For Immediate Release
Report Shows that Foundation Giving in 4 Southern States Generated $4.7 Billion in Results for Impoverished Communities
National watchdog group praises region's nonprofit organizations for advocacy and organizing despite limited resources
Washington, D.C. (5/10/2011) - Advocacy by nonprofit organizations over a five-year period has brought more than $4.7 billion in benefits to low-wage workers and families and other neglected populations, according to a new study commissioned by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), released today.
The report titled "Strengthening Democracy, Increasing Opportunities: Impacts of Advocacy, Organizing and Civic Engagement in the Gulf/Midsouth Region" describes and monetizes the impact of 20 advocacy and community organizing groups from Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi between 2005-2009.
For every dollar invested in the policy and civic engagement activities of the 20 nonprofits, there was a return of $114 in benefits to local communities, the report calculates. These benefits were in the form of higher wages, new affordable housing and other accomplishments benefitting poor families, people with disabilities and other underserved communities.
"This report shows the tremendous benefit that these organizations bring to communities in the Gulf/Midsouth region," said Aaron Dorfman, executive director of NCRP. "These organizations, along with their allies and supporters, have made a real difference in people's lives."
The nonprofit organizations featured in the report are:
- Center for Fair Housing (Mobile)
- Equal Justice Initiative (Montgomery)
- Federation of Child Care Centers of Alabama (Montgomery)
- Greene/Sumpter Enterprise Community, Inc. (Livingston)
- Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (Birmingham)
- Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families (Little Rock)
- Arkansas for Public Policy Panel (Little Rock)
- Center for Artistic Revolution (Little Rock)
- Northwest Arkansas Workers' Justice Center (Springdale)
- Rural Community Alliance (Fox)
- Family & Youth Counseling Agency (Lake Charles)
- Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (New Orleans)
- Louisiana Bucket Brigade (New Orleans)
- Southern Mutual Help Association (New Iberia)
- Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association of New Orleans (New Orleans)
- Children's Defense Fund (Jackson)
- Concerned Citizens for a Better Tunica County (Tunica)
- Mississippi Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities (Jackson)
- Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative (Jackson)
- Southern Echo (Jackson)
The report was written for NCRP by Frontline Solutions, a national social change consulting group based in Philadelphia, Pa.
The data show that the total amount spent on advocacy and organizing across the 20 groups over five years was $41.9 million. Foundations provided more than 75 percent of funding for these efforts.
Citizens in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi also benefited from policy changes that cannot be translated into dollars, including minority and immigrant rights and policies protecting communities from environmental harm.
Poverty levels in all four states are higher than the national average and a majority of their populations lives in rural areas. Many nonprofits work on a shoestring budget. Yet, these groups used innovative strategies such as developing partnerships and coalitions, training diverse community leaders and combining advocacy with providing direct services to get results.
"The nonprofits were resourceful and effective in the face of serious challenges," said Marcus Littles, founder of Frontline Solutions. "They demonstrated a striking depth of civic engagement that has helped the region's citizens fight poverty, inequality and injustice."
Philanthropic assets in the region are among the lowest in the country. And many out-of-state funders don't think of the Gulf/Midsouth as a good place to invest their grant dollars.
"These nonprofits are doing amazing work with so few resources to make positive change in their communities. This report is a wakeup call to funders that investing in civic engagement leads to substantial community change," said Sherece West, president and CEO of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation in Little Rock. "Imagine what they can accomplish if we can give them more to work with."
Frontline Solutions and NCRP offer four recommendations for foundations interested in effective grantmaking in the region: build the region's advocacy and organizing infrastructure; invest in organizations working in rural communities; invest in the organizing potential of a strong constituency, such as immigrants or the disabled; and support organizations with people of color in executive and board leadership positions.
"Strengthening Democracy, Increasing Opportunities: Impacts of Advocacy, Organizing, and Community Engagement in Pennsylvania" is available on NCRP's website at http://www.ncrp.org/campaigns-research-policy/communities/gcip/gulf-midsouth.
The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy in Washington, D.C., is a national watchdog, research and advocacy organization that promotes philanthropy that serves the public good, is responsive to people and communities with the least wealth and opportunity, and is held accountable to the highest standards of integrity and openness.