This summer, 28 New York City high school students spent five weeks at Trinity Commons where they learned the craft of journalism. The student journalists focused on housing issues in their reporting and the cohort included students with lived experience with homelessness and housing insecurity. The CLARIFY program is a paid internship run by City Limits, a nonprofit investigative news organization for which Trinity Church Wall Street Philanthropies is a major funder. Trinity’s grant does not directly fund CLARIFY, which is funded by the Google News Initiative, The Pinkerton Foundation, and The Harmon Foundation, but the offer of classroom space in our building for five weeks was an easy call — it’s one of the ways Trinity seeks to walk alongside our grantees.

For Trinity, being a church is at the center of how we approach our philanthropy, and we are guided by the scripture “They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.” (1 Timothy 6:18). We seek to be generous with our grantees and walk alongside them, a term which comes from our faith, but is also an attitude of mind that we hope has universal applicability. We are mindful that the term “partner” is often over- and mis-used in philanthropy, where dynamics of power and money make true partnership hard to achieve. We therefore prefer “walking alongside” and understand this as a way to be in relationship with our grantees, playing to our respective strengths and competencies. And — to stretch the journey metaphor a little further — to also stay in our lane: we seek to be additive and an ally, not an annoyance.

This year the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) conducted a Grantee Perception Survey for Trinity. Nearly half of Trinity grantees report receiving non-monetary support during their grant period, and nearly all of those grantees indicate it was a moderate or major benefit to their organization or work. As we use the feedback from grantees to learn and improve, it is of note that Trinity grantees who reported receiving non-monetary assistance indicated a more positive experience compared to those who did not. That’s a great incentive for us to build out our non-monetary assistance, our Walking Alongside Offering, further.

The Walking Alongside Offering has three key components.

  1. Capacity-Building
  2. Convening and Connecting
  3. Championing

Read the full article about walking alongside offering by Neill Coleman at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.