1826 posts categorized "Philanthropy"

Sustainable support for Haiti's local food system: A commentary by Frank Giustra

September 14, 2021

Headshot_Frank_Giustra_croppedWithout long-term investment, food aid for Haiti risks being a Band-Aid

The aftershocks of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on August 14 are not only being felt by those nearest the epicenter.

The latest disaster not only has left six hundred and fifty thousand people needing immediate assistance but also has exposed the country's more than one million farming families, who depend on a precarious rural economy. While aid agencies are scrambling to distribute the World Food Programme's pre-positioned food and import additional supplies, farmers are facing the possibility of their ready harvests of staple crops going to waste. The result is loss of market opportunity, incomes, and the chance to sustain their livelihoods long enough to support Haiti's economic recovery.

If the lingering effects of the last major earthquake, which displaced 1.5 million people in 2010, are any indication, the full impact could be devastating for the country's food producers, their families, and communities, who lose out twice: first to the damage from the earthquake and then to the subsequent short-term influx of cheap imported food.

Before this latest earthquake, almost half the country, or 4.4 million people, faced food insecurity, while an even greater proportion — including an estimated 90 percent of the rural population — were living below the poverty line. Given that 60 percent of rural families rely on agriculture for their livelihoods, it follows that any shocks that impact food markets will also have a lasting impact on their economic security and well-being.

Conversely, supporting this key sector now and in the long-term is a fast-track way to tackle poverty, hunger, health disparities, and inequality and build resilience to the secondary impacts of natural disasters....

Read the full commentary by Frank Giustra, founder of Lionsgate Entertainment, Giustra Foundation, Acceso, and Million Gardens Movement.

'The best way to assist families with dignity and grace is to give them direct financial assistance': A Q&A with Allison Lutnick, Director of Disaster Relief Operations, Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund

September 13, 2021

Headshot_Allison_Lutnick_Cantor_Fitzgerald_Relief_Fund_2_croppedOn September 11, 2001, 658 Cantor Fitzgerald and sixty-one Eurobrokers employees lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund was founded on September 14 with a $1 million personal donation from Cantor Fitzgerald chairman and CEO Howard W. Lutnick, whose brother, Gary, was among those killed. The fund raised and distributed over $180 million for more than eight hundred families — including 932 children — of the victims of that tragedy; the fund has since expanded its focus and distributed $357 million to date in support of families impacted by acts of terrorism, emergencies, and natural disasters, as well as direct service charities and wounded service members.

Allison Lutnick, Howard Lutnick's wife, set up the Cantor Fitzgerald Crisis Center and ran support groups for the thirty-six Cantor women who were pregnant on 9/11 and the fiancées of employees who were killed. PND asked Lutnick, now the director of relief operations for the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, about the lessons of 9/11, the fund's evolution over the last two decades, its annual Charity Day event, and corporate partnerships. Here is an excerpt:

Philanthropy News Digest: What were the goals of the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund at the time of its inception, and how has it changed over time? 

Allison Lutnick: The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund (CFRF) was created within three days of 9/11 solely to help take care of the 658 Cantor families who had lost loved ones in the attack. We provided financial, emotional, and legal support to our families. Howard gave the families ten years of health insurance and 25 percent of the firm's profits for five years.

As time passed, the CFRF expanded its mission to include, among other things, providing direct financial assistance to military families and victims of natural disasters.  

We learned that the best way to assist other families with dignity and grace is to give them direct financial assistance. We also witnessed the resilience of young moms — we learned that in the face of tragedy, they have no choice but to raise themselves up and carry on for the sake of their children, to bring happiness into their lives despite loss and pain. So, we focus our resources on families with young children that are financially struggling as a result of a trauma in their life....

Read the full Q&A with Allison Lutnick.

[Review] The Post-Pandemic Nonprofit: 12 Disruptive Trends Your Nonprofit Must Master

September 10, 2021

Book_cover_the_post_pandemic_nonprofitThe last eighteen months have seen dramatic and — not to wear out a word we've all seen too much of as of late — "unprecedented" change across all industries of the global economy. The United States is no exception, nor is the nonprofit sector. As charitable organizations contend with figuring out what the "new normal"  looks like, Jeremy Reis, an experienced fundraising professional with a particular expertise in international development, offers to guide nonprofits on a path to post-pandemic success. While there is no denying that Reis has solid advice to give in The Post-Pandemic Nonprofit: 12 Disruptive Trends Your Nonprofit Must Master, given how quickly change can happen, the biggest question may be how long that advice will remain relevant and useful.

