About Philanthropy

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]

Is Grantmaking Getting Smarter? (2014)
A National Study of Philanthropic Practice

Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) conducted this national survey of staffed grantmaking foundations to gather data — some baseline and some longitudinal — on key grantmaking practices both nonprofits and grantmakers agree are critical to support nonprofit results. GEO conducts this survey every three years to track progress in the field. [Read the report]

USC Scan of LA Foundations (2014)
USC’s Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy, with funding from Weingart Foundation, recently interviewed leaders of 20 foundations in Greater Los Angeles to better understand how they are approaching their work. This scan reveals that, like their counterparts in the region and across the country, these foundations are still recovering from the Great Recession of 2008. And, while all of the foundations have changed their grantmaking practices - to varying degrees - over the past five years, most of these changes have been modest and temporary. Over the next few years, it appears there will be a modest increase in the number of foundations that intend to expand the use of initiatives in their grantmaking. In addition, there will be a growing number of foundations interested in avenues for greater impact through partnerships, capacity building and/or mission investing. [Read the report]

Widespread Empathy (2011)
5 Steps to Achieving Greater Impact in Philanthropy

Co-published with Jump Associates, this guide from Grantmakers for Effective Organizations looks at how grantmakers can develop a more thorough, gut-level understanding of community needs and the work of grantees. [Read the report]