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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Leadership in Difficult Times: Guidance for Donors and Giving Families

March 20, 2020

This guide offers an initial compilation of lessons and inspirations to help donors and families act in the near-term, as well as a variety of tips for family philanthropy's long-term response. Included are ideas and resources from giving families, family funders, and philanthropy leadership organizations.

End-of-Life Grantmaking in the United States: A Review of Key Literature and Entities

October 21, 2015

This is an in-depth field scan that surveys the landscape of United States foundation funding around end-of-life issues (especially work involving media and public engagement). We profile selected funders; organizations; historically relevant funders who are no longer active; affinity groups; and key literature.

End-of-Life Grantmaking in the United States: Summary Report

October 21, 2015

The introduction to an in-depth field scan that surveys United States foundation funding around end-of-life issues (especially work involving media and public engagement), this report first reviews the history and context of end-of-life grantmaking in the US; then considers more recent developments, including the emergence of new funders; and finally offers closing observations aimed at grantmakers entering the space.

The California Endowment: How Can This Leading Health Equity Funder Bolster Its Community Impact?

June 20, 2014

The California Endowment (TCE) is actively moving the needle toward health equity through its support of national health reform, changes in school discipline policies and focused attention on the urgent needs of boys and men of color. Its primary grantmaking strategy, Building Healthy Communities (BHC), funds both statewide policy advocacy and targeted investments in 14 communities across California. By investing in efforts to build community power and also directly engaging in advocacy, TCE exemplifies strategic, social justice philanthropy at its best. However, some of TCE's grantmaking practices limit its grantees' effectiveness. To expand its impact, TCE could provide more general operating support, build nonprofit advocacy capacity and better align the large foundation's many efforts.

Health Philanthropy: New Players and New Approaches

November 14, 2013

The shifting landscapes of health and health philanthropy have created profound needs and opportunities that Non-tradtiional actors (NTAs) are particularly well-suited to address. Due to the significant policy changes and demographic inevitabilities of the coming decades, the U.S. health system is poised to add millions of new users over the next 10 years, creating a deep need among service providers to build capacity, refine best practices, and scale proven programs to serve more people. Health philanthropy has been adapting to meet these needs, but even the significant resources of THFs are not adequate to address the anticipated growth in the health care needs of this country.NTAs in health philanthropy include a wide variety of organizations and institutions, including corporations, CDFIs, venture philanthropists, start-ups, and young donors.Many corporations have their own in-house charitable giving programs. Although much of their support may be in the form of grants, corporations often have different priorities and preferred approaches than traditional grantmaking foundations. Established by the U.S. Treasury Department in 1994, community development financial institutions (CDFIs) are financial institutions that provide credit and financial services to underserved markets and populations. In the United States, the Treasury Department certifies CDFIs and provides them with funds through a variety of financial programs.Venture philanthropists seek to make long-term, high-engagement investments in community-based organizations, in much the same way that venture capitalists provide valuable seed funding to for-profit entities.A variety of high-tech start-ups have emerged to explore and expand new ways to identify worthy philanthropic investments and direct resources accordingly.On an individual level, many younger next-generation donors possess different priorities and risk tolerances than earlier generations of individual donors.

Boosting the Immunization Workforce: Lessons from the Merck Vaccine Network - Africa

November 19, 2012

This report shares lessons learned from The Merck Company Foundation's decade of experience building immunization capacity in Africa. The Merck Vaccine Network -- Africa, a philanthropic initiative to train immunization managers in Kenya, Mali, Uganda, and Zambia, suggests seven key lessons that can help other funders, governments, and NGOs designing or implementing similar vaccine delivery training programs improve the effectiveness and sustainability of their work.Merck's experience designing and supporting the initiative can offer valuable lessons for other actors in the immunization and broader global health fields who are engaged in or planning similar work. Specifically, we identify seven forward-looking lessons that can increase the effectiveness and sustainability of programs to build the capacity of the vaccine workforce in developing countries:Conduct a rigorous needs assessment to anchor efforts in local needs and priorities;Perform ongoing monitoring and evaluation (M&E) to enable programs to adapt, improve, and generate evidence of impact to attract new partners and funding;Create a sustainability plan at the outset to ensure that program impact is maintained beyond the conclusion of initial funding;Embed programs into local health systems to ensure that investments leverage existing infrastructure, relationships, and resources, and that impact can be sustained beyond the life of the program;Employ locally-adapted curricula and appropriate teaching techniques to maximize transfer and retention of relevant knowledge;Incorporate supportive supervision into programs to ensure that transferred knowledge is maintained and acted upon;Facilitate and support regular convening and communication, enabling continuous learning for improvement.In addition to describing the approach taken by MVN-A and the results achieved in the four focus countries, this paper provides additional detail on each lesson, supported by case studies from the MVNA experience.

Gender Transformative Philanthropy

November 5, 2012

As foundations and other philanthropic institutions assess where they can maximize the social return on their charitable investments, many are looking at issues of gender norms and gender equity. One program officer put it this way: "Our grantees and staff get race and class; some are even starting to get sexual orientation. What I want to know is -- what happened to gender? Where is the gender analysis?" Over two decades of research has now shown that challenging harmful codes of masculinity and femininity is a major key to improving outcomes in reproductive health and gender-based violence. Yet the field continues to mostly overlook gender norms. As the same time, studies have shown conclusively that having a strong gender analysis of the disparate impacts on women and men is crucial to increasing the effectiveness of civic engagement organizing. However, many non-profits in this space either ignore gender equity, or marginalize it as a "women's issue." As one experienced program officer put it, "Grantees need to see gender and race together. Gender impacts every issue they work on. But grantees are not being challenged to do innovative work around gender [in a way that parallels their work on race or class concerns]. This accessible overview will help program officers who want to integrate a stronger gender focus into their giving and their grantees' work and analysis.

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.

Better Outcomes, Lower Costs: How Community-Based Funders Can Transform U.S. Health Care

June 1, 2012

Mark Kramer and Dr. Atul Gawande discuss the untapped potential for community-based funders to transform the cost and quality of health care in the United States. Individually, these funders have the opportunity to make a profound and lasting impact on the health of their communities; together, they have the opportunity to create a national movement to achieve better outcomes at lower cost.

Making the Case and Getting Underway: A Funder Toolkit to Support Healthy People in Healthy Places

January 1, 2009

This toolkit was created as part of the Health Eating Active Living Convergence Partnership (www.convergencepartnership.org) to help funders create multi-field environmental change strategies to enhance healthy eating and active living.

Strengthening the Safety Net: Core Support for Community Clinics

January 1, 2007

This document summarizes findings from the first, comprehensive evaluation of Blue Shield of California Foundation's (BSCF's) Core Support Initiative. Between 2003 and 2006, BSCF invested more than $12 million in nearly 200 community health clinics, parent corporations and clinic consortia/networks. These grants provided clinics with the flexibility to cover whatever they needed most, from untiltiy bills to hiring new staff to expanding services. Among the findings: core support stabilizes clinics and therefore strengthens the entire safety net, helps clinics raise additional funds, and boosts staff morale. The full report, "Core Support Initiative Evaluation," also is available through the NNCG Knowledge Center.

Voices From the Field: Remobilizing HIV/AIDS Philanthropy For the 21th Century

June 1, 2001

This report was issued by Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) and is the outcome of a research project designed to gather information enabling FCAA to further philanthropic initiatives on HIV/AIDS into the 21st century. For this purpose, 35 main HIV/AIDS funders were interviewed in-depth. Findings are described, along with statistical data and illustrative quotes, and conclusions on fostering HIV/AIDS grantmaking are drawn. An appendix on HIV/AIDS resources is also included.

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