NNCG Knowledge Center

Inform Your Practice. Increase Your Impact.

Welcome to NNCG's Knowledge Center -- a searchable, online database of resources for and about grantmaking, produced by highly qualified and experienced philanthropy consultants. NNCG's Knowledge Center contains a wealth of reports, case studies, infographics, issue briefs, videos and more that offer ideas, research and helpful information about almost every aspect of philanthropy. Each item was authored or published by an NNCG member. NNCG constructed the Knowledge Center in partnership with Candid -- one of the most respected and trusted sources of information in the philanthropic field.
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Rural Philanthropy in the Southwest

October 1, 2022

Rural communities, while often small, have a large impact on the livelihood of all Americans. As resource centers for water, food, energy, and recreation, rural areas provide many of the resources for communities in urban, suburban, and rural settings to thrive. In fact, 97% of the United States is technically geographically defined as rural,  with much of the Southwest being considered rural, by measures of both geography and population density. Approximately 1 in 5 Americans live in rural communities,  representing 59.5 million individuals. Philanthropy Southwest, with funding support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and administrative coordination from the United Philanthropy Forum, hired Dr. Colton Strawser with Colton Strawser Consulting and the Community Leadership, Engagement, and Research (CLEAR) Institute to do an exploratory study of rural philanthropy in the southwestern United States.  The purpose of this study was to capture the current practice of a small group of foundations, understand innovative approaches to rural grantmaking, and seek wisdom on how funders can shift their grantmaking to support rural communities through different approaches via grantmaking, community leadership initiatives, and community capacity building.

Greater Power, Lasting Impact: Effective Grantmaker Strategies from the Communities for Public Education Reform Fund (CPER)

October 6, 2014

CPER (also referred to here on as the "Fund") is a national funders' collaborative committed to improving educational opportunities and outcomes for students -- in particular students of color from low-income families -- by supporting community-driven reforms led by grassroots education organizing groups. CPER originated in discussions among funders active in Grantmakers for Education's Working Group on Education Organizing.They launched the collaborative in 2007, in partnership with NEO Philanthropy (then Public Interest Projects), the 501 (c)(3) public charity engaged to direct the Fund. CPER's founding funders saw that, in the education debates of the day, the perspectives of those closest to the ground were often left out. These funders recognized that students and families have a crucial role to play in identifying, embracing, and sustaining meaningful school reform. Students and families know their own needs and see first-hand the inequities in schools. Organizing groups help them get a seat at the decision-making table and develop workable solutions, building on community assets that are vital to addressing the cultural and political dimensions of reform. These grassroots groups are essential to creating the public accountability and will needed to catalyze educational reforms and ensure they stick. They can be the antidote to the ever-shifting political conditions and leadership turnover that plague reform efforts. At the same time, they help community members develop leadership and a grassroots base, building individual civic capacity and community power that strengthens our democratic infrastructure for the long term. Because educational improvement requires tackling persistent inequities in race and income, supporting leaders in low-income communities of color also helps build the social capital needed to solve integrally related social challenges. CPER was initially conceived to run for a minimum of three years -- a timeline consistent with most foundation grants but short for the transformative kinds of changes the Fund hoped to achieve. CPER's lifespan eventually stretched to eight years because of the recognized power of its supported work. Over this period, NEO Philanthropy engaged a highly diverse set of 76 local and national funders in the CPER collaborative. Incentivizing new resources through matching dollars, CPER raised close to $34 million and invested nationally in some 140 community groups and advocacy allies in national coalitions and in six target sites of varying scale (California, Chicago, Colorado, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Philadelphia). These groups, in turn, developed local leadership, national coalitions, and cross-issue alliances that helped to achieve over 90 school-, district, and state-level policy reforms that strengthen educational equity and opportunity. CPER's history of impact illustrates the efficacy of community organizing as an essential education reform strategy, along with the more commonly supported strategies of policy advocacy, research, and model demonstration efforts. But CPER's story is also more broadly instructive. In this period of "strategic philanthropy " when focused, foundation-led agendas are increasingly seen as the surest route to achieving desired ends, CPER offered a very different, bottom-up, multi-issue alternative that proved effective. In sharing CPER's story, we hope to deepen understanding of the value of community organizing for education reform while contributing to the larger conversation about how grantmakers can effectively support social movements to strengthen opportunity and justice.

Equality in Health Highlights: Addressing Health Disparities Through Organizational Change

August 23, 2012

This publication briefly highlights results of the evaluation of The Colorado Trust's Equality in Health initiative. The initiative sought to decrease health disparities in Colorado by increasing cultural competency of health care organizations serving racial and ethnic minorities. Community Science, a social research and evaluation firm, conducted the evaluation.

The Importance of Culture in Evaluation: A Practical Guide for Evaluators

July 25, 2007

Offers guidance on designing and conducting a cross-culturally competent program evaluation that takes into account how culture, social identity or group membership, and privilege and power affect responses. Discusses challenges and ways to address them.

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