Smashing Silos in Philanthropy

The crises affecting our nation and the world have prompted philanthropists to become more organized, focused and "strategic" in their efforts. The movement toward "strategic philanthropy" has contributed to greater philanthropic effectiveness in many ways. However, the increased focus on narrow issue silos that seems integral to this approach is marginalizing an important part of the social change ecosystem.

Groups that have longstanding roots in communities and that work to address multiple issues confront great difficulty in fundraising while foundations overwhelmingly direct grants to professionalized, often well-resourced, organizations working exclusively on that grantmaker's preferred issue. This limits the ultimate effectiveness of philanthropy and undermines funders' ability to see discernible improvements in education, health, the arts, the environment and all other issues.


Smashing Silos in Philanthropy Reports


Cultivating Nonprofit Leadership: A (Missed ?) Philanthropic Opportunity

by Niki Jagpal and Ryan Schlegel
March 2015

Grassroots leadership development that is iterative, relational and inclusive creates new relationships, provides fertile grounds for movement-building collaboration and is critical to achieving positive social change. And yet, U.S. grantmakers continue to underinvest in these programs, squandering the potential that lies in those working for justice.

What are the common barriers to funding such programs and how can we overcome these challenges? What can we learn from foundations that are already supporting transformational leadership development, and from the recipients of such support? In addition to answering these questions, Cultivating Nonprofit Leadership suggests five actionable recommendations for grantmakers to boost investment in current and future leaders of social justice movements.



Smashing Silos in Philanthropy: Multi-Issue Advocacy and Organizing for Real Results

by Niki Jagpal and Kevin Laskowski
November 2013

In this report, NCRP urges foundations that want to see breakthroughs on issues including poverty alleviation, protecting our environment, improving our education system and other complex issues to fund cross-issue grassroots organizations as part of their overall grantmaking strategy. These organizations organize and mobilize multiple constituents and citizens to cultivate the power, leadership and relationships necessary to move the needle toward lasting solutions.

It identifies commonly perceived challenges to funding multi-issue advocacy and organizing and also offers ideas on ways that grantmakers can address these challenges. The report includes seven practical tips for foundations that want to effectively fund multi-issue advocacy and organizing. Learn more


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