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Foundations Promise to Prioritize Underserved Communities

  • Published: 2011-06-11 (Rev. 2011-06-12) - Contact: National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
  • Synopsis: Leading foundations promise to dedicate the majority of their giving to benefit underserved communities and a substantial amount to strategies that address the root causes of social problems.

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Philanthropic Watchdog Group Kicks Off Initiative With Foundations That Promise to Prioritize Underserved Communities - More than 60 foundations and other grant-makers submit public statements explaining their commitments.

More than 60 leading foundations from across the country that together give close to $2.5 billion a year in grants to nonprofit organizations promised to dedicate the majority of their giving to benefit underserved communities and a substantial amount to strategies that address the root causes of social problems, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) announced today.

Foundations and other grant-making organizations that have voluntarily signed on to NCRP'S Philanthropy's Promise initiative will allocate at least 50 percent of their grant dollars to address the unique needs of the poor, elderly, disabled and other marginalized groups, and at least 25 percent towards supporting advocacy, community organizing and civic engagement to promote equity, opportunity and justice.

Through this initiative, NCRP is recognizing grant-makers that practice effective and strategic grant-making that leads to lasting social change. The organization hopes the campaign will inspire other grant-makers to serve the common good by prioritizing and empowering underserved communities, and expects more grant-makers will sign on in the coming months.

"Philanthropy's Promise offers strategies that will help foundations and other institutional grant-makers - regardless of their size, focus and approach - to maximize the impact of their grant dollars," said Aaron Dorfman, executive director of NCRP. "Studies and stories have shown that these high impact strategies leverage philanthropy's limited resources effectively."

More than 60 grant-makers have submitted their public statements explaining their commitment to the Promise. These grant-makers include big and small foundations, private foundations, family foundations, corporate foundations, community foundations and other grant-making public charities.

Grant-makers that have submitted statements include:

Akonadi FoundationCANew World Foundation, TheNY
Arcus FoundationNYNew York FoundationNY
California Community FoundationCANorth Star Fund, Inc.NY
California Endowment, TheCANorthwest Area FoundationMN
Common Counsel FoundationCANorthwest Health FoundationOR
Compton Foundation, Inc.CAOverbrook Foundation, TheNY
Conrad N. Hilton FoundationCAPenney Family FundCA
Daphne Foundation, TheNYPeppercorn FoundationWA
Discount Foundation, TheDCProteus Fund, Inc.MA
Edward W. Hazen Foundation, Inc., TheNYPublic Welfare Foundation, Inc.DC
Ford FoundationNYRetirement Research FoundationIL
Foundation for LouisianaLA
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, TheNJ
Foundation for the Mid-SouthMSRosenberg FoundationCA
French American Charitable TrustCASaint Paul Foundation, TheMN
General Mills FoundationMNSilicon Valley Community FoundationCA
Groundswell FundCASocial Justice Fund NorthwestWA
Headwaters Foundation for JusticeMNSolidago FoundationMA
Hill-Snowdon FoundationDCSouthern Partners FundGA
Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, Inc.NYThird Wave FoundationNY
Kate B. Reynolds Charitable TrustNCTides FoundationCA
Kirkpatrick Family Foundation, TheWAUnitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, The
and its Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program
NY
Levi Strauss FoundationCAUnited Way of Greater Los AngelesCA
Liberty Hill FoundationCAW.K. Kellogg FoundationMI
Maine Initiatives, Inc.MEWallace Foundation, TheNY
Marguerite Casey FoundationWAWarner FoundationNC
Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, Inc.NCWestern States CenterOR
McKenzie River Gathering FoundationORWieboldt FoundationIL
McKnight Foundation, TheMNWinthrop Rockefeller Foundation, TheAR
Meyer Memorial TrustORWomen's Foundation of MinnesotaMN
Minneapolis Foundation, TheMNWoods Fund of ChicagoIL
Mitchell Kapor Foundation, TheCAZ. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Inc.NC
Needmor Fund, TheOH

"We believe that meeting the challenges of these times requires that we take risks. It also requires that we advance programs and initiatives that have the potential to be transformative, even when the approaches are new," said Luis Ubinas, president of the Ford Foundation. "After all, risk and challenge are more than just the privilege of philanthropy - they are its responsibility."

"With limited resources, McKnight's programs seek to provide support where we believe we can have the greatest impact. In many cases, this requires that we attend to underserved communities," wrote Kate Wolford, president of the McKnight Foundation in the foundation's public statement. "Additionally, McKnight's board has long recognized the power of pursuing lasting, systemic change through advocacy, community organizing, and civic engagement."

"We encourage every grant-maker to actively consider how their individual mission statements and grant-making priorities may enable them to participate in this challenge or, at the least, fully understand and reflect on the constraints that prevent them from doing so," wrote Emmett D. Carson, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, in his foundation's public statement.

For more information, visit www.philanthropyspromise.org

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy in Washington, D.C. is a national watchdog, research and advocacy organization that promotes philanthropy that serves the public good, is responsive to people and communities with the least wealth and opportunity, and is held accountable to the highest standards of integrity and openness. Visit www.ncrp.org







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