Winter 2018

Responsive Philanthropy Winter 2018


Written by: Aaron Dorfman

Date: February 07, 2018

Dear Colleague,

Hi_Res_Aaron_Dorfman_2010_-_SmallMany of us – activists, funders, service providers and others – are bracing for a tough year ahead. Each day seems to bring a new threat to our democracy and to communities with the least wealth and power. There are many reasons for despair, anxiety and anger.

But there’s also room for hope. Hope that, with unity, hard work and passion for what is good and just, tides will turn. And hope that our sector will step up as essential partners of that work. The articles in this edition of Responsive Philanthropy highlight some of the various ways that funders can respond to secure a positive future.

In “Amplifying the impact of outrage giving,” Jason Franklin, board chair of the Proteus Fund and co-founder and co-chair of the Solidaire Donor Network, looks at the outpouring of small new donations to progressive social movements after the November 2016 elections. He examines what this means for the philanthropic sector and identifies five critical ways that grantmakers can leverage this momentum.

Andrea Levere, president and CEO of Prosperity Now, takes a deep dive into the strategies of one of its funders. In “Learning from Emerson Collective’s ‘philanthropic recipe’ for these times,” she shares how Emerson is leveraging its LLC status and supporting grantees beyond the grant to highlight what other grantmakers can do to effectively respond to these tough times.

We saw some devastating natural disasters in 2017, which helped keep environmental and climate change issues in the headlines. But what’s not often talked about is how the mainstream environmental movement largely sidelines men and women of color. Michael Roberts, program manager at The Schmidt Family Foundation’s The 11th Hour Project, shares some lessons from the grantmaker’s journey in diversity, equity and inclusion in “Confronting the evidence: Addressing racial disparity in environmental grantmaking.”

Last year, many of you expressed interest in our community-led grantmaking webinar. So NCRP’s Caitlin Duffy interviewed Gabriel Foster of Trans Justice Funding Project in “Equitable participatory grantmaking in trans communities.” Foster discusses how the fund is centering the people it seeks to benefit in its grantmaking.

And for our Member Spotlight, we highlight The California Wellness Foundation, which seeks to improve the health of Californians “by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention.” After the elections, the foundation asked stakeholders what they needed given our current political environment. Learn how it responded and what it’s asking other funders to do, too.

The stakes are high. You, me, family, friends, neighbors and entire communities are affected by the wave of regressive and unsustainable rhetoric and policies from our current administration and its supporters. Yet, I am hopeful that in 2018, funders, grantees and individuals who care about a just and thriving future for all will rally together to fight for that future. NCRP is committed to be in that fight.

We appreciate hearing from you! Tell us what you think about these and other articles from Responsive Philanthropy. Let us know what stories you’d like us to cover. Email

Thank you for being part of NCRP’s community.


Aaron Dorfman
President and CEO

Amplifying the impact of outrage giving

by Jason Franklin, PhD


Learning from Emerson Collective’s “philanthropic recipe” for these times

by Andrea Levere


Confronting the evidence: Addressing racial disparity in environmental grantmaking

by Michael Roberts


Equitable participatory grantmaking in trans communities

A Q&A with Gabriel Foster


Member Spotlight

The California Wellness Foundation


Responsive Philanthropy Winter 2018

by Aaron Dorfman



Read past issues of Responsive Philanthropy.