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From: Stacy Palmer

Subject: What Gifts for Racial Equity Have Achieved; the Multiplier Effect of MacKenzie’s Scott’s Giving

Philanthropy Black Voters Matter

Good morning.

In the year since grant makers, companies, and individuals committed billions of dollars to racial-equity efforts after George Floyd’s murder, the big question has been whether the explosion of philanthropic aid would make a difference.

To begin to find answers, we’ve joined with our partners at the Associated Press to explore what has happened. We kicked off that coverage this week with a series of articles that show what beneficiaries of largess have achieved:

Haleluya Hadero traveled to Selma, Ala., with LaTosha Brown (above), co-founder of Black Voters Matter, an organization that raised $30 million last year from 90,000 donors. The nonprofit has used that money to help community groups build their advocacy efforts in the push against restrictive voting laws and to undertake other efforts to encourage people of color to vote.

Alex Daniels looked at EmbraceRace, a nonprofit whose donations increased tenfold in the past year. The organization, founded by a multiracial couple, is giving parents the tools to talk to their young children about race — and it has attracted donors who believe it’s better to prevent racist attitudes from forming rather than responding to the damage caused by hate.

Jim Rendon examined how Faith in the Valley, a longtime player in racial-justice work, used new donations — including a 50 percent increase in gifts from individuals — to quickly expand its work to press for police accountability in California’s Central Valley.

Glenn Gamboa, who delved into big-picture questions about where racial-equity dollars went, said experts told him that showcasing such successes is important “because even though philanthropic groups overwhelmingly say they want to help foster racial justice, many of them are unsure exactly what to do.”

“Foundations themselves told us they weren’t sure which changes were going to continue,” Ellie Buteau, the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s vice president of research, who surveyed more than 800 foundations last summer about their plans for racial equity, told Glenn. “They did realize they have a lot more progress to make.”

Here’s What Else You Need to Know

Team for Kids (TFK) Kickoff

MacKenzie Scott’s record-breaking giving did even more for nonprofits than was apparent at first glance. Maria Di Mento examines how charities are putting those dollars to use and found that the money is having an enormous multiplier effect, in part because Scott put no strings on how it was used — and that enabled organizations to respond creatively. One case in point: Scott’s gift of $2 million to Borealis Philanthropy’s Fund for Trans Generations, which provides general operating support to nearly 60 small charities. The fund’s grantees are led by and serve transgender, gender-nonconforming, and nonbinary people, especially Black transwomen; many have annual budgets of less than $100,000.

Charities are struggling with how best to move from remote work to a safe return to the office. Dan Parks talked to nonprofit leaders about how they are handling questions about who’s vaccinated and whether inequities could be created by policies that allow employees freedom to choose whether to work from home.

Concern about how to check vaccination status and operate safely are also dogging fundraisers contemplating how to return to in-person events, which tend to be far more lucrative than online galas and other digital options, reports Emily Haynes.

And a key to helping nonprofits thrive as they reopen could lie in the help they receive from consultants. Leah Reisman, who studied nonprofit consultants as part of her doctoral work at Princeton, says old approaches don’t work. Instead it’s time for consultants to stop hoarding knowledge and help nonprofits dream big, she writes.

An accelerated focus on affluent donors could be the key to success in the post-pandemic era, two new studies suggest. Nonprofits are starting to do more with those who give $1,000 to $100,000, supporters who are often neglected as attention goes to recruiting and retaining small supporters and those who can give $1 million or more, Eden Stiffman reports. But there’s room to do much more, says philanthropy adviser Sylvia Brown, who recently worked with a Boston College scholar to find out more about what makes so-called midlevel donors tick.

We hope you take the time to read these important pieces — but we know you also welcome opportunities to hear directly from us in online briefings. Coming up next: On Thursday, Lisa Schohl will host a session on how to attract Hispanic donors. And on June 15, Eden Stiffman and I will be discussing what the “Giving USA” results mean for philanthropy, in forums sponsored by CCS and Campbell and Company. We are eager to learn about those results and share with you what they mean for what’s coming next.

I hope this first weekend in June allows you plenty of time to get outdoors and recharge.

Stacy Palmer

More News, Advice, and Opinion
Here’s what else you’ll want to read as you catch up this weekend:

What We’re Reading Elsewhere

Here are some of the articles that attracted our attention in the past week. We provide these summaries every day in our free Philanthropy Today newsletter. (Sign up now.)

Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates are mulling changes to their foundation to ensure its stability as they divorce. (Wall Street Journal — subscription — and Project Syndicate)

Walter Hussman, a major donor to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s school of journalism lobbied behind the scenes for months to forestall Nikole Hannah-Jones’s appointment there. (Assembly)

Patrisse Cullors, the leader of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, is stepping down as the movement matures and an era ends. (Associated Press)

Some billionaires are using the National Christian Charitable Foundation to channel money into “a sophisticated dark-money operation” to oppose LGBT rights. (Daily Beast)

A Black-led nonprofit in Louisville, Ky., has received a six-figure “reparations payment” from a woman who recently learned that an ancestor had enslaved people. (ABC News)

The Milton Hershey School in Pennsylvania is under pressure to spend more of its $17.4 billion fortune on caring for the orphaned or impoverished students it serves. (Spotlight PA)

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is leading a plan to pour $125 million into the recovery of New York State’s arts industry. (Artforum)

New Grant Opportunities

Your Chronicle subscription includes free access to GrantStation’s database of grant opportunities. Among the latest listings:

AIDS and Housing. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is supporting new projects to use housing to help end the AIDS epidemic. Emphasis is given to groups with community-level coordination and a systemic approach to advance equity in underserved communities. The application deadline is July 6.

Arts. The National Endowment for the Arts supports projects that lay the groundwork for systems changes that integrate arts, culture, and design into local strategies for strengthening communities. These projects require a partnership between a nonprofit organization and a local government entity, with one of the partners being a cultural organization. Applications are due to by August 5 and to the NEA applicant portal by August 17.

    Stacy Palmer has served as a top editor since the Chronicle of Philanthropy was founded in 1988 and has overseen the development of its website, She plays a hands-on role in many Chronicle services, such as its Philanthropy Today daily newsletter and its webinar series offering professional development for people involved in fundraising, grant seeking, advocacy, marketing and social media.