth donors of color are.” What are the barriers to donors of color achieving equitable attention and consideration?

Isabelle Leighton: Philanthropy has a history of being upheld by white supremacy and centered around class, race, and gender—omitting the experiences and stories from people of color entirely from funders to grantees. This has a direct impact on who and what receives funding. Donors of color face constant, historical barriers of entry to philanthropy that often overlook their work and interests in favor of their white counterparts. Donors of Color Network (DOCN) aims to shift the center of gravity in philanthropy towards racial and economic justice to knock down the traditional entry barriers for many donors of color. In doing so, we can address our most pressing issues equitably and create a welcoming space for BIPOC donors who bring experiences and resources invaluable to solving the most pressing issues of our time.

Media coverage is another major barrier to achieving equitable attention and consideration for donors of color. The stories of donors of color have rarely, if ever, been told, and that’s one of the main reasons behind our report. Media across the board needs to make an intentional effort to cover BIPOC donors and stories to amplify their work and raise awareness of the unique causes they fund and why. Our Portrait report revealed that nearly every single interviewee personally experienced racial or ethnic bias that influenced their philanthropic giving. These lived experiences led donors to prioritize social justice, women’s and gender rights, and racial justice as leading issues they want to support. Our goal with this report is to bring more awareness about the work of DOCN and draw more members into our movement to strengthen the voice and power of a philanthropic sector that is more reflective of the vibrant diversity of today’s most innovative problem solvers....

Read the full Q&A with Isabelle Leighton, interim executive director, Donors of Color Network.

How the international community treats refugees: A commentary by Frank Giustra

April 08, 2022

Migration crisis on the border with Belarus_GettyImages_NzpnSelective empathy: An observation on classes of refugees

“These are people who are Europeans, so we and all other countries are ready to welcome them. In other words, this is not the refugee wave that we are used to, where we don’t know what to do, people with an uncertain past—are they terrorists?”

These are the words spoken by Bulgaria’s prime minister, Kiril Petkov, in reference to the millions of Ukrainians who have crossed into neighboring countries since the Russian invasion began on February 24. This sentiment, whether spoken aloud or not, is prevalent among many European politicians. It helps explain the stark contrast between the approach being taken with Ukrainians and that afforded to other refugees, such as those fleeing terrible situations in Syria, Afghanistan, and across Africa. European leaders are bending over backwards to welcome Ukrainian refugees. Meanwhile, people of African descent and other racial/ethnic minorities have faced discriminatory treatment as they flee Ukraine.

Fearing those who don’t “look like us” or who worship God in a different manner is neither new not unique to Europeans. Hungary’s populist leader, Viktor Orbán, labeling all refugees from the Middle East “economic migrants” in contrast to the “proper” Ukrainian refugees is not that dissimilar to Donald Trump calling Mexicans “murderers and rapists.”

To be clear: I am all for helping Ukrainians in this time of need, and I am supporting two humanitarian organizations on the ground there: CORE and World Central Kitchen. That said, I feel compelled to point out the inconsistency in how the international community treats refugees depending on their race, color, and religion....

Read the full commentary by Frank Giustra, founding partner of the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative, co-chair of the International Crisis Group, as well as founder of Lionsgate Entertainment, Giustra Foundation, Acceso, and Million Gardens Movement.

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Nzpn)

Ukrainian civil society working to meet urgent needs: A commentary by Svitlana Bakhshaliieva

April 01, 2022

Independence monument and ukrainian flag in Kiev_GettyImages_DmyToHelping Ukrainian civil society meet urgent needs during and after the war

Ukrainian civil society received a significant boost in 2014, when the need for charitable assistance increased sharply during the Revolution of Dignity as well as after the occupation of Crimea and the start of the war in eastern Ukraine. NGOs and charitable foundations have since proven to be an effective driving force for coordinating aid and meeting civic needs, which has helped catalyze the institutionalization of the social sector in Ukraine. Today, there are more foundations that can work efficiently and systematically, and as we have seen since the start of the war in February, civil society is able to quickly adapt to new conditions to meet current challenges.

