Giving Compass’ Take:
· Writing for the Center for Effective Philanthropy, Rose Letwin of the conservation-focused foundation Wilburforce discusses the importance of strategizing and the ways funding can be influenced by the surrounding political environment.
· An important part of any organization it planning for the future. But funding challenges happen all the time. What causes this change and how can leaders adjust?
· Read more about the relationship between funders and grantees.
I grew up in a small Midwestern farm town and have always had a passion for animals. I moved to Seattle in the 1970s and fell in love with the outdoors. These interests led me to volunteer at a wildlife rehabilitation center, where I faced the devastating truth that many of these animals, once healed, had no home to return to. Seattle and its surrounding communities were growing rapidly, and there were fewer spaces where wild animals could just be.
In 1991, after a successful career in technology, I founded Wilburforce Foundation. Nearly three decades into this work, I remain equally committed. But these past couple years have been particularly unsettled for the issues I care so much about. I knew we had to make some changes.
I always carefully plan for the future, wanting to ensure that Wilburforce has the resources to respond to the next set of opportunities and challenges. It is not my plan to have the foundation exist in perpetuity. But I am committed to keeping the foundation funded long enough to see many decades-long conservation campaigns through to their successful completion. I have to consider the downstream implications of financial decisions I make today. These times are so critical for our work that I feel that money spent now will have more impact than the same money spent later.
For our part, Wilburforce acted quickly after the U.S. elections. In January 2017, we began planning a summit for a diverse cross-section of grantee leaders from across the western U.S. to:
- share learnings, approaches, and tactics to help us become more effective in the new context;
- identify individual, organizational, and collaborative capacities that we need to develop to be effective in our work;
- gain a deeper understanding of key leadership competencies needed in the new paradigm; and
- develop a refreshed and deepened sense of connection, shared support, and inspiration.
Read the full article about taking action and planning for the future by Rose Letwin at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.
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