2021 NCRP Impact Awards

Meet the foundations that we are honoring virtually


Inspiring. Innovative. Smart. Transformative.

The seventh edition of the Impact Awards was originally slated to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota as part of CHANGE Philanthropy’s annual Unity Summit. However, conference organizers decided to make both events virtual this year after deciding that ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and patchwork of regional safety measures made it “too uncertain to realize a summit while balancing the conference’s goals and our communities’ needs for safe in-person assembly.”

Click here to check out the 2021 Impact Awards Booklet
Read more about this year’s winners
Re-watch the celebration


Congratulations to the 2021 NCRP Impact Awardees:

Nellie Mae Education Foundation


The “Changing Course” Award for Incorporating Feedback is given to the funder that has shifted their strategies and operations in response to feedback from their stakeholders, particularly those most affected by inequity and injustice.

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation has made a deliberate and intention effort over the last several years to change not just what they were funding but how they are funding it.

They reviewed and redesigned their organizational strategy, culture, and practices in order to build a new grantmaking strategy that explicitly focused on advancing racial equity in public education. And they did it by not just asking tough questions of themselves, but also bring in community leaders as equal partners, advisors and decisionmakers.

The result is a movement toward more general operating support and multi-year grants. It’s also meant streamlining reporting expectations and giving more flexibility to grantees in the ways that show “impact” or “results.”

And they are just starting. Read More

California Wellness Foundation


The “Get Up, Stand Up” Award for Rapid-Response Grantmaking goes to a funder that provides timely, flexible resources and adjusted processes to respond quickly to urgent movement needs, especially those of smaller grassroots, frontline groups.

In recent years, California has been hit regularly with a series of natural disasters: fires of unprecedented magnitude; floods and mudslides; and earthquakes. Recovery from those events often put an even greater strain and burden on under-resourced communities.

And that was before COVID-19.

The staff at the Californian Wellness Foundation urgently stepped up, making proactive, core support grants to current partners, eliminating most of the upfront paperwork, accelerating the review process and easing or eliminating reporting requirements.

They got the money out the door quickly and, in the process, got outside of their own box of traditional funding. All in all, prioritizing organizations that were providing relief to communities of color, undocumented individuals, seniors, and those ineligible for government relief. Read More

Four Freedoms Fund


The “Mover and Shaker” Award for Bold Peer Organizing goes to a funder that centered their work on the needs of excluded and impacted communities, leveraging their reputation and convening power to advance systems-change strategies.

Since its founding in 2003, Four Freedoms Fund has infused the immigrant justice movement with over $180 million and provided crucial technical assistance to deepen organizational capacity. From an initial handful of grantees in 2003, FFF now supports organizations, coalitions and networks operating in approximately 30 states and Washington DC. ‘

The work it has facilitated in the last several years has helped provide the fertile ground for the leadership of so many immigrant communities to blossom. Their investments in the long-term ability of immigrant justice organizations to effectively organize and build power from the ground up has helped challenge immigration enforcement, mobilize immigrant voters and secure inclusive state and local immigrant justice policies.

They are pushing the sector to help build the infrastructure that the movement needs to respond to critical opportunities and threats, building the current momentum that looks to transform our federal immigration systems.  Read More

Third Wave Fund


The “Smashing Silos” Award for Intersectional Grantmaking is given to funders that worked in deep partnership with under-represented and vulnerable communities and supported multi-issue and cross-identity efforts to address systemic causes of social, economic or environmental challenges.

Since 1996, the Third Wave Fund’s grantmaking and donor mobilizing has strived to advance the community power, well-being and self-determination of those people and communities traditionally and continuously left out of philanthropy.

That includes young Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPoC) and queer, trans, and intersex people most directly impacted by -- and ultimately best positioned to end -- gender oppression.

Third Wave recognizes that justice is intersectional and that supporting grantees through moments of crisis and towards long-term sustainability means helping them work toward both personal and structural change that focuses on gender, racial, economic, disability, healing, and transformative justice.

As funders, we should strive to be as unapologetic as the Third Wave Fund in supporting movements that recognize that none of us are truly free until all of us are free. Read More



Thank you to our sponsors:


Gold sponsors:


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Silver sponsors:



Learn more about the 2023 NCRP Impact Award winners.



Meet the foundations that took home NCRP Impact Awards in the past.

Meet the 2021 Selection Committee

Meet the 2021 Selection Committee

Find out a little bit more about the 2021 Impact Awards Selection Committee.

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