December 2021

Responsive Philanthropy December 2021


Written by: Aaron Dorfman

Date: December 13, 2021

Dear reader, 

The last issue of “Responsive Philanthropy” celebrated NCRP’s 45 years and asked what philanthropy should look like in the next 45. This issue celebrates philanthropy now and looks at what this sector is doing to build the future that we want. It’s actually something we like to do every two years at NCRP’s Impact Awards. 

For many, this year’s virtual Impact Awards takes place in a world significantly changed from the world in which our last one in Seattle was held. However, grassroots movement groups have been ready for this moment for decades. They’ve shed light on needed systemic changes and work daily on the courageous work of transforming society regardless of the media spotlight.  

The 2021 Impact Awards celebrated those funders who stepped up in important and innovative ways to support these movements. These issues featured in the speeches they delivered when accepting their awards. They are leading with courage and helping show how philanthropy can play a truly meaningful role in building a more fair and just society. Their focus on amplifying communities and deep roots in movement are a glimpse of what the philanthropy of the future can look like, right now.  

I was blown away by their work, and I am sure you will be too. Congratulations again to California Wellness Foundation, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Third Wave Fund and Four Freedoms Fund.  

Rounding out the issue, our Senior Associate for Movement Research Stephanie Peng argues that the right kind of data fuels movements and challenges funders to find it. We also take a step inward as NCRP’s former Evaluation Director Lisa Ranghelli shares our progress at the midpoint of a decade-long strategic campaign to push grantmakers to wield and share their power more effectively. Changing the world often begins at home, and I am proud that we continue to not just push the sector to do better, but also ourselves.  

As I mentioned in my closing remarks at the Impact Awards, to build a fairer and more just world, leaders of philanthropies must have the courage to drive change and make their organizations better. My hope is that this and every issue of RP provides readers the inspiration to be that courageous changemaker in their institution.  

You know what needs to be done.  

You can make it happen.  

Everyone at NCRP will have your back while you push for what’s right.

Being a Courageous Changemaker

by Aaron Dorfman


In their words: Celebrating philanthropy's best models today

by Jeanné Lewis


Three lessons 2020 taught us about the state of philanthropic data

by Stephanie Peng


Learning - and change - begins at home

by Elbert Garcia with Lisa Ranghelli