NCRP: Time is Ripe for Philanthropy to Learn from 2020’s Courageous Leadership and Dangerous Failures

For Immediate Release 

NCRP: Time is Ripe for Philanthropy to Learn from  2020’s Courageous Leadership and Dangerous Failures   

New issue of NCRP’s “Responsive Philanthropy” looks into the best philanthropic initiatives of 2020 and features first-person accounts  of alleged anti-Black discrimination at Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the impact of NoVo Foundation’s funding cuts for Black women and girls    

Washington, D.C. – While the full implications of last week’s election remain uncertain, one thing is crystal clear: Leadership matters, especially in challenging times.  

The newest issue of Responsive Philanthropy explores the highs and lows of leadership, as it highlights courage and failure at some of the nation’s largest philanthropies. (see individual story descriptions below.) 

“In 2020, we’ve seen philanthropy take the lead on reacting to the pandemics of Covid-19 and racial injustice, including foundations stepping up their racial justice funding and increasing their payouts, and new donors like MacKenzie Scott setting a great example for the sector with their giving,” writes NCRP President & CEO Aaron Dorfman. “But 2020 has also shown us that some of the same old problems remain ever-present in philanthropy, including racial discrimination and abrupt cuts in funding for organizations serving our most marginalized communities. “

Philanthropic funding for movements will be needed more than ever in 2021 if sustained grassroots organizing is to help policymakers move on the pressing issues facing our nation and the world. The latest issue of RP provides valuable insight into how the sector might look to accomplish that necessary work with the following articles:  

Performative philanthropy and the cost of silence 

Ray Holgado, a former Chan Zuckerberg Initiative employee who recently filed a discrimination claim against the philanthropy with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, offers a blistering critique of the philanthropy’s alleged racial discrimination toward Black staff and suggestions for how the field can move forward.  

Filling in NoVo’s void 

Brandi Collins-Calhoun, NCRP’s senior movement engagement associate, shares a deeply personal account of how NoVo Foundation’s decision earlier this year to eliminate its gendered violence program is impacting Black women in philanthropy and social justice movements. She also challenges other donors to step up and urges NoVo to execute a responsible exit – something the foundation has committed to in general terms without offering any specifics thus far.  

Donors and foundations are increasingly supporting movements 

The above examples notwithstanding, it has not been all bad news for philanthropic leadership in 2020. In fact, many high-net-worth donors and foundations have been leading in phenomenal ways. NCRP President and CEO Aaron Dorfman lays out some shining examples of philanthropy supporting movement work. 

Responsive Philanthropy articlesare available at no cost on NCRP’s website, 

About NCRP 

For more than 40 years, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy has been amplifying the voice of nonprofits and the communities they serve in the philanthropic sector. Through research and advocacy, it works to ensure that grantmakers and donors contribute to the creation of a fair, just and equitable world. For more information, 



Peter Haldis, phaldis[at] or (202) 328-9351.