News and analysis
August 17, 2017

‘An Intolerable Failure’: How Nonprofits Responded to Charlottesville

Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post/Getty Images

The site of Saturday's attack at a white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in which a car allegedly driven by a Nazi sympathizer plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters, has become a makeshift memorial to Heather Heyer, the activist killed in the incident.

Saturday’s deadly white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., provoked a strong response from many nonprofits and foundations, and it wasn’t just organizations like the NAACP and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

A wide variety of nonprofits quickly joined the fray with statements of outrage, hope, and healing. We’ve collected and linked to a few of those statements to provide an overview of how the broader nonprofit world responded.


"I have one message to young people and people of color who find themselves equally outraged by this latest surge of the darkest elements of our nation: Unite. Organize. Vote."

California Endowment President Robert Ross, in a blog post on the organization’s site Monday

"[The Charlottesville Area Community Foundation] exists to support and serve all who live in and around Charlottesville, and now, more than ever, we are determined to pull together and become an even stronger community."

Letter from CEO Anne Scott, which replaced the foundation’s entire home page

"This is an intolerable failure to govern our diverse nation, and we urge all Americans to hold this president accountable."

Statement by Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates

"We have seen what happens when this hate goes unchecked, and the stakes are high for all of us. We must be fully engaged in truth-telling and civic action to push back against this threat to our democratic values."

Statement by top leaders of New Profit, a nonprofit venture-philanthropy fund

"State or restate your values publicly and commit to calling out hate in all its forms wherever you encounter it."

Email from the Communications Network, a group that connects nonprofit and foundation communicators. The message included seven things organizations could do immediately to respond to the rally and work to combat racial hatred.

"As a country we should be tackling the hard work of knitting our communities back together again, rebuilding the institutions that foster connection and shared experience, restoring the availability of meaningful work and a sense of common purpose."

Blog post by Grant Oliphant, president of the Heinz Endowments

"White supremacists are mobilizing to take over cities across America — and we must act immediately to protect America’s values and lives."

Statement by Ms. Foundation for Women CEO Teresa Younger

"Now is not the time for the philanthropic sector to hide behind a false perception of neutrality."

Statement by National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy CEO Aaron Dorfman

"Leading a community of analysts who seek to bring forth knowledge to improve lives, I imagine we have something to contribute, to understand the origins of fear and what drives hatred of the other, even as we seek to protect and create opportunity for its victims."

Statement by Urban Institute President Sarah Rosen Wartell

"We are outraged, yet not surprised, by last night’s white supremacist march in Charlottesville. Every American, especially white Americans, must keep our country’s ongoing legacy of racism at the front of our minds."

Statement by YWCA interim CEO Casey Harden

Feel free to post a link to your organization’s statement in the comments section below.

Send an e-mail to Cody Switzer.