Fall 2014

Responsive Philanthropy Fall 2014


Written by: Aaron Dorfman

Date: November 06, 2014

A Message from the Executive Director


Dear Colleagues,

This fall, NCRP has been hard at work expanding our Philamplify initiative, a project to break the “isolation bubble” in philanthropy by offering honest feedback to grantmakers, pairing expert assessments of foundations with unvarnished stakeholder feedback. Launched in May, we’ve already reviewed five foundations, and will evaluate a few more by Spring 2015. Throughout this process, we’ve realized the need to accept honest feedback of our own work in our continuous search for improvement. We highlighted this during our recent Amplifying Philamplify webinar, which many of you attended.

As such, this autumn has been a period of reflection, and the realization that good work takes time, planning, funding and strong relationships. This issue of Responsive Philanthropy shows just how difficult reaching transformative goals can be in the philanthropic sector, while giving examples of success and actionable tips for grantmakers looking to maximize their impact.

In our cover story, “Co-Creating Movement Metrics that Matter: Resources, Reflection and the Right Data,” researcher Jennifer Ito explains the importance of uniquely tailoring the assessment process to the organization being evaluated. As a researcher for the University of Southern California’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE), Ito learned this first-hand when her team moved from developing metrics to also implementing them.

Next, in “Maximizing Collaborative Power: Lessons from Communities for Public Education Reform,” Melinda Fine, Ed.D. and Lauren Jacobs share their experiences with advocacy and alliance building during this NEO Philanthropy project’s eight-year lifespan. Fine and Jacobs offer ten lessons for grantmakers also interested in building and sustaining relationships among a wide network of grantees, culled from their comprehensive new report, “Strengthening Collaborations to Build Social Movements.”

In “Earned Income Strategies as a Path to Finance Growth and Innovation,” Spence Limbocker shares what he’s learned studying UrbanMatters, a for-profit housing development company that contributes funding to Washington Interfaith Network (WIN). Limbocker offers tips for how foundations can best support grantees considering earned income strategies that supplement traditional funding while complementing their organizational goals.

Finally, our Member Spotlight explores the work of TASH, a group that has been fighting for true equity and inclusion for people with disabilities for almost 40 years.

As always, we aim to make Responsive Philanthropy a valuable resource for all those in the philanthropic sector, and we are always trying to improve. Let us know how we’re doing at readers[at]

Aaron Dorfman
Executive Director