Summer 2013

Responsive Philanthropy Summer 2013


Written by: Aaron Dorfman

Date: August 13, 2013

A Message from the Executive Director

This issue of Responsive Philanthropy is dedicated to the memories of Ron McKinley and Bob Edgar, two courageous champions of social justice who were taken from us too soon. Both contributed greatly to NCRP’s work to improve philanthropy: Ron spearheaded our Philanthropy’s Promise campaign in his home state of Minnesota; Bob served on our board of directors. I know readers join me in mourning the loss of these great men. May our memories of them inspire us to speak truth to power, humbly yet with great resolve.

Doug Bauer offers a provocative and thoughtful critique of the Council on Foundations in the cover article for this issue, “COF 2.0: Is This What Philanthropy Really Needs?” Bauer, who serves as executive director of The Clark Foundation in New York, criticizes the current direction of COF under its new leadership and proposes that the sector’s largest trade association refocus its efforts on the intersection of public policy with philanthropy if it wants to regain relevance in the nonprofit sector.

In “A Region at the Crossroads: Why Grantmakers Need to Prioritize Investments for Structural Change in the South,” Lavastian Glenn of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation writes about the important role of the South in strengthening our country’s democracy. She describes funding in the South as low-risk with a high return on investment, and offers three recommendations for foundations interested in supporting progress in the region.

Also in this issue, Molly Schultz Hafid and Kathy Partridge examine the tremendous growth and impact of institution-based community organizing. In “Transformative Philanthropy: Supporting Institution-Based Community Organizing,” Hafid, of the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock, and Partridge, of Interfaith Funders, offer compelling reasons why funders should invest in their local IBCOs and share lessons from their own experience in supporting these organizations.

Kevin Laskowski walks us through a crash course on attention deficit disorder in philanthropy. In “A Standard Prescription for Philanthropic ADD,” Laskowski writes at length about Grand Valley State University professor Joel Orosz’s depiction of the philanthropic sector, the causes and suggested treatment of this sectorwide illness.

Finally, our Member Spotlight features the Blue Shield of California Foundation and its efforts to bring accessible, effective and affordable health care to all Californians, especially the underserved, and to end domestic violence.

We look forward to hearing from you. Send us a note at to tell us what you think about these stories and what we can do better.


Aaron Dorfman