Partnerships and Relationship-Building Boost Philanthropy's Effectiveness

"Responsive Philanthropy" highlights lessons from grassroots organizing, the minimum wage campaign for disabled workers and improving STEM retention among girls

May 28, 2014, 08:00 ET from National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) today released its spring issue of "Responsive Philanthropy," featuring pieces by top voices in the philanthropic sector. The release closely follows the May launch of "Philamplify," NCRP's initiative to provide unvarnished feedback for grantmakers by combining expert assessments with crowd-sourced commentary.

The need for community feedback is reflected throughout the pages of "Responsive Philanthropy." Piece after piece demonstrates that the most effective philanthropy is characterized by strong partnerships in which all parties are valued and understood. Our writers leverage their years of experience in social justice organizing to provide valuable content for readers, drawing from action as varied as raising awareness about gender norms to influencing federal policy.  

Beyond Collaboration: Bringing Strategic Thinking to Long-Term Alliance Building
In the cover story, George Goehl, executive director of National People's Action, explores how NPA has embarked upon a strategy of deep alignment with significant results, both in its own efforts and among its affiliates. Goehl always brings his examples back to "What does this mean for philanthropy?" explaining the concrete benefits that result when grantmakers invest in deliberate relationship-building.

CPSD's Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage for Disabled Workers
Allison Wohl describes how her coalition, the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination, led the charge to include disabled workers in President Barack Obama's executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal employees. CPSD was able to seize the opportunity to address a high profile objective with a short turnaround by tapping into its large network of allies, as well as relying on the support of its partner, the Ruderman Family Foundation.

It's How, Not Whether: Issue Campaigns Can Help or Hurt
Former executive director of Maine Initiatives Charlie Bernstein dives into examples from his many years of experience as a community organizer to illustrate the potential pitfalls when national groups take issue campaigns to the local level. He reveals how national campaigns tend to overlook established relationships and skills from years of grassroots organizing to the detriment of the campaign and local groups.

A Lesson in Feminine Norms: Why Philanthropy Matters to Educational Outcomes
Riki Wilchins reflects on research from her organization, TrueChild, which demonstrates how gender norms can hurt female students' performance in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects. Wilchins shares evidence that gender transformative philanthropy is on the verge of becoming best practice for U.S. grantmaking and offers tips for foundations that wish to begin taking into account gender norms in their strategies.

Member Spotlight: Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
This edition's Member Spotlight showcases the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a D.C.-based think tank that advances communities of color through policy analysis, research and leadership development. Joint Center staff give advice on how foundations can best support work that advances racial equity.

These articles, along with articles from previous issues, are available for free on the "Responsive Philanthropy Article Archive." Hard-copy subscriptions to "Responsive Philanthropy" are complimentary for NCRP members and cost $25 for non-members.

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

SOURCE National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy