We have been encouraging grantmakers to deliberately think about who benefits - and should benefit - from their grants given their specific issue(s) of interest and missions. We also have been urging them to consider how funding policy and civic engagement might help them address the root causes of social problems they care about.
Research have shown that addressing the specific needs of underserved communities and supporting policy and civic engagement are two high impact strategies that make philanthropic dollars more effective. The High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy report series looks at four major issue areas that many funders focus on: education, health, arts and culture, and environment and climate. These reports illustrate how the two recommended strategies can help foundations maximize the impact of their grant dollars.
High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy Reports
By Niki Jagpal and Kevin Laskowski
In this report, NCRP contends that strategic philanthropy is limited by its top-down, technocratic approach and recommends the use of approaches familiar to social justice philanthropy to address these limitations. The authors draw on common themes seen in the High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy report series to demonstrate how a social justice approach produces concrete results and society-wide benefits regardless of issue focus. Learn more
Cultivating the Grassroots: A Winning Approach for Environment and Climate Funders
By Sarah Hansen
This report argues that more money needs to go towards grassroots organizing and advocacy for the environment and climate change movements to regain momentum and win important legislative and regulatory battles. Environment and climate funders can become effective resources of a strong and successful movement for change by decreasing their reliance on national advocacy groups and increasing funding for grassroots communities that are directly impacted by environmental harms. Learn more
By Holly Sidford
This report outlines compelling demographic, aesthetic and economic reasons for foundations to rethink their grantmaking practices to stay current with changes in the cultural sector and to continue to be relevant to the evolving needs of our communities. Regardless of its history or primary philanthropic focus, every foundation investing in the arts can make fairness and equity core principles of its grantmaking. Learn more
By Terri Langston
Analysis shows that only 31 percent of 880 foundations and institutional grantmakers that give billions towards domestic health-related causes gave half of their grants to meet the needs of the poor, disabled, the elderly and other underserved populations. Langston and NCRP recommend two strategies for health funders to improve significantly the impact of their philanthropy: allocating at least 50 percent of their grant dollars to benefit underserved communities and 25 towards advocacy, community organizing and civic engagement that promotes long-term systemic reform. Learn more
By Kevin Welner and Amy Farley
Every year, foundations provide billions in grants for education. Yet, our education system is in crisis: American students - especially those from underserved communities - remain trapped in a continuous cycle of inequities in educational access and opportunities. How can philanthropy be more effective at deploying its limited resources to help reform and improve our nation's school systems? How can philanthropy help break this cycle of persistent inequality? Learn more