Spring 2013

Responsive Philanthropy Spring 2013


Written by: Aaron Dorfman

Date: May 07, 2013

Message from the Executive Director

Dear Readers,

It’s been a great pleasure to see so many of you in person these past few months during the busy spring conference season. As our nation moves forward – and sadly, sometimes backward – on issues like immigration, gun control and the federal budget, I am deeply appreciative of the work you are doing to influence policies that affect the communities we are all seeking to serve. I hope you enjoy this issue of Responsive Philanthropy.

In “Changing the Culture of Philanthropy in Michigan,” Vicki Rosenberg writes about the positive impact of the Council of Michigan Foundations’ initiative to bring diversity and inclusion in philanthropy to its communities.  She shares anecdotes from Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Kalamazoo Community Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation to demonstrate how higher intercultural competency in these foundations have improved foundation practices as well as engagement with grantees and their communities.

Also in this issue, Lisa Ranghelli interviews Jihan Gearon of Black Mesa Water Coalition about how a group of Native nonprofits beat efforts by powerful senators to appropriate water rights. In “How Underfunded Native American Nonprofits Beat the Odds to Protect Water Rights,” Gearon points out how philanthropy can better support indigenous organizing.

Many foundations are taking to heart the need to be effective at helping address tough social issues our communities face. In “Building Bridges: The Power of Multi-Issue Advocacy and Organizing,” Niki Jagpal urges grantmakers to practice strategic philanthropy with a social justice lens to maximize their impact.

Finally, our Member Spotlight features the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, an  association of  more than 600 community-based organizations that promote access to basic banking services for working families across the country.

We’re continuing to improve Responsive Philanthropy and look forward to hearing your ideas for stories and what we can do better. Send us a note at

Thank you for being a part of our community of readers.


Aaron Dorfman