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Will foundations’ next crisis response be déjà vu all over again?

Foundations say they are eliminating restrictions on existing grants, exceeding payout requirements, listening to their grantees on what they need to weather current challenges, and thinking about increasing support for policy, advocacy, and organizing. They’re also being asked by everyone whether these changes in their practices will outlast our ongoing crises.

This is the current state of philanthropy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also the state of philanthropy in response to the Great Recession more than a decade ago.

Over this past year, we at TCC Group had an opportunity to explore how the philanthropic sector is responding to the interconnected inequities laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic and the national movement against police brutality and racism. We also examined whether this time of acute social upheaval is leading funders to reevaluate their generally siloed approaches and consider what it will take to address today’s challenges in transformational ways. We share what we learned in a new report, Approaching the Intersection: Will a Global Pandemic and National Movement for Racial Justice Take Philanthropy Beyond Its Silos? (Support for this inquiry was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.)

What we found, through focus groups with local and regional funders and interviews with national philanthropy-serving organization (PSO) leaders, is a sector that appears motivated to embrace new ways of working and that has access to promising approaches for making transformational change—and yet is also moving cautiously and at times hesitantly toward undertaking the types of fundamental institutional realignment toward approaches with the greatest promise for delivering systemic equity and justice.

Click here to read the five key findings from our report in The Center for Effective Philanthropy.

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