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June Must-Reads 2018

Each month, we gather five new resources that can help us work smarter, think more deeply and more effectively create the change we want to see in this complex world. This month’s reads cover ways funders can support refugees and asylum seekers, equitable systems change, lessons from capacity-building cohorts, how grantmakers can help nonprofits measure …

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Each month, we gather five new resources that can help us work smarter, think more deeply and more effectively create the change we want to see in this complex world. This month’s reads cover ways funders can support refugees and asylum seekers, equitable systems change, lessons from capacity-building cohorts, how grantmakers can help nonprofits measure impact and reflections on civil society today.


1. Philanthropic Strategies to Support Refugees and Asylum Seekers

STRATEGY | Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees

This new report comes at a crucial time as needs surge among refugees, asylum seekers and unaccompanied children. In it, you’ll find 10 case studies of how grantmakers—including Open Society Foundations, Weingart Foundation, Robin Hood and others of various structures, sizes and geographic priorities—are supporting newcomers. Their strategies shed light on the diverse ways grantmakers can take a more active role, while the lessons learned and recommendations highlight the need for grantmakers to collaborate, think systemically, take holistic approaches, leverage their convening power and more.

2. Systems Change with an Equity Lens: Community Interventions that Shift Power and Center Race

EQUITY | Management Assistance Group and Building Movement Project

As we see more attention to racism and other injustices, we’re also seeing greater urgency and commitment to not only improve systems but disrupt and transform them. Yet dominant approaches to systems change typically don’t integrate an intentional racial equity lens. This webinar introduces a framework with four key components that distinguish systems change with an equity lens from other systems change efforts and features speakers Lauren Padilla-Valverde, Senior Program Manager at the California Endowment, and Reverend Joan C. Ross of the North End Woodward Community Coalition.

3. Learning Together: Building Capacity and Relationships

CAPACITY BUILDING | David and Lucile Packard Foundation

For the past five years, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation has worked with grantees and other funders to co-design capacity-building cohorts. Based on a recent evaluation, those cohorts are working: 99 percent of participants said their capacity in the focus area increased as a result of participating in the cohort project, and 100 percent of participants reported that they benefited from the peer-learning format. Along with their evaluation results, the foundation shares five recommendations that emerged for other funders planning cohort-based capacity building projects.

4. 8 Ways Grantmakers Can Help Nonprofits Measure Impact

LEARNING & EVALUATION | Chronicle of Philanthropy

Using evaluation data to assess long-term change and learn for improvement requires a shift for many grantmakers and nonprofits who are more accustomed to using data to report on programmatic outcomes as an accountability measure. Organizations need time, skill and money to make this shift, and experts say grantmakers aren’t providing the level of support that would help nonprofits use evaluation as a tool for learning and improvement. This resource shares eight ways grantmakers can help organizations measure—and maximize—their impact.

5. Civil Society for the 21st Century

SECTOR TRENDS | Stanford Social Innovation Review

In this new Independent Sector–led series, contributing authors share their thoughts on civil society, defined as the vast, undefined space between the individual and the state. What does it look like today for individuals to organize around the things that matter to them and advance shared goals? The series will explore civil society and its origins, evolution, boundaries, blind spots, values, variety, obstacles and opportunities.

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