Fall 2009

Responsive Philanthropy Fall 2009


Written by: Aaron Dorfman

Date: November 06, 2009

Message from the Executive Directive

Dear Readers,

If your fall has been anything like mine, you’ve been running from one meeting to the next, trying to keep up with an ever-increasing work load. I know many of the nonprofits in our membership are struggling financially, and the burden of an uncertain 2010 weighs heavily on them. Some grantmakers have downsized and the same amount of work is being done by fewer hands.

I hope you can take a moment to catch your breath with this issue of Responsive Philanthropy and spend some time reflecting on a few truly important issues in our sector.

Vincent Robinson, managing partner of the executive search firm the 360 Group, explores the barriers to diversity at the CEO level within foundations.  How are trustees’ preferences for celebrity CEOs unintentionally undermining efforts to diversify the sector, and what can we do about it?

Karen Zelermyer, executive director of Funders for LGBTQ Issues, celebrates progress in attitudes towards lesbian and gay Americans in our nation today. But she also laments the lack of sufficient gains on public policy and examines the extent to which philanthropy provides support for LGBTQ issues.

Melissa Johnson, NCRP’s field director, explores the extent to which our Grantmaking for Community Impact Project actually has been influencing foundations. We’ve released reports in New Mexico, North Carolina and Minnesota. But have funders been responding? Are attitudes changing? Is money moving?

Our member profile in this issue features the PICO National Network, a nationwide network of 52 faith-based community organizations. It has been right in the middle of the nation’s health care debate this year, bringing the voices of families and communities into the discussion.

If you have suggestions or ideas for stories we should cover in the future, please let us know.


Aaron Dorfman

Executive Director