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About Philanthropy

Full Cost Funding: Foundations Have Yet to Move from Theory to Practice (2019)
Nonprofit Finance Fund, California Community Foundation and the Weingart Foundation came together in 2015 to launch the Full Cost Community of Practice Pilot, a partnership designed to test approaches and strengthen the capacity of nonprofits and funders to advocate for full cost recovery. A follow up report from Nonprofit Finance Fund shows that the pilot helped participants strengthen their financial management practices. At the same time, these findings also highlight barriers to full cost funding. Notably, broader acceptance of full cost is penetrating foundations, yet organizations found that most foundations willing to discuss full cost haven’t changed their actually grantmaking. To read the report, click here.

Grantees Rate the Work of the Foundation (2018)
Text here. To read the report, click here.

Accelerating a Shift Toward Full Cost: A Report on Philanthropy California’s Full Cost Project for Funders and Nonprofits (2018)
The Full Cost Project, an initiative of Philanthropy California, seeks to help funders and nonprofits better understand the actual costs to run effective organizations, and how to communicate openly and honestly around those funding needs. The second phase of the project provided training for funders, trustees, and nonprofit executives to understand how the full cost approach is crucial for nonprofits to fulfill their missions, generate great outcomes, and become more resilient. This report highlights key results and insights about the significance of a full cost approach and the lessons learned from funders and nonprofits to shift their cultural mindset and practices. To read the full report, click here.

Understanding & Sharing What Works: The State of Foundation Practice (2018)
Assessing the performance of a foundation is notoriously challenging. How well do foundation leaders believe they understand what is and isn’t working in their foundation’s efforts? How are they building that understanding? What information are they choosing to share with others? To answer these questions, the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) surveyed private and community foundation leaders regarding what they know about what is and isn’t working in their foundations’ efforts to achieve their goals. The report is accompanied by a series of in-depth profiles to further examine what foundations are doing to understand and share their work. The profiled funders include Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Weingart Foundation, Communities Foundation of Texas, and Impetus-PEF. To read the full report, click here.

What Does Philanthropy Do Next by Rip Rapson (2016)
Now that the elections are over — with all their attendant divisiveness and political rancor — it’s important for leaders and actors across America’s institutions, including the media, the business class, academia and think tankers, and civic organizations, to reflect deeply on how they will act and serve the public moving forward. To read the full message, click here.

The Road To Achieving Equity by Kris Putman-Walkerly and Elizabeth Russell (2016)
Over the past few years, equity has emerged as a key issue in American society. It has been described as the “defining issue of our time” by authors and speakers in various fields, including education, community development, and juvenile justice, among others. Philanthropy also has taken up the call for equity, and several foundations are working to incorporate varying degrees of an equity focus into their work. But how are they doing so? What challenges are they facing? What successes have they had so far? What have foundations learned about incorporating equity into their own cultures? To read the full report, click here.

On Race and Inequality by Dr. Robert K Ross (2016)
The common thread across the range of activism, anger, and frustration in the nation is the matter of structural inequality and lack of opportunity in America, and it is more far-reaching and profound than the peculiarities of a presidential election. The issue of inequality in America is intense, urgent, and pressing. And how will organized philanthropy respond? With detached curiosity? The proverbial “toe in the water”? A nonchalant shrug of the shoulders? Or will it match the intensity of the moment and join the fight? To read the full blog post, click here.

Model Partnerships for Impact: The Weingart Foundation and MOMS Orange County (2016)
Independent Sector (IS) works to enhance grantee and funder organizations to ensure both are effectively helping society’s most vulnerable populations. As part of IS’ commitment to being responsive to the sector, the organization visited cities across the country and had conversations with 80 partner organizations. In every city IS visited, they reported that one consistent impediment to meeting mission was raised: the strained relationships between grantees and funders. This report is part of series of eight case studies, featuring grantee and funder pairs that exemplify healthy relationships and illuminate the practices and behaviors that contribute to a positive power. [Read the case study]

Real Cost Project: Barriers to Change (2016)
This report issued by the Real Cost Project finds that there are deeply ingrained practices, beliefs and perceptions in the philanthropic community that inhibit the adoption full cost funding practices. The challenge is exacerbated by a lack of a shared language or common definitions around overhead and full costs as well as a lack of open and transparent conversations between funders and nonprofits. The report calls for funders to examine their own grantmaking practices and policies regarding funding indirect costs, and for funders to engage in conversations with their grantees around what does it really cost to deliver great outcomes. [Read the report]

Are You Guilty of Fakequity by Vu Le (2015)
Fakequity, pronounced “fake-quity,” is basically fake equity…People seem to think that forming an equity committee, talking about equity, sending staff and board to trainings, “listening” to communities, conducting research and gathering data, and adding terminologies to websites and brochures are sufficient to achieving equity. But no, these things are necessary, but not sufficient. When we just talk about Equity and go no further, we are guilty of Fakequity. To read the full blog post, click here.

Why Giving Back Isn’t Enough by Darren Walker (New York Times, 2015)
The world may need a reimagined charter of philanthropy — a “Gospel of Wealth” for the 21st century... This new gospel might begin where the previous one fell short: addressing the underlying causes that perpetuate human suffering. In other words, philanthropy can no longer grapple simply with what is happening in the world, but also with how and why. To read the full article, click here.

Overhead Madness (2015)
In 2015, Northern California Grantmakers, San Diego Grantmakers and Southern California Grantmakers announced the launch of a joint statewide initiative – the Real Cost Project – to increase the impact of philanthropy across California. Created by funders for funders, the Real Cost Project explores what it takes for funders to develop new grantmaking practices based on what it really costs to deliver outcomes. This report, based on qualitative research conducted from February to May 2015, shows the spectrum of current funder and sector practices that relate to real cost funding. The research yielded several major findings, revealed common practices in the field and pinpointed areas for skill building and training among the grantmaking community. [Read the report]