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Work in Progress: How One Consulting Firm Is Helping Funders Adapt in an Evolving Sector

The following profile of TCC Group’s philanthropy practice was originally published on Inside Philanthropy. You can read the article in its entirety by visiting Inside Philanthropy with your subscription information or by downloading a PDF.

By Philip Rojc

These days, it’s easy to get into the habit of thinking that philanthropy is rapidly coalescing around the need for diverse perspectives, more bottom-up thinking and greater equity in governance and grantmaking. But even as a mounting sense of crisis has animated some funders to leave their comfort zones, words still have a tendency to outpace deeds. Now that COVID-19 has upped the ante even further, it’ll be interesting to see how much the sector really embraces the kind of organizational shifts that have sparked a lot of talk in recent years, but less in the way of concrete action.

Consultants, intermediaries and other “philanthropy-serving organizations” have an undeniable role to play in charting the sector’s course. Some philanthropy-serving organizations act as go-betweens, bridging the gap between donors and organizations on the ground. Others offer fiscal sponsorship services, host donor-advised funds, or even engage in significant grantmaking themselves. They’re all different, but they can all tell us something about where the sector’s heading.

The TCC Group is one prominent consultancy worth keeping tabs on. It’s a certified B corporation, but it’s closer in function to your typical consulting firm than places like Arabella Advisors, another B corp that focuses significantly on 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsorship. And it’s not ideological in the same sense as the Proteus Fund or DonorsTrust. In fact, one remarkable thing about TCC is its broad reach. Its clients run the gamut, serving huge foundations like Gates, Ford and Rockefeller, down to smaller local grantmakers and a variety of nonprofits. TCC has also worked with a laundry list of prominent corporations, often advising their philanthropic arms. Affinity groups and funding collaboratives round out the firm’s client list.

Such varied clientele gives TCC powerful cross-sectoral perspective in an era when some of those boundaries are dissolving, or at least appearing to. And while it’s defined by its varied client list, TCC stresses its dedication to a set of values: diversity of perspective, organizational effectiveness and equitable social change. Equity, in particular, is a common priority for its philanthropic clients.

As part of our expanding coverage of philanthropic consultancies and intermediaries, here’s a closer look at this important player.

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