Amid the dual crises of a global pandemic and a national reckoning with systemic racism, the U.S. philanthropic sector faces tremendous challenges and opportunities. CEP’s Foundations Respond to Crisis study found that many foundations are making new efforts to support communities of color and other communities disproportionately impacted by the public health and economic consequences of COVID-19. Unfortunately, CEP’s data also suggest that while foundations are thinking about operating differently, they are slow to act. (For example, in interviews, foundation leaders more frequently described reflecting and learning when asked how they are making changes to their internal policies and practices; less than half of interviewees reported doing something differently internally.)

As private and family foundations continue to make meaning of this current moment and philanthropy’s response in it, they should look to community foundations for guidance. Community foundations can play a powerful role in directing resources to organizations meeting the greatest needs in communities. Among the philanthropic sector, they have perhaps experienced the challenges and opportunities of the past year most acutely as they deploy COVID-response funds to meet the most pressing needs in their respective communities.

To better understand how community foundations are responding to their respective communities’ needs, Community Wealth Partners interviewed staff members from 13 community foundations representing a range of geographies and asset sizes. Our research found that many community foundations are moving from talk to action when it comes to 1) adopting more equitable practices and 2) communicating a point of view about racial justice in their communities with donors and other stakeholders.

Read the full article about community foundations' response to crisis by Lori Bartczak at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.