10 Steps To Effective Philanthropy During A Crisis: What Five Great Funders Can Teach Us

August 13, 2020

Philanthropy: This is your moment. Businesses are facing bankruptcies and mass layoffs, with small businesses hit hardest of all. Widespread closures of nonprofits will be no different, according to industry experts. Nonprofits employ 10% of the nation’s private-sector employment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and provide the key services and supports that communities depend on, from education to mental health to arts & culture and beyond.

I spent seven years at Carnegie Corporation, a national philanthropy. I now run a nonprofit and support a funders’ collaborative of almost 40 philanthropic, corporate, and family foundations, so I have perspective on both sides of the table. In moments of crisis such as these, funders are uniquely positioned to do good, or do harm.

I wanted to know what funders were doing to support their grantees and strengthen the field during this time of instability, so I spoke to some great ones: Gregg Behr of the Grable Foundation, Kim Brenneman of the Heising-Simons Foundation, Lisa Pilar Cowan of the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Justine Lucas of the Clara Lionel Foundation, and Charmaine Mercer of the Hewlett Foundation. Coupled with insights from industry experts, here are ten things funders can do.

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