The Post-Pandemic Nonprofit contains exactly what it says on the tin. Reis has identified twelve strategies across three categories that he sees as key areas of investment for nonprofits to focus on as a way to survive and thrive in a post-pandemic philanthropic landscape: Who We Are (organizational identity), How We Operate (programming and functionality), and How We Grow (innovation and organizational development). While not all of these strategies are applicable to every nonprofit — and identifying his audience is something Reis struggles with throughout the book — the breadth of the suggestions means that most nonprofit professionals will be able to find something relevant and helpful to their organization's needs....

Read the full review by Audrey Silveman.

'A roadmap for how to respond to and provide funding for addressing collective traumas': A commentary by Stephanie Berkowitz

September 09, 2021

Headshot_Stephanie_Berkowitz_2_NVFSTwenty years after 9/11: Prioritizing trauma-informed mental health care

Twenty years after the September 11 attacks, lessons from that experience continue to inform the most effective ways to provide mental health support to individuals, families, and communities in crisis. At the same time, new lessons have emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing demand for racial justice. Together, these insights provide a roadmap for how to respond to and provide funding for addressing collective traumas for families as diverse as refugees arriving in this country from Afghanistan to those displaced by hurricanes. 

In 2001, the Greater Washington Community Foundation tapped Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) to provide trauma recovery services to survivors of the attack on the Pentagon. The September 11 Survivors' Fund was intentionally set up to be flexible and broadly focused. While we provided services to survivors most obviously impacted — those who were physically injured in the attack — we also supported a flight attendant who lost colleagues on the plane that flew into the Pentagon, a firefighter who saw the unimaginable and chose to change professions, and anguished family members who lost loved ones, among others. In all, the $25 million fund helped 1,051 people.

Years later, we learned of a group of construction workers from El Salvador who participated in clean-up efforts at the Pentagon but did not receive Survivors' Fund services. Only then did we recognize a significant shortcoming on our part. Since then, we have come to understand that targeted outreach to underserved populations in multiple languages by professionals with fluency in a variety of cultural traditions is the most effective way to reach neighbors who are frequently overlooked and disproportionately impacted by communitywide crises....

Read the full commentary by Stephanie Berkowitz, president and CEO of Northern Virginia Family Service.

'What happens when funders don't center community voice in decision making': A commentary by Hannah Lee

September 07, 2021

Headshot_Hannah Lee_Cognizant_FoundationIt's time for philanthropy to trust and listen better to grantee partners

When Ralph Hoagland, the founder of CVS, recruited three hundred of his neighbors from the wealthy, liberal, and largely white Boston suburbs to donate to the Fund for Urban Negro Development (FUND) to support Black entrepreneurs, he promised a “no strings attached” approach to philanthropy. The group's aim was to support Black businesses and community organizations, build Black wealth, and foster community development across the city. FUND emphasized that Boston's Black leaders already had "the ability to solve the problems” facing their communities but just lacked the necessary resources to do so.

Importantly, the group promised not to interfere through "white controls, advice, or helpful hints." At the same time, FUND's white members did expect to serve as coaches and mentors. When Black leaders rejected some of the mentors' advice, members began pulling their support to FUND — and just four years after its launch, the group disbanded.

The story of FUND, more fully detailed in a research paper, took place more than half a century ago. But the rhetoric and eventual outcomes feel all too familiar. It serves as a powerful reminder about what happens when funders don't center community voice in decision making. And it remains a cautionary tale for those working in philanthropy today — especially in the wake of COVID-19 and our nationwide reckoning around racial justice....

Read the full commentary by Hannah Lee, a director at the Cognizant Foundation.

 

 

'We have to infuse equity into every part of the system': A Q&A with Priti Krishtel

September 02, 2021

Headshot_Priti Krishtel_I-MAKlPriti Krishtel is a health justice lawyer who has spent nearly two decades exposing structural inequities that limit access to medicines and vaccines across the Global South and the United States. She is the co-founder and co-executive director of I-MAK (Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge), a nonprofit organization building a more just and equitable medicines system. An Echoing Green Global Fellow, TED speaker, Presidential Leadership Scholar, and Ashoka Fellow, she is a frequent contributor to leading international and national news outlets on issues of domestic and global health equity.

