Summer 2017

Responsive Philanthropy Summer 2017


Written by: Aaron Dorfman

Date: August 23, 2017

Dear Colleague,

These are challenging times for democracy and human rights in the United States. Some in our nation are attempting to turn back the clock and undo many of the advancements our society has made over the past 100 years.

In response to this dangerous environment, smart philanthropic leaders will figure out how to play both offense and defense at the same time. In this issue of “Responsive Philanthropy,” we feature some important ideas that will help funders calibrate strategy to best support underserved communities and social justice movements.

In “Philanthropy and the 2020 Census: A once-in-a-decade chance to get it right,” Vanita Gupta of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights tells us why foundations must start putting resources into education and promotion of the 2020 census immediately, if they haven’t already started doing so. Gupta provides four reasons why funders need to ensure the census is accurate. “The outcome of the census influences – directly or indirectly – almost every issue that U.S.-focused philanthropies support,” Gupta notes.

Ludovic Blain of the California Donor Table and Jim Araby of UFCW Western States Council explain what philanthropy can do to respond to the rightwing push to reduce the power of unions in “How should philanthropy respond to attacks on unions?” Blain and Araby list 10 opportunities for philanthropy to address needs as labor declines. “One result of rightwing attacks on labor unions is that liberal and progressive philanthropy will find itself, and its grantees, in a different ecosystem far less likely to produce the results – the justice – we seek,” the authors write.

We asked eight NCRP nonprofit members: “What does winning look like for your organization in the current political environment?Learn how they view success for the important work they’re doing in today’s political climate.

In “Funding transformation through racial healing,” NCRP’s Jeanné Isler shares why W.K. Kellogg Foundation believes racial healing can transform the nation. The foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation effort aims to motivate people to make a sustained commitment to support change. Isler focuses on how the program is working in New Orleans, Dallas and Buffalo, New York.

Did you know that some nonprofits are re-granting portions of their funding to help grassroots efforts? Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara of the Campaign for Southern Equality explains how her organization is using micro-grants to fund LGBTQ organizing in the South in “Pay it forward: A new way to fund grassroots LGBTQ organizing in the South.”

In our Member Spotlight, we feature the Episcopal Health Foundation. The foundation’s vision is to transform every community in Texas into a healthy community by improving health in addition to health care.

We are committed to highlighting stories and resources that help the sector become truly effective forces for good. Let us know what you think: Send comments and story ideas to


Aaron Dorfman
President and CEO

Philanthropy and the 2020 Census: A once-in-a-decade-chance to get it right

by Vanita Gupta


How should philanthropy respond to attacks on unions?

by Ludovic Blain and Jim Araby


What does winning look like in the current political environment?

NCRP members share their vision of success as they work to address critical issues faced by our communities.


Funding transformation through racial healing

by Jeanné Isler


Pay it forward: A new way to fund grassroots LGBTQ organizing in the South

by Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara


Member Spotlight

Episcopal Health Foundation



Read past issues of Responsive Philanthropy.