Three Ways Foundations Can Navigate Changing Political Tides

Is it on? Is it off? Is it on? Is it off? Our heads are spinning with the series of attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the numerous ways in which both the federal government and state level actors are strategizing to alter and/or erode health policy. In today’s turbulent climate, when shifting political winds and policy changes go hand-in-hand with ever-expanding health care needs across the country, how can health funders be strategically effective?

TCC’s Melinda Fine Ed.D. and Jessica Mowles share three strategic learning processes that will engage foundations and funders during complex times.

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Responding to the Call: How to Pursue Legal Advocacy

Without legal advocacy, many norms and rights that people rely on, may have never been established. School desegregation (argued through Brown v. Board of Education), gay marriage (argued through many cases, but before the Supreme Court as Obergefell v. Hodges), clean water and air (argued at both state and federal levels as a myriad of lawsuits) – all were established as part of a legal advocacy strategy. Continue reading

The Age of the Strategic Follower

A few years ago I was introduced to my now favorite TED Talk: Derek Sivers on “How to start a movement.” In two minutes he explains how a movement starts using some amusing footage of a spontaneous dance group. If you haven’t seen it, it is worth the break. What captivated me was his conclusion—and it wasn’t about the leader.

Rightly, much has been made of the importance of leadership—be it in business, government, nonprofits, or online. In the nonprofit sector, starting with the dooms-day scenario of mass baby-boom retirements that was the rage in the early 2000’s, through today’s steady drumbeat of leadership training and development, leadership is on the minds of philanthropic sector professionals.  Continue reading

6 Ways Family Foundations Can Make A Difference in Immigrant and Refugee Lives

With all the changes in the political climate over the past year, I’ve been especially concerned for immigrants and refugees. Many families in my city and community have been affected by the new executive orders and administrative actions, and I’ve read stories about many others across the country that are at risk. This can feel overwhelming when I think about the impact on people I know. The issues we’re dealing with are daunting and complex; it makes me wonder how I can be most helpful.  

You may believe that it would take massive investment to have even a minor impact in this climate. But the truth is, we can all make a difference. Family foundations are no exception.

TCC’s Naomi Polin shares the six essentials for family foundations to have when supporting immigrant and refugee communities. 

Read “6 Ways Family Foundations Can Make A Difference in Immigrant and Refugee Lives” on ncfp.org>

 

5 Things Foundations Say About Their Capacity

Nearly 60 foundations – of all shapes and sizes – recently took the Foundation Core Capacity Assessment Tool (FCCAT), a self-assessment measure for foundations, to better understand their strengths and challenges. Based on the recent summary report, here are five noteworthy things they had to say: Continue reading

Building Evaluation Capacity Across International Offices

For NGOs with offices in a wide variety of geographic locations, establishing a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system that works for both the headquarters office and field offices can be a real challenge. If those offices operate in different countries, that challenge becomes even harder.

As a former program manager for Latin American health programs, I appreciate that needs and outcomes differ by region, by country, and even sometimes by community. I remember long conversations with my colleagues about how a solution for one geographical area would never get off the ground in another! So, how can we create a measurement framework that serves both field office and headquarters’ needs? Continue reading

What Surprises Me about Human Rights Grantmaking

When your job centers on helping funders assess needs, devise strategies, and manage and evaluate their grantmaking, you wish that every field would have a resource like Advancing Human Rights: Update on Global Foundation Grantmaking. Since IHRFG and Foundation Center launched this series four years ago—and added an interactive website three years ago—I have made regular use of these tools to understand levels of foundation engagement within and at the intersection of issues ranging from women’s rights in the Global South to environmental justice in the United States. This research has also been invaluable in helping the foundations I work with to see just how many peers and practitioners have aligned interests and could become partners in realizing their goals.

That is why I was surprised when I sat down to read the 2017 Edition of the Advancing Human Rights report. I realized that in using these resources to answer my very specific, client-focused questions, I had been missing some findings and trends that are beginning to reshape my thinking about foundation support for human rights. Continue reading

Using an Ecosystem Approach to Define Nonprofit Strategy

You’ve been hearing about the “external environment” “ecosystem” “collaboration” “collective impact” and “hubs, spoke, nodes, etc.” a lot lately. Have you been wondering how all these concepts should influence your organization’s strategic priorities? So have we. Continue reading

Municipalities: The Missing Link To Social Sector Capacity Building

When it comes to capacity building, my colleagues and I have seen a noteworthy increase in municipalities interested in strengthening the social sector at the local level. Capacity Building 3.0 – TCC Group’s collaborative approach – calls for elevating the capacity of all players in the social sector to achieve greater impact. If we consider which players have the greatest potential reach and influence to lead in capacity building, why has so little attention been directed at municipalities? Continue reading

Grow Stronger & Achieve Greater Impact

Earlier this month, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) held its National Conference in Minneapolis – bringing together nearly 900 foundation professionals, executives of nonprofit organizations, consultants, and other stakeholders for a stimulating and inspiring two days. The organization promoted the conference as “an event that offers participants the opportunity to explore the most relevant topics in the philanthropic field and hear new ideas for smarter grantmaking practices that enable nonprofits to grow stronger and achieve better results.” Note the emphasis on “grow stronger and achieve better results.”

I had the privilege of attending along with four of my TCC colleagues, two of whom were leading sessions that reinforced the focus on achieving greater impact. Continue reading