Giving Compass’ Take:
• Aaron Dorfman discusses the way that philanthropy has changed its rhetoric but not its grantmaking in response to Criteria for Philanthropy at Its Best.
• How can funders meaningfully shift grantmaking to align with philanthropic rhetoric?
• Learn about the five best grantmaking practices.
It’s been ten years since NCRP released Criteria for Philanthropy at Its Best. As I reflect on the animated response to the report, I’m struck by how far the sector has come since 2009 — and, paradoxically, by how little has changed.
Our decision to publish Criteria was, shall we say, controversial. That NCRP had the temerity to assert that any set of criteria be applied to the field of philanthropy, let alone criteria grounded in our belief that grantmakers needed to prioritize marginalized communities and support grassroots-led problem solving to address the systemic inequities and injustices confronting communities in America every day, had more than a few people aghast.
It has become commonplace for foundation staff to talk publicly about trusting grantees with long-term general support, investing in marginalized communities, and funding structural change. An ecosystem of philanthropic support organizations devoted to spotlighting the unique needs of marginalized people has flourished with the help of foundation funding.
Equity, justice, and even power have become watchwords for an ascendant progressive philanthropy that is happy to speak openly in the digital pages of sector publications and the well-lit stages of the conference circuit about the kinds of values Criteria for Philanthropy at Its Best embodies.
The core idea expressed in the publication — that foundations should be held to a higher standard of equity and community impact — has moved from the margins of sectoral discourse to its center.
The bottom line: The money didn’t follow
NCRP’s analysis of Candid data shows that the share of domestic foundation giving by the country’s one thousand largest foundations for the intentional benefit of marginalized people — a category that, statistically speaking, includes most of the country — inched up from 28 percent to 33 percent between 2009 and 2015.
Read the full article about helping marginalized people by Aaron Dorfman at Philanthropy News Digest.
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