PND asked Krishtel about inequity across the globe as it relates to COVID-19 vaccines, challenges in the United States of ensuring an equitable medicines system, the drug pricing crisis, and what funders can do to bring about change. Here is an excerpt:

Philanthropy News Digest: I-MAK states that a global pandemic, economic and racial awakening, and skyrocketing costs of medicine have created a crucial mandate for equity in the drug development system, especially with growing inequity across the globe as it relates to COVID-19 vaccines. What action do you believe leaders of national governments should be engaged in to mitigate those disparities? And what are the most significant barriers to improving vaccine access worldwide?                       

Priti Krishtel: I cannot stress this point enough: In a pandemic, no country is safe until every country is safe. Today, vaccinations are readily available in wealthy countries like the U.S. However, it's a completely different situation for most of the world's population: so far, less than 2 percent of residents in low-income countries have been vaccinated. Until we employ an equitable system to make sure that vaccines are available everywhere, that all countries have access to the vaccine, and that everyone who is willing and able is vaccinated, variants will not stop. Governments — and wealthy nations in particular — have to stop taking a country-by-country, nationalistic approach to pandemic responses and instead start looking at the system holistically. With every passing day, the risk of a mutated COVID-19 variant that is resistant to vaccines grows.

The Delta variant teaches us that we have to radically and rapidly rethink our approach to recover from this pandemic and adequately prepare for the next. We can't do this by relying on market incentives alone. Right now, pharmaceutical companies are incentivized to lock up knowledge to maximize profits to serve shareholder interests rather than share that knowledge and bring this pandemic to an end.

Philanthropy can play a catalytic role in this moment. Philanthropy is the only sector with the resources, capacity, and global connections to resource organizations and individuals leading the fight for a globally more just and equitable medicines system. It can and must play a connective and transformative role in stemming the gap in places where countries, communities, and individuals are being left behind....

Read the full Q&A with Priti Krishtel.

Three simple ways for funders to make their rural work authentic

August 26, 2021

Rural_wisconsin_farm_john-reed_unsplashI have been there. The visit from the big city or national funder. The awkward conversations with the visitors that want to get the best shrimp and grits or crawfish. And the never-ending sense that you are selling something that, even with the best intentions, the visitor is never going to understand. They may get enamored with your project, but never truly recognize the place and why your work is supporting a vision in ways that speaks to the rural dimensions of local people.

The 2016 presidential election saw a rise in interest in rural philanthropy — some by funders trying to understand and rethink their work. Other times by funders looking to retrench and defend their strategies. This all in the midst of the tens of thousands of family and community funders already deeply embedded in rural places and a continuing boom in the creation of healthcare conversion foundations — most with a significant rural footprint. Interest has waxed and waned since then but now more urban-based and national funders are engaged in rural conversations than have been for the past twenty years.

The blessing of the heightened interest in rural philanthropy is that it is calling into question many funder assumptions that are urban-based — emphasis on scale: big evaluations, reliance on large nonprofits and intermediaries. What it doesn't always come with, unfortunately, is a commitment to being authentic.

Here are three achievable ways for funders to be authentic in their rural work — whether they are large or small, new in the space or veterans.

1. Hire people from rural personal and/or professional backgrounds

It's inconceivable that a funder would have someone not of the disability community lead their disability work, or someone not personally immersed in Latinx culture lead that portfolio, or LGBTQ grantmaking by folks not of that community. It just shouldn't happen. Why, then, is it acceptable for funders to assign rural responsibility to those without a rural background? Understanding that the multiplicity of rural cultures in the United States doesn't make anyone an expert on a particular place, rural experience brings with it a core understanding of how people interact — the leadership models and the avenues of change. Why a funder would expect someone who has barely left any big urban or suburban community to understand what they see in front of them is perplexing. Is it more difficult to recruit talent for these roles? Sure. But not impossible. Start by looking at people who went to public and land-grant universities for one. Consider working with search firms that not only have a successful track record of recruiting for placement in rural communities but have search professionals that have personal and professional experience living and working in rural places. Market these opportunities throughout rural regions. Individuals already working in rural communities are those most likely to become culturally competent rural funders.

