Sometimes a key step is to recognize that the map has changed and that it’s time to chart a new course. The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy’s program called Philanthropy’s Promise sought to encourage foundations to pledge that they would award 50 percent or more of their grants to marginalized communities and 25 percent or more to efforts that advance social justice.
But finding current data to track progress proved a recurring challenge. On its map of change, NCRP decided its goal was to persuade foundations that represented 10 percent of overall giving to commit to making the promise. In five years, it galvanized 202 such commitments, which represented 9 percent of total foundation giving. But Jeanné Lewis, a top NCRP official, told us in an interview that it proved too difficult to gather accurate data to confirm follow-through, in part because federal disclosures of grant-making activity typically are filed two to three years after the money has been awarded.