Fall 2012

Responsive Philanthropy Fall 2012


Written by: Aaron Dorfman

Date: November 26, 2012

Dear Readers,

As I write this note, election season is entering its final two weeks and the presidential election looks too close to call. By the time you read this, however, we will be talking about a second term for President Barack Obama or a first term for President Mitt Romney. The choice has profound implications for our world and for those with the least wealth, opportunity and power in this country. I’m thankful, therefore, for those foundations that invested robustly this year in nonprofit voter registration, voter engagement and other strategies that help encourage all Americans to be active politically.

In “Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities,” Karen Kelley-Ariwoola urges African American foundation executives to “speak up and stand up for the needs of our black communities” and mobilize for change in her James A. Joseph Lecture, which she delivered during the Association of Black Foundation Executives’ annual conference in April 2012.

Christine Doby and Christine Reeves look at the critical role that specialists and generalists play in philanthropy. In “Specialist or Generalist: A False Dichotomy,” they offer some advice on how to avoid the common traps that may prevent both types of expertise from serving their constituents to the fullest.

In “Bolder Together: Collaboration to Strengthen Civic Engagement Capacity in California,” we learn about the unique approach of the California Civic Participation Funders to helping their nonprofit partners achieve sustainable policy wins on social justice issues.

Finally, our Member Spotlight highlights the work of MALDEF, the country’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization.

We want Responsive Philanthropy to be an important resource as you navigate the world of effective, responsive and transparent philanthropy. Please email us at to share your comments, story ideas and suggestions for improvement.

Thank you for your continued support of NCRP.


Aaron Dorfman

Executive Director