2. Work with intermediaries and contractors that have rural personal and professional experience

Much of the on-the-ground work of grantmaking and program implementation is carried out by national/regional intermediaries and contractors—not by funder staff. The choice of which organizations are selected to do this work is absolutely critical. I have had lots of interactions over the past decade with these folks. Some well-intentioned but naïve, some with misplaced urban arrogance. Lots of national firms assigning the rural work to their least experienced folks. And many firms and intermediaries hired on the basis of one rural project from some years back or a book of business in the rural space that hasn't evolved in twenty years. Make sure that the people who are going to be your on-the-ground informants are knowledgeable, genuine, and committed to rural America.

3. Have an internal rural quality control lens that is funder-wide

While it's great for funders to think about doing more rural investing, it's just as important that the infrastructure within the foundation is rural-friendly. This includes everything from RFP language, to meeting places, to evaluation models, to communications. Few urban and national funders have an explicit rural equity lens embedded in their operations, values and vision. How to get there? Ideally, have someone assigned to advise on these and related issues on behalf of rural communities and prospective grantees. Perhaps that is not possible. Alternatively, hire someone to do a rural equity audit every year about all aspects of foundation operations. Make public the findings. It is a surefire way to provide an entry point to real conversation with rural people and places.

The road to being an authentic rural funder has many branches, but it is encircled by some clear tactical markers. While rural America wants more attention from funders, no rural community needs another experience with a funder or intermediary that is going to highlight the often profound difference between funder intent and execution.

Additional Resources:

(Photo credit: John Reed via Unsplash)

Headshot_Allen_Smart_2021_PhilanTopicAllen Smart is the founder of PhilanthropywoRx. This article was originally published on the National Center for Family Philanthropy's Family Giving News blog.

[Review] Philanthropic Foundations in International Development: Rockefeller, Ford and Gates

August 24, 2021

Book_cover_Philanthropic_Foundations_in_International_Development_centeredAmerican foundations have shaped the world we live in. It's an extraordinary feat considering that the combined giving of all U.S. foundations in 2020 was only about $75 billion — a drop in the bucket compared with the U.S. economy's $22 trillion GDP. But over the past century, those unfettered billions have served to create and reinforce systems, norms, and behaviors that are so pervasive that at times we don't even realize there was a time they didn't exist. The hand of large-scale philanthropy can be felt from the cradle to the grave, from hospitals and schools to libraries and universities, museums, theaters, public spaces, even the food we eat. And it is not just in the United States; American foundations have purposefully gone abroad — as Americans do — to help establish some of the very institutions that underpin the global system. Today roughly one in ten foundation dollars goes overseas.

In Philanthropic Foundations in International Development: Rockefeller, Ford and Gates, Patrick Kilby reveals American philanthropy's travels abroad as a generations-long, if informal, project to preserve the status quo of the capitalist system on which American wealth — and philanthropy — are grounded. Whether a conscious pursuit of American Greatness or an inevitable outgrowth of the near-unrivaled dominance of U.S. economic power, the breadth and depth of American philanthropy's influence in setting the agenda of international development is truly astounding....

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

'Accelerating a cultural shift toward justice': A commentary by Favianna Rodriguez

August 23, 2021

CreatingConstellations_center_for_cultural_powerThe roots that grow the cultural field we need today

Earlier this summer, Mackenzie Scott made a massive $2.7 billion investment in support of 286 organizations working to spark change and empower individuals. My organization, the Center for Cultural Power, was one of them. We received a gift of $11 million — $3 million to build our long-term capacity and $8 million for the Constellations Culture Change Fund, which is developing a multiracial field at the intersection of arts and social justice. Now, two months later, the impact of the donation is visible in the acceleration of our implementation plans to provide funds to communities still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The water that Scott's gift pours on the deep roots many local arts organizations have grown in our cultural ecosystem is a lifeline. She relied on the principles of Trust-Based Philanthropy to surface trusted movement leaders and organizations that are underresourced. If other philanthropists were to follow her lead, they could nourish a nascent field that would not only disrupt inequities in the arts but accelerate a cultural shift toward justice....

Read the full commentary by Favianna Rodriguez, founder of the Center for Cultural Power.

