Summer 2017

What does winning look like for your organization in the current political environment?


Date: August 23, 2017

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


Layal Rabat Layal Rabat, M.A., Empowerment and Advocacy Manager, Asian Pacific Community in Action

“Winning is recognizing that intersectionality – the interconnected nature of social identities as they overlap giving people advantages and disadvantages in society – is not just applicable to the populations we serve, but to ourselves, and plays a role in our work, whether we’re aware of it or not.

“Winning is building the roads that bring communities together with leaders that take risks, that listen to communities and understand intersectionality. It is creating a united front that seeks to liberate everyone from all forms of oppression in a coordinated, interconnected way that reveals the voice and power that everyone has had all along.”


Tom Tresser, Director, The CivicLabTom Tresser

“Nonprofit organizations unite state-by-state to register 1 million new voters nationally and create state-by-state forums for candidates for state government to address issues of justice and equity.”


Risa WilkersonRisa Wilkerson, Executive Director, Active Living By Design

“To achieve community-led change for health and well-being, diverse stakeholders must start by finding common ground. The current political environment is extremely divisive with an ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ narrative. I’d like to rephrase the question, because winning implies that someone loses. How will our organization create impact in the current political environment? The Active Living By Design (ALBD) team enters partnerships as abundance thinkers, believing that when we all do better, we all do better.

“We look for ‘both/and’ solutions. We believe in the power of people to reshape their communities into healthier places to live through collaboration. Therefore, ALBD helps strengthen and bridge powerful connections between funders and investors, resource and technical assistance providers, community leaders, residents, partners and other community agents.

“We prioritize collaboration with those most vulnerable to health disparities and coach community leaders and partnerships through shifts in power. When decisions are made by and with residents, rather than for them, and when unlikely partners develop trusting relationships, an important culture shift takes place, which leads to more sustainable and impactful change.”


Christine EsselChristine Essel, President and CEO, Southern California Grantmakers

“As we’ve seen with our emerging statewide partnership Philanthropy California, we can find success in public policy by using all of our sector’s assets to speak with a unified voice and cut across political divides. States and cities are often called the laboratories of democracy, but I see philanthropy as a driving force in that, pulling together different experiments in effective grantmaking and community building.

“To me, success in public policy looks like funders utilizing their experience, issue expertise and community networks to take their work into the advocacy realm, amplifying their impact far beyond a single grant.”


Piper AndersonPiper Anderson, Founder/Chief Creative Strategist, Create Forward

“We have an extraordinary opportunity to take power-shifting creative action to redefine justice and make our social systems more equitable. Winning looks like designing new ways of engaging people, to take bold leaps of imagination together, that propel us into a future where there are fewer prisons and more healthy, safe communities.”


John Schwartz, President, VoqalJohn Schwartz

“One way to look at the current political environment is as an opportunity to channel the public’s dissatisfaction with the status quo to make concrete progressive change.

“This can be done in two ways. First, successfully defending hard-fought progressive victories that have broad base support. Second, tackling some of the larger equity issues on a more localized level through city and state efforts. Winning now requires tenacity but remain eminently possible.”


Rea CareyRea Carey, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force

“Winning for the Task Force involves an intersectional approach to social justice that believes that no one is free until all people are free. Under the guise of resistance, we will give voice to disenfranchised LGBTQ people, amplify progressive positions and lift up the work that fights back against the hatred, intolerance, small-mindedness and insularity displayed by our opponents. Winning means holding governmental agencies responsible for their decisions by monitoring what they do and protesting policies that affect our constituencies negatively. Winning means welcoming more people across the country to help with our organizing, activism and visibility of LGBTQ people.”


Dana Wilson, Vice President of Bridge Builders, BRIDGES USADana Wilson

“For us, ‘winning’ is diverse young people coming together to engage in conversation and action that improves Memphis. And by ‘young people’ we mean ALL youth – regardless of their background, race, socioeconomic status, etc. That’s key in this current political climate, and it’s really complicated for our community, because all voices have not been equal, historically. So for BRIDGES, success is when young people are provided training and support and then given opportunities to lead within our community. Regardless of where they come from, youth have great insight and ideas that are valuable in shaping the future for us all.”

Responsive Philanthropy Summer 2017

by Aaron Dorfman


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


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.