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April Must-Reads

This month, we saw several organizations share openly about their stories and struggles in shifting culture and pursuing racial equity, we read an example of what happens when collaboration becomes the norm, and we found practical advice for grantmakers in a new guide and a survey of the nonprofit sector.

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This month, we saw several organizations share openly about their stories and struggles in shifting culture and pursuing racial equity, we read an example of what happens when collaboration becomes the norm, and we found practical advice for grantmakers in a new guide and a survey of the nonprofit sector.

What caught your attention this month?

1. Resonance: A Framework for Philanthropic Transformation

GRANTMAKING STRATEGY | Justice Funders | Executive summary: 3-minute read; Full report: hour-long thorough read

A new guide from grantmaking groups Justice Funders and the Resonance Collaborative, “Resonance: a Framework for Philanthropic Transformation,” gives grantmakers a framework for shifting the power imbalance between funders and nonprofits. The guide offers suggestions already gaining popularity, like multiyear grants, and also reframes philanthropy as a form of reparations for the harm that elites have caused over centuries in the U.S. While shifting philanthropy will take time, the creators say the guide can help foundations identify opportunities for growth. For more about this guide, see “Balance of Power” (requires a Chronicle of Philanthropy subscription).

2. Putting Racial Justice at the Heart: How Did CompassPoint Get Here? (Introduction) and A Vision for Belonging (Part 1)

EQUITY | CompassPoint | 6-minute read (Introduction) and 9-minute-read (Part 1)

In this blog series, CompassPoint reflects on their journey over the last three years to “step into a commitment to racial justice, equity, and a vision for leadership that centers liberation.” The series will look back—at how the changes started and were sustained—and forward—at what’s still needed—focusing on three pieces of that journey: the organization’s vision, relationships, and resources. This introduction to the series and first installment begin to tell the story of the complexity of organizational and community change, offering insight for other organizations on racial equity journeys.

3. The Power of Reflection: The Story of On the Move

CULTURE | The Whitman Institute | 7-minute read

This case study of the nonprofit On the Move shares how the organization’s culture of reflection and commitment to equity show up in their practices. The profile highlights the relationship between On the Move and the Whitman Institute, showing what a funder-nonprofit partnership can look like and how this partnership set up On the Move to make great progress.

4. What Nonprofit Leaders Wish More People Knew

GRANTMAKING STRATEGY | Stanford Social Innovation Review | 7-minute read

Survey responses from Nonprofit Finance Fund’s recent State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey reiterate a common theme: the need for flexible, multi-year grants. In this article, the authors lift up recommendations for funders alongside four observations from the survey:

  1. Funding practices continue to stymie innovation
  2. Nonprofits get and keep people on their feet
  3. Nonprofits are first responders to inequity
  4. It’s hard to attract and retain top talent with limited and restricted funding

5. Winning the War on Poverty

COLLABORATION | New York Times Opinion | 4-minute read

What does it look like when everyone—community members, foundations, nonprofits, city officials, social entrepreneurs, conference planners, etc.—works together to create communities where no one lives in poverty? In 72 regions across Canada, community members have come together to understand poverty in their community and then build a plan based on the community’s strengths and needs.

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