As endowments rise and billionaires gain wealth, the world’s poor see little relief

August 19, 2021

News_globe_keyboard_solution_GettyImages.jpgAs COVID-19 reversed decades of global progress on ending extreme inequality, the world's wealthiest recorded record financial gains. Billionaires across the globe — collectively worth more than 13 trillion dollars — saw their wealth increase by $5.2 billion U.S. dollars per day. The wealth of the 50 richest Americans increased 10X more than that of the average U.S. family.

What's more, traditional philanthropic endowments have actually grown in the past year, so the anxiety shared by some in philanthropy that foundations are in a state of crisis is unfounded. Data from the Institute for Policy Studies and Inequality.org notes that even though large sums have been committed or given, the wealthiest philanthropies and their billionaire benefactors have seen near record returns in the midst of a global pandemic. 

As IPS report author and philanthropic expert Chuck Collins notes, "[Billionaire wealth] is growing so fast, it's simply outstripped their capacity to give it away. But in a time of acute charitable need, there's another growing concern in the broader charitable sector: Most of these funds may end up in family foundations and donor-advised funds [DAFs] that could legally exist in perpetuity — without ever supporting real, on-the-ground charitable work."

Even prior to the pandemic, individual billionaire philanthropists running grant-making operations outside of the traditional foundational models have made even more money and avoided grant payouts through a number of loophole strategies, including the creation of donor-advised funds, or DAFs), to hold their money tax-free. Nearly all of these accounts have neither disclosure nor distribution requirements, so while their list members may use their donations to get an immediate tax deduction, their dollars may not reach nonprofit beneficiaries for years, or longer. Many have argued that DAFs and other tax loophole workarounds often serve as performative philanthropic vehicles for positive PR even as investment houses like Vanguard, Schwab, and others make millions annually from funds that are, in theory, meant to be serving charitable purposes today, not in some long-distant future.

To make matters worse, there is a growing body of research that suggests not only did most endowments not take the hit that many anticipated, some foundations have proven unwilling to change their restrictions on grant-making nor support legislation to reform DAF payout requirements. Their resistance makes it harder to get critical operating funding to the organizations most at risk of having to shutter, all as they spend time, resources, and political capital fighting reform measures that would free hundreds of billions of dollars to those most in need. When it comes to pandemic recovery, those most at risk of dying from COVID-19 – communities of color, those living in poverty, women and girls, and those in the Global South — are still waiting to be vaccinated as the West discusses booster shots

Sadly, too many philanthropic decision-makers have treated grant-making as an either-or choice rather than a both-and, prioritizing domestic grants to organizations in wealthy countries like the U.S. that have already benefited most from vaccine access. Treating philanthropy as a zero sum game cannot continue to be the case, because the spread of even more contagious variants have shown that no one is safe until we are all safe. We must address inequities both at home and abroad, and the resources exist to do both.

The amount needed right now to support global famine relief efforts — $6bn — is a mere fraction of the more than $140 billion that was sitting in DAFs in 2020.

It is also less than 1% of the $1 trillion in US private foundation endowments in America that is sitting untouched, accumulating interest as 41 million people face starvation. To put the $6 billion figure even more fully into perspective, it is just 5% of the total increase in Elon Musk's wealth in 2020 alone, and 10% of Jeff Bezos's net worth increase in the same time period.

Prior to the pandemic, Global Citizen launched the Give While You Live campaign — an effort to get dollars flowing much faster to working charities on the front lines. Today, it's mission is even more urgent and critical, as billions of dollars sit idle across philanthropy at a time when charities, activists, and communities need it more than ever before.

Leaders in philanthropy should respond to the urgency of this moment by paying out more — not less — to fuel an equitable global recovery and committing to reforms that ensure inequality and wealth disparities are not allowed to continue unchecked indefinitely. To do so, they need to critically examine the use of DAFs, urge their peers to give more and to give more quickly, and ultimately begin a conversation to question the idea of perpetual philanthropy. 

For new high net worth donors and individual billionaires, this means joining Give While You Live and committing to pay out at least 5% of their net worth each year to important causes and issue areas. For everyone else, it means realizing that this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity — and perhaps the last opportunity — for funders to play a role in helping drive global recovery efforts before it is too late. 

At this point, there is no question that the need is greater than ever. It is also clear that billionaire funders and philanthropy at large have more money in the coffers than ever before. The world’s wealthiest could immediately fund a global recovery that drives vaccine equity, protects the planet, ends hunger, eradicates extreme poverty, and leads the way to a more sustainable and fair future for everyone on the planet.

