Friday, September 16, 2005

Race & Philanthropy in the 3rd Millennium...

I just returