Give to end racism; Foundations give more; Grant Maker focuses on the South




Strong ROIs Enabled One-Third of Foundations to Increase Donations Last Year


The annual Council on Foundations-Commonfund study found that private foundations reported an average return of 13.1 percent on their investment assets last year, reports Michael Theis.

Combined with the urgent needs following the Covid crisis and the calculation of racial justice, these investment gains persuaded 33% of foundations to increase their donations compared to 2019. This is a substantial increase – the previous year, only a quarter of philanthropic organizations increased the amount they gave out.

A large foundation plans to increase its donations in the South and attract other foundations there


Fay Twersky, the new chairman of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, says the funder has plans to Allocate more than tens of millions of dollars in annual grants to nonprofits focused on democracy, the environment and youth development – and that its grant allocation will increase dramatically over the next decade. Much of the money will go to charities in Georgia, where Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank made his fortune.

Twersky also hopes to capitalize on her reputation as a prominent donor and her extensive network of contacts to attract other foundations to the South.

How one of the country’s largest community funds expanded its support to local leaders


Discover who are the movers and shakers in a particular neighborhood – not necessarily people with official titles – The San Francisco Foundation asks local residents who they call if they have a problem, writes Alex Daniels. The foundation then chooses 12 leaders in this neighborhood and provides $ 300,000 to design and implement a program to improve life in the area. In Mission District, where huge increases in rental housing costs have made it difficult for low-income immigrant residents to stay in the area, fellows created a program to train people from all walks of life to be better advocates.

“These informal leaders set the agenda,“Fred Blackwell, the president of the foundation, told Alex.” It’s completely dictated by them. “

More: See the rest of our special report on How a turbulent year shapes grantmaking.

Now is the time for the Gates Foundation to change the balance of power in the awarding of its grants


This is according to Meg Massey and Ben Wrobel, authors of a book on ‘crowdfunding’, who are calling on Gates to abandon his insular and opaque process in favor of a process involving activists and other confronted people. to the problems that the foundation is trying to solve. It is not enough to seek advice from others, they write. Too often, it’s little more than optics. With the impending divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates and the recent changes to the board of directors – the resignation of Warren Buffett and the death of Bill Gates Sr. – a transition to a system that brings “more diverse perspectives and expertise in the conversation ” would also create accountability and transparency – something the foundation sorely lacking, the authors write.



Robyn Beck, AFP, Getty Images

And as colleges across the country begin the fall term, you’ll want to read Emily Haynes’ take on a UCLA course that teach students how to give, including a practical mission to distribute $ 80,000. UCLA is one of 26 universities that received a grant to create such a course and found it so important that they are now paying for it themselves.

Jennifer Lindholm, a UCLA marshal who teaches the course, told Emily that the philanthropy program is especially important given the crises students have been surrounded in as they reach adulthood. “They have a weight of responsibility that they face, ”she said. “It could be overwhelming, and it’s our responsibility as educators to really help them learn to lead and thrive. “

The Academy worried us a lot this week for another reason: we learned on Monday about the death of nonprofit scholar Lester Salamon from his colleagues at the Johns Hopkins Centers for Civil Society Studies. Salamon appeared on our pages frequently, helping us to give important context to our stories, especially when it comes to nonprofit finances, hiring, and government relations.

In an article he wrote for us ten years ago on the death of another influential actor in the nonprofit world, Peter Goldberg, he described “a generous and thoughtful innovator.” Perfect words to describe Salamon himself.

Looking to the Future: Donor Advised Fund Briefing. Join Stacy Palmer on September 9 as she leads a briefing on a Senate bill designed to accelerate giving from donor-advised funds and foundations. We’ll tell you what you need to know about supporting and opposing the legislation – and you’ll hear from a Giving Pledge donor to find out what she thinks about the policy changes. Registration details are below.

Many nonprofits and foundations are taking a hiatus next week before the busy fall season, so we are doing the same. We’ll be back in your inbox on September 11th, and we’ll keep our site up to date with any news as they arise. In addition, our new September issue will be available on September 8.

Stay strong and be well.

– Marilyn Dickey and Stacy Palmer



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