Summer 2014

Responsive Philanthropy Summer 2014

Written by: Aaron Dorfman

Date: August 23, 2014

A Message from the Executive Director

Hi_Res_Aaron_Dorfman_2010_-_SmallDear Readers,

NCRP started off its summer by celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act on July 2 with a call to remember the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement. In “Freedom Funders: Philanthropy and the Civil Rights Movement, 1955-1965,” NCRP highlights four grantmakers that gave crucial financial assistance to the Civil Rights Movement and asserts the continued importance of social justice grantmaking.

In the months since this anniversary, the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, has been a harsh reminder that structural racism is still rampant in this country. Now, more than ever, is the time for grantmakers to prioritize and empower those with the least wealth and opportunity. If we do, all of society will benefit and together, we will build a more fair and just society. This edition of Responsive Philanthropy demonstrates how many NCRP allies are working to improve their communities, and offers tools and tips for grantmakers interested in doing the same.

We start the issue with a piece by the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS), “Organizing for Educational Justice: Parents, Students and Labor Join Forces to Reclaim Public Education.” AROS explains how they’ve been able to bring together historically disparate groups to push back against market-driven education reform. While the Alliance only just celebrated its first birthday, we’re excited to learn from it as it continues to grow. Next, we look at the unique approach of the 2014 NCRP Impact Award winner for corporate foundation.

In “The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation: Maximizing Impact Through Employee-Led Philanthropy,” Director of Programs Rebecca Golden describes the foundation’s journey toward an employee-led approach to its grantmaking, allowing the foundation to better align with its social justice values.

In “Of Data, Impact and Buckyballs in Philanthropy,” Foundation Center’s Larry McGill shows what foundations have to gain by refining their systems of data collection and sharing information. McGill envisions the philanthropic community as a buckyball – an interconnected globe of relationships – that can only benefit from increased transparency and accountability.

Finally, our Member Spotlight looks at the grantmaking of the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock, which funds many community organizing groups across the country.

As always, we hope you find Responsive Philanthropy to be a useful resource as you continue to refine your work in philanthropy. We are also always trying to improve. Send us your thoughts at


Aaron Dorfman
Executive Director