Families Funding Change

How Social Justice Giving Honors Our Roots and Strengthens Communities

Families Funding Change


Written by: Niki Jagpal, Ryan Schlegel

Date: October 23, 2015

Families_Funding_ChangeSocial justice grantmaking is an important part of many family foundations’ strategies. These foundations use their reputation and financial capital for systemic reform by funding work such as nonprofit advocacy, community organizing and civic engagement. Yet, many family foundations also encounter hurdles when they consider a shift to strategic social justice giving.

This whitepaper examines the latest data to identify trends in social justice philanthropy among family foundations. Find out:

  • How much have family foundations given towards social justice efforts? How does this stack up against the rest of the sector?
  • Which family foundations are the top social justice funders?

And check out the useful tools and tips for foundations that are ready to boost impact:

  • A discussion guide for grantmakers
    What are the common barriers to funding social justice efforts? How can family foundations overcome these barriers?
  • Profiles of family foundations
    Recognizing that each family foundation will find a different entry point to invest heavily in advocacy, organizing and civic engagement, learn from three different family philanthropies that went through the process of explicitly deciding to engage in social justice work: Hill-Snowdon Foundation, the Needmor Fund and the Surdna Foundation.
  • Additional resources
    A handy list of resources to help family philanthropies understand the nuts and bolts of how to effectively incorporate a social justice lens into their work.


How is philanthropy doing? As we continue to promote philanthropic practices that contribute more effectively to a more just and equitable world, we know it’s important to consistently track progress (or lack of it!)