Philanthropy Needs More Risk-Taking, Better Evaluation

Nov 10, 2010, 13:06 ET from National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

"Responsive Philanthropy" features articles on how effective philanthropy benefits underserved populations

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy ( released today the fall issue of "Responsive Philanthropy." This issue of the quarterly journal looks at the high impact approach of a small foundation, improving evaluation in philanthropy, supporting social justice and sustainability in tough economic times, and advocacy and community organizing in the Northwest region.

In the cover story, NCRP executive director Aaron Dorfman interviews Mitchell and Freada Kapor of The Mitchell Kapor Foundation about their unique approach to grantmaking, particularly their strong commitment to risk-taking and diversity. Mitchell Kapor says, "There's a general recognition that large scale philanthropy has underperformed. This suggests we need more risk-taking, more entrepreneurial approaches and more vision."

Steven Mayer, of Effective Communities Project, writes about the ineffectiveness of current evaluation practices in philanthropy. To improve the evaluation process and philanthropy as a whole, Mayer suggests abandoning short-term management thinking, developing cooperative partnerships between funders and grantees, and more.

In "Reflections on Sustainability in a Period of Economic Upheaval," Phillip Henderson of the Surdna Foundation shares how the economic recession reinforced the foundation's aim to build strong communities. Henderson writes, "We have come to see that future communities, those that will afford residents economic opportunity even during difficult economic times like these, not only need to be places of economic vibrancy, but also require strongly reinforced cultural and environmental systems, too."

Lisa Ranghelli, director of NCRP's Grantmaking for Community Impact Project, examines the policy accomplishments of several community groups in the northwest region. She explores what helped these groups win despite having less money and political clout than their adversaries.

This issue of "Responsive Philanthropy" also highlights the work of The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University. The Kirwan Institute encourages the engagement of issues of race in ways that create and expand opportunities.

These articles are available for free on the NCRP website, along with articles 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