Which philanthropy topics piqued the most interest in 2017?

Written by: Peter Haldis

Date: January 01, 2018

If you follow NCRP on Facebook and Twitter (and, if you don’t, now is a great time to start), you probably noticed that we’ve been counting down our top 10 blog posts of 2017. These posts have touched on some of the prominent events of the year, such as President Trump’s executive orders on immigrants and refugees, the recent special election in Alabama and the terrorist attack at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

But NCRP readers’ interests go beyond how philanthropy should respond to current events. Other popular topics included whether foundations should put local residents in charge of grantmaking, how foundations can more creatively support frontline advocacy and organizing, and the role philanthropy plays in liberating boys and men of color.

Below is a recap of the 10 most popular posts on NCRP’s blog in 2017:

A young African American boy plays in his yard.10. Philanthropy, we have nothing to lose but our chains by Jeanné Isler

In this piece, published in November, Isler, NCRP’s vice president and chief engagement officer, discussed Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Color’s convening of foundation CEOs and other stakeholders “to explore the idea that boys and men of color (BMOC) are the architects of their own liberation.” The post provides seven calls-to-action for philanthropy.

9. Philanthropy: Silence is not an acceptable response to Trump’s orders on immigrants and refugees by Ben Barge

In this post from February, Barge, NCRP senior associate for learning and engagement, calls on funders to take a stand against Trump’s executive orders regarding immigrants and refugees. “We believe we’re stronger when we put love before fear and when philanthropy devotes its resources to make that vision a reality,” Barge wrote. “This is also personal for us. These orders target our families, our friends, our board members, our colleagues and our next door neighbors.”

8. Community-led grantmaking: Collective wisdom for social change by Caitlin Duffy

In September, Duffy, NCRP senior associate for learning and engagement, authored this post summarizing Pass the Reins: Shifting Decision-Making Power in Philanthropy, a webinar NCRP co-hosted with Indie Philanthropy Initiative, Grassroots Grantmakers and GrantCraft, a service of Foundation Center.

7. The 2017 NCRP Impact Awards winners are… by Jeanné Isler

For its fifth anniversary, NCRP revamped our annual Impact Awards with four new categories:

  • The “Mover and Shaker” Award for bold peer organizing
  • The “Smashing Silos” Award for intersectional grantmaking
  • The “Changing Course” Award for incorporating feedback
  • The “Get Up, Stand Up” Award for rapid-response grantmaking

Find out who took home the awards at our September ceremony.

6. Creatively funding social movements by Caitlin Duffy

NCRP’s webinars proved popular in 2017, and at this February event, we tried to answer: How can philanthropy creatively fund social movements?

Read the post for seven suggestions of how to creatively resource activism.

Brooklyn Community Foundation (2)

Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Community Foundation.

5. What happens when a foundation puts residents in charge of local grantmaking? by Liane Stegmaier

This post by Stegmaier, vice president of communications and strategy at former NCRP Impact Award winner Brooklyn Community Foundation, explains why community voices and impacted communities are “central to our approach.”

4. Finally, a foundation-commissioned study that actually helps its grantees by Aaron Dorfman

When a foundation commissions a study, its grantees are usually filled with dread. “You have to say yes and agree to participate, of course, or risk alienating that funder,” NCRP President and CEO Dorfman wrote. “But most of the time, if we’re being honest, the study that was commissioned has little or no relevance to how you do your work.”

Learn why a field scan commissioned by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is an exception that turned out to be tremendously helpful to NCRP.

Alan Rabinowitz

Alan Rabinowitz

3. Remembering Alan Rabinowitz 

NCRP was saddened to learn about the November passing of our former board member and social change philanthropy pioneer Alan Rabinowitz. Friends and colleagues left their thoughts and memories of Alan in the comments.

LaTosha Brown and Shun Sheffield on election day in Alabama.

LaTosha Brown and Shun Sheffield on election day in Alabama. Used with permission of LaTosha Brown.

2. Grassroots organizations in Alabama saved the day despite lack of foundation support by Ryan Schlegel

The last blog post we published in 2017 turned out to be one of the most widely read of the year. Schlegel, NCRP’s senior research and policy associate, explained how grassroots organizations led by Black women worked to overcome Alabama’s voting barriers in the recent special election for U.S. senator despite a lack of foundation funding for their work.

1. Wealthy donors and grantmakers: You can no longer hide behind neutrality after the terrorist attack in Charlottesville by Aaron Dorfman

After the deadly violence at an August white nationalist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, Dorfman called on philanthropy to respond decisively.

“The lesson in Charlottesville is clear: The nation’s philanthropic sector must deploy all the resources at its disposal to counter the rising tide of neo-Nazism and white nationalist violence,” Dorfman wrote. “That means deploying a foundation’s public leadership role, its convening power, its invested assets and its grantmaking dollars to protect threatened communities – and to do so on those communities’ terms.”

Peter Haldis is NCRP’s senior associate for communications. Follow @NCRP on Twitter.

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