June 2020

Responsive Philanthropy June 2020


Written by: Jeanné Lewis

Date: June 22, 2020

Dear Reader,

We are in a moment of great pain – but also a moment of great social transformation.

The combined crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and uprisings against law enforcement have exposed the broken parts of our systems and institutions in an unprecedented way.

Philanthropy has an opportunity to respond to these gaps with courage. Black-led organizations fighting for social justice have repeatedly explained the need for more funding and better relationships with philanthropy. For decades our sector has been aware of health and resource disparities that led to disproportionate impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

In this issue of Responsive Philanthropy, our authors invite us to act boldly on best practices and shift priorities to support organizations who work to correct the weak points in our society.

Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson of the Deaconess Foundation reminds us that now is the time to be explicit about race, anti-Blackness and racial equity. Funders can use communications platforms and advocacy resources to help movement leaders push policy beyond what is pragmatic for a just-recovery.

Nichole June Maher of Group Health Foundation urges philanthropy to find the willpower to wield its social, political and economic power and acknowledge its ongoing role in social inequities.

Aaron Dorfman, NCRP CEO, shares reflections from Satterberg Foundation grantees about a model that other family foundations can follow. A popular and helpful practice that every foundation could do, especially in moments of crisis, is increase payout.

Finally, we hear from several funders and donors about why they give to 501(c)4 organizations, a critical strategy for supporting organizations that fight to correct broken systems.

Philanthropy at its best trusts frontline, movement organizations, Black-led organizations and others with deep networks in marginalized communities deserve that trust now more than ever as they lead the charge for significant policy change and social transformation.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be a partner in the nation’s social transformation.


Jeanné L. Lewis

Vice President and Chief Engagement Officer

The people are beautiful, already

by Nichole June Maher


The COVID-19 crisis and political reset: Wielding philanthropic power for a just recovery

by Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson


The coolest equity-focused family foundation you’ve probably never heard of

by Aaron Dorfman


Why we give to 501(c)4 organizations

Why savvy grantmakers and donors give to 501(c)4 organizations.