Strengthening Democracy With Philanthropy

Jan 24, 2013, 12:10 ET from National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

"Responsive Philanthropy" looks at lessons from Citizens United, community democracy and mission investing

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP; released today the winter issue of "Responsive Philanthropy (http:/" This edition of the quarterly journal looks at different ways that philanthropy can promote and strengthen democracy in the U.S. It includes articles on what philanthropy can learn from Citizens United, a community democracy approach to funding social change, lessons from a major U.S. foundation's experience with mission investing, and the need for greater urgency in the philanthropic sector.

Supporting Litigation and Legal Advocacy: The Lessons of Citizens United

In the cover story, John F. Kowal, vice president for programs at New York University School of Law's Brennan Center for Justice, examines the strategies used by the conservative movement to successfully move the courts to the right. He argues that those in philanthropy seeking to overturn or mitigate the fallout from Citizens United have much to learn from the conservative playbook.

What America Needs Now from Foundations

NCRP Executive Director Aaron Dorfman invokes Martin Luther King Jr.'s "urgency of now" to issue a wake-up call to foundations, highlighting the pressing need to address inequity and injustice. He asks, "How can we in the philanthropic sector contribute to expanding democracy to include everyone?"

Challenge and Hope: Philanthropy and Community Democracy

Peter Pennekamp, executive director emeritus of the Humboldt Area Foundation, and Anne Focke, senior advisor with the Giving Practice of Philanthropy Northwest, write about how a community democracy approach can help foundations be more successful at supporting public policy and social change. They offer actionable tips for effective grassroots engagement in addressing pressing social problems.

Boosting Philanthropic Impact Through Mission Investments

Tracy Kartye, director of social investments at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, offers a glimpse of the foundation's efforts to leverage its endowment in pursuit of its mission to create better futures for the country's disadvantaged children. She shares how the foundation monitors financial and social impact, and notes emerging challenges to mission investing.

This issue of "Responsive Philanthropy" also highlights the work of the Bauman Foundation (, a D.C.-based grantmaker that funds nonprofit advocacy.

These articles, along with articles from previous issues, are available for free on the "Responsive Philanthropy Article Archive" ( Hardcopy 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