 The only question left is whether they will.

(Photo credit: GettyImages)

Headshot_Michael_Sheldrick_PhilanTopicMichael Sheldrick the co-founder and chief policy and government relations officer at Global Citizen, where he oversees international advocacy campaigns in support of universal sanitation, climate mitigation and adaptation efforts, access to education, food security, gender equality and disease elimination and prevention. This post was originally published in Forbes.

'Toward sharing, ceding, and building political, economic, social, and cultural power': A Q&A with Cheryl Dorsey

August 18, 2021

Headshot_Echoing-Green-Cheryl-L-DorseyCheryl Dorsey has served as president of Echoing Green since 2002, after having received an Echoing Green Fellowship a decade earlier to help launch the Family Van, a community-based mobile health unit in Boston. In the interim, she served as a White House fellow and special assistant to the U.S. secretary of labor (1997-98) and as special assistant to the director of the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Labor Department (1998-99). More recently, she served as vice chair for the President's Commission on White House Fellowships (2009-17).

PND asked Dorsey about efforts to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, changes in philanthropic practice to advance racial equity, and Echoing Green's ongoing work to create a support network for social entrepreneurs of color working to create a more just, sustainable, and equitable future for all. Here is an excerpt:

Philanthropy News Digest: Since the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted myriad structural inequities — for example, the impact on essential workers, who are disproportionately people of color and who also have limited access to health care — and the police killing of George Floyd ignited demonstrations calling for racial justice nationwide, the philanthropic sector has had to reckon with the role that many foundations have played in helping to perpetuate an inequitable system. As a woman of color leading a grantmaking public charity, how do you assess philanthropy's efforts at self-examination?

Cheryl Dorsey: [...] The ongoing global pandemic and moment of racial reckoning have certainly challenged philanthropy to reform old ways of working. There have been important and positive signs of momentum. Last year, more than eight hundred organizations signed a Council on Foundations pledge to eliminate burdens in grantmaking by implementing flexible and unrestricted models of giving. And more than four hundred funders have signed the Groundswell Fund open letter, authored by people of color-led public foundations, calling on funders to direct resources to grassroots racial justice movements and organizations. However, changes in funding behavior and capital flows are happening much too slowly. Though philanthropy deployed a record-breaking amount in funds after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, these funds failed to reach the communities of color most affected by the pandemic at a critical time. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy and Candid found that only 23 percent of dollars distributed in 2020 were explicitly designated for persons and communities of color globally. This number drops down to 13 percent when looking specifically at institutional philanthropy.

To ensure that this momentum of change is sustained, there must be a fundamental transformation of philanthropic norms and practices toward sharing, ceding, and building political, economic, social, and cultural power for racial equity leaders and communities of color. As we think about meeting this moment, we are witnessing retrenchment and backlash from inequitable systems including declining support for the Black Lives Matter movement and mounting restrictions on Black voting rights. The enduring assaults on our collective liberation require urgent action and staying on course, but they also require accountability and forward-thinking. What are the structures and systems we can put in place now to ensure that we remain resilient when met with the inevitable backlash?...

Read the full Q&A with Cheryl Dorsey.

The Sustainable Nonprofit: 'Lessons from a successful merger'

August 17, 2021

Handshake_two_suitsHow nonprofit mergers can energize donors and accelerate progress

While nonprofit and for-profit organizations differ in that nonprofits are mission-driven and for-profits are profit-driven, both seek to provide value to their constituents or customers, so it's critical to maximize efficiencies to increase capacity, value, and impact. Consolidation or mergers are an important way to maximize efficiencies — an area where nonprofits could learn valuable lessons from for-profits.

Although mergers occasionally occur in the nonprofit space, particularly among larger organizations, the tendency is toward proliferation, which is almost always driven by the best of motives. Individuals personally affected by a disease or cause are moved to action and often set up a nonprofit to do work that is already being done by other organizations. This can dilute available resources, create inefficiencies, and confuse donors. Consolidation, by contrast, creates opportunities for existing nonprofits to expand mission and achieve results that simply aren't possible when resources are fragmented....

Read the full column article by John L. Lehr, CEO of the Parkinson's Foundation....