For example, a few days into the current war, the Alexey Stavnitser Foundation, together with relevant government ministries, the armed forces, and representatives of Ukrainian businesses, set up a warehouse in Poland to collect medicines and humanitarian aid from abroad. A few days later, the executive director of the Olena Pinchuk Foundation, who helps with the coordination of aid procurement, joined the initiative as a volunteer. And thanks to the cooperation of the Ernst Prost Foundation, the warehouse can now accept payments from all over the world and buy supplies abroad....

Read the full commentary by Svitlana Bakhshaliieva, international partnerships manager at Zagoriy Foundation in Kyiv. 

(Photo credit: Getty Images/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.

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.

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

‘How do the humanities figure in a socially just world?’: A Q&A with Phillip Brian Harper, Program Director for Higher Learning, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

February 24, 2022

Headshot_Phillip_Brian_Harper_mellon_foundationPhillip Brian Harper joined the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in October 2020 as program director for the new Higher Education grantmamking area. As part of the foundation’s new strategy to prioritize social justice in all of its grantmaking, the program supports inclusive humanities education and diverse learning environments, with a focus on historically underserved populations, including nontraditional and incarcerated students. In January 2022, the foundation announced grants totaling $16.1 million to 12 liberal arts colleges in support of social justice-oriented curricular development in the humanities.

A literary scholar and cultural critic, Harper previously served as dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University and, prior to that, taught at Harvard University and Brandeis University. He is the author of Framing the Margins: The Social Logic of Postmodern Culture (1994); Are We Not Men? Masculine Anxiety and the Problem of African-American Identity (1996); Private Affairs: Critical Ventures in the Culture of Social Relations (1999); and Abstractionist Aesthetics: Artistic Form and Social Critique in African American Culture (2015).

PND asked Harper about the Humanities for All Times initiative, the role of a humanities education in advancing social justice, and the insights he brings to those philanthropic efforts as an academic and a writer.

Philanthropy News Digest: The grants awarded through the Humanities for All Times initiative will support curricula “that both instruct students in methods of humanities practice and clearly demonstrate those methods’ relevance to broader social justice pursuits.” Can you give an example of what such a curriculum might include?

Phillip Brian Harper: Yes, it would include courses that not only familiarize students with certain bodies of knowledge that are relevant to humanities inquiry—accessible, for instance, through a specific set of texts or in a particular archive—but also consciously and explicitly train students in humanities methods for conducting research and analysis on relevant materials: archival investigation, textual interpretation, oral history interviewing, etc.

Furthermore, it would provide students with some concrete demonstration of how those methods can be put to use in real-world social justice work. To give an example, one of the institutions that has received a Humanities for All Times grant, Austin College, will establish 18 different “humanities labs,” each of which would focus on a pressing social justice challenge—for instance, contestations over the definition of U.S. citizenship, appropriate modes of historical memorialization, or medical ethics questions raised by the COVID-19 pandemic—and deploy humanities methods in exploring potential solutions to it....

Read the full Q&A with Phillip Brian Harper, Program Director for Higher Learning, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

‘Nonprofits must “live into” their missions both externally and internally’: A commentary by Anika Rahman

January 29, 2022

Hands_in_suits_GettyImagesRenewing nonprofits: Aligning power, money, and vision

In the nonprofit world, power and money can be uncomfortable topics. While we are focused on doing good, questions of power and how it manifests inevitably arise. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced us to confront issues of democracy and justice, has also catalyzed a reckoning across the sector.

Today, most nonprofits have begun to realize that they must “live into” their missions both externally and internally — these concerns are interrelated. For example, while it’s clear that leaders and donors often shape priorities, how power is distributed and decisions are made (including those about compensation) are less widely and openly discussed.

Aligning an organization internally means ensuring that its mission and priorities are reflected in its leadership and governance values. First and foremost, consistency is desirable in any organization. Second, staff and donors are increasingly demanding internal policy changes — calling for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB), transparency, and shared decision making — because of a greater awareness of the impact of these interconnected concerns on an organization’s strategies and brand. Finally, equitable internal principles help develop future cohorts of leaders who will continue to advance the organization’s mission, promote DEIB, and strengthen the larger movements of which it is a part.

Yet such alignment has proven elusive for many institutions: There is often a gap between an organization’s stated values and programmatic and internal realities....

Read the full commentary by Anika Rahman, an advocate for human rights, gender justice, social justice, and climate action who most recently served as chief board relations officer at the National Resources Defense Council.

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

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

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