Giving Compass’ Take:
• Writing for Southern California Grantmakers, Elena Chávez Quezada of the Chavez Family Foundation lists ways in which funders can address the needs of their grantees in more responsible, empathetic and productive ways.
• How much of Quezada’s advice has your own organization internalized? And are we doing enough to support nonprofits led by people of color?
I was born in New Mexico and grew up in a large, hard-working family. My visionary Mexican-American parents pushed us to pursue a college education and to never settle for anything less than our very best. Their guidance led me to a career that I love and kept me part of a rich culture and community that I support.
When the Latino Community Foundation invited me to join a conversation with the members of its first Latino Nonprofit Accelerator cohort, I was excited — this was an opportunity to hear directly from Latino nonprofit leaders. The discussion session was billed as a “Candid Session with Funders,” and I came prepared to offer fundraising advice. Having been on the grantseeker side for much of my career, I thought I understood the challenges that grantees face today. I expected a tough but productive conversation.
But the discussion floored me.
Latino nonprofit leaders were frustrated, and rightly so. Not only do Latino-centric nonprofits currently get a meager 1.1% of total American philanthropic dollars, but their communities are under attack by the current administration.
It’s rare to get the real story when you’re a funder. Nonprofit leaders who are struggling to keep their organizations viable don’t often risk their funding by telling program officers how philanthropy is letting them down. But at this Latino Community Foundation session, nonprofit leaders were able to share their truth — truth I needed to hear.
Impact Philanthropy is a complex topic, and others found these selections from the Impact Giving archive from Giving Compass to be good resources.
While many things I heard that day stuck with me, five of the suggestions the group had for funders rose to the top:
- If the answer is no, say “no.” When funders fail to say no clearly, respectfully, and without delay, they make things more difficult for nonprofits.
- Go on site visits. Funders need to meet with the staff and community, and also set expectations about their availability from the beginning.
- Coordinate a community of support. Proactively helping nonprofit leaders who will be losing funding is one potent way we have of maintaining continuity.
- Make introductions. When we know other funders who might be a good funding match, we have to make those connections.
- Be reachable and responsive. Remember: this is about people. If we don’t make ourselves available, we’re undercutting the point of the work.
Read the full article about how funders can better serve their grantees by Elena Chávez Quezada at Northern California Grantmakers.
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