Unpaid internships and the pipeline of privilege: A commentary by Kyra Kyles

August 16, 2021

Women_high_fives_GettyImagesEnding the pipeline of privilege: Why unpaid internships perpetuate inequities

Though the days of the coffee-fetching, fax-sending, thumb-twiddling intern are all but over, there is one vestige of the "first rite" of career passage that is stubbornly stuck in the past: the unpaid part.

In an era when tween and teen content creators can make thousands of dollars for a single TikTok or Instagram post, it is ridiculous that there are employers who don't make the connection between younger workers' efforts and meaningful compensation. Nor do these employers see the throughline between the absence of said compensation and the predominantly white pipeline of privilege that continues to flow into their workplaces.

Make no mistake: There is enough evidence to demonstrate that the pipeline of privilege is skewed to the white and male side of the spectrum....

Read the full commentary by Kyra Kyles, CEO of YR Media.

(Photo credit: GettyImages)

Hiring a nonprofit CEO in a mid-COVID environment

August 13, 2021

Man_and_woman_masks_handshake_GettyImages_VioletaStoimenovaThe COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts have proven to be incredibly challenging for businesses and nonprofits alike. Many have had to adapt and change their processes and procedures to accommodate social-distancing and other public health measures, and others have had to close their doors for good. Now, as restrictions are being lifted and doors can be opened again — let's call it a "mid-COVID" environment — organizations are faced with another challenge: hiring.

Since the world shut down around us and many of us transitioned to working from home on a long-term basis, perspectives and expectations around where and how we work have shifted. If your nonprofit was in the process of hiring a CEO before the pandemic and had challenges finding qualified candidates, hiring now, mid-COVID, is going to be even more difficult, as candidates will be seeking unique and alternative options for employment.

Here are some considerations for nonprofit board members to keep in mind when hiring in the "new normal" market:

Use your existing market: Sometimes the best candidates are right under your nose. Tap into the board members' networks and let them know that the organization is hiring. If the board is actively engaged in the community, they will already know the caliber of people to refer. Members of those networks and communities will not recommend just anyone, so you can rest assured that the candidates presented will have at least the minimum qualifications.

Commit to diversity and inclusion: Many of the people who lost their jobs to COVID are now looking for employment. This could be a great thing for your organization in that there is a larger pool to select from; however, this could also mean that some candidates may be overlooked. Ensure that the board makes diversity a top priority when selecting potential candidates.

Make a standout offer: Just as your board members are out scouting for talent, so are more than a thousand other organizations. Make sure that potential candidates can hear the "heart" of your organization; making a "heart" connection is going to be key to the recruiting process, as candidates are no longer motivated only by salary and benefits. Many candidates who are back out on the job market are people who had decent salaries and benefits that were lost when their nonprofit had to close their doors or downsize as a result of the pandemic. Make sure that your organization presents other ways in which it plans to retain the candidate, even if another pandemic or other crisis were to arise.

Be clear about workplace expectations: Be prepared for many of the candidates to ask about hybrid or remote work options and let them know what your organization's stance is. Take into consideration that many people are fearful of becoming sick or being in a large crowd, so be prepared to address this new question that was not a question candidates would ask pre-COVID. Board members should be prepared for some candidates to walk away from the opportunity if remote or hybrid options are not available.

Hiring will be a unique experience mid-COVID, and your organization must be prepared to adapt in order to attract qualified and dedicated candidates to the team.  

(Photo credit: GettyImages/VioletaStoimenova)

Headshot_Tiffany Rucker_JSGassociates_PhilanTopicTiffany Rucker is a small business and financial literacy coach at JSG & Associates as well as wife, mom, and special needs advocate.

Impact investing in the 'creative economy' to strengthen local economies: A commentary by Deb Parsons

August 10, 2021

Fabric_bolts_arts_creative_GettyImages_oksixImpacting the creative economy with philanthropic funds

What do film and fashion have to do with philanthropy?

For a growing number of impact investors, these industries and others that make up the "creative economy" are a powerful lever to strengthen local economies, build resilient communities, and support an equitable COVID-19 recovery. Increasingly, impact investors are using foundations and donor-advised funds to make investments in a variety of local, national, and even international creative economy enterprises that are driving positive social and environmental change. With its focus on solutions that prioritize people and the planet, impact investing complements traditional grantmaking by leveraging the power of markets to create positive change....

Read the full commentary by Deb Parsons, managing director at ImpactAssets.

(Photo credit: GettyImages)

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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