The NCRP Impact Awards celebrate foundations that have shown leadership, innovation and commitment to solving the country’s toughest problems


Civil Rights. Women’s Rights. Minimum Wage. Health Care Reform

These amazing victories were possible because motivated people organized and utilized resources to win big.

And time after time, philanthropy was one of the key sources of funding for these movements.

Effective philanthropy helps change the world. The NCRP Impact Awards recognize that fact and celebrate foundations of all shapes and sizes that have shown leadership, innovation and commitment to solving the country’s toughest problems.


Philanthropy plays a critical role in society

Foundations were an important source of funding for the civil rights movement, women’s rights movement and the campaign to secure minimum wage across the country. Most recently, progress around health care reform and LGBTQ equality was helped enormously by the considerable grants given by numerous foundations to key nonprofits and coalitions working on the ground.

Our world continues to face tough challenges and philanthropy needs to be an effective partner at helping come up with solutions.

But philanthropy can only be effective if done smartly. The NCRP Impact Awards celebrate those foundations that have shown leadership, innovation and commitment to being a part of efforts to solve the country’s toughest problems.

Smart Philanthropy

Philanthropy can’t just throw money into the pot and hope that something works. The enormity and complexity of pressing social issues require that foundations spend their resources wisely by adopting high impact strategies that give the biggest bang for the buck.

Targeted grantmaking that addresses the conditions of vulnerable groups such as the poor, women and girls, and the elderly, which will have positive ripple effects throughout the broader society. Trickle-down, universal grantmaking, hoping that vulnerable populations benefit somewhere along the way. Sadly, this approach rarely reaches those that need help the most.
Supports advocacy, community organizing and civic participation around important policy and social issues to come up with long-term solutions. Relies primarily on providing short-term direct services without supporting efforts that attempt to address the cause of the problem.
Invests in the health, growth and effectiveness of nonprofits by providing the kinds of resources that these organizations need the most to succeed. Hampers nonprofit success by failing to provide the kinds of grants that build the organization’s capacity and leadership.

Empowered Communities

Smart philanthropy recognizes that difficult social problems can only be successfully tackled when those directly affected are valued partners in defining the problem and devising solutions.

Low-income students and their parents now are able to actively participate in efforts to bring quality education to poor neighborhoods. Homeless and formerly homeless individuals are engaged in various initiatives to address unemployment and homelessness in their cities. Victims of sexual abuse lend their voice to efforts seeking to protect and prevent future victims.

Real Results

Smart philanthropy produces tangible results that benefit everyone in our society, instead of just a few. Here are just a number of examples:

  • In California: Passage of a reform motion limiting the amount of sugar, salt and trans fat in cafeteria food served at 700+ LAUSD schools, improving food inspection and creating a parent-led Cafeteria Reform Committee to oversee the implementation of the motion. This benefits more than 690,000 students.
  • In Minnesota: Secured state support for a learning curriculum to prevent teen pregnancy and stopped the government from supporting abstinence-only sex education. This success benefits more than 600,000 youth throughout the state.
    In Mississippi: Prevented a major state funding cut of $110 million to Medicaid that would have eliminated important health services to 48,000 senior participants and people with disabilities.
  • In Louisiana: Established the Children and Families Action Network and Human Services Response Initiative after Hurricane Rita. This ensured that $1.8 million of public, private and philanthropic resources were used to provide equitable recovery for hundreds of residents.

Recognize. Inspire.

The annual NCRP Impact Awards recognize and honor those foundations practicing smart, high impact philanthropy in four categories:

  • Large Private Foundation (annual giving of at least $25 million)
  • Small/Mid-sized Private Foundation (annual giving less than $25 million)
  • Corporate Foundation
  • Grantmaking Public Charity (includes community foundations, United Ways and public foundations)

We hope that the awardees will serve as examples to others in philanthropy to think about how they, too, can ensure that they are maximizing the impact and effectiveness of their giving, and help make this world a better place for all.

How awardees are chosen

NCRP receives hundreds of nominations from across the sector. We are looking for grantmaking organizations (not individuals) that are maximizing the effectiveness of their philanthropy by meeting the following criteria:

  • Exemplary Grantmaking

The foundation allocates a relatively high percentage of annual discretionary giving to social justice, marginalized communities, general operating support and multi-year grants. Its grantees have a visible effect on promoting systems change and empowering underserved communities.

  • Leadership in Philanthropy

Foundation executives publicly demonstrate a commitment to systems change strategies such as public speaking or writing about funding social change strategies and marginalized groups, serving on committees or other initiatives that promote social justice and signing on to Philanthropy’s Promise.

  • Diversity, Inclusion and Equity

The foundation shows a demonstrated commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity, especially along lines of race and gender, in foundation staff and trustees.



Meet the foundations that took home NCRP Impact Awards.



Meet the foundations we honored at our 2016 NCRP Impacts Awards event in Minneapolis.


Transform your philanthropy!

Check out these resources for smart grantmaking that produces real results and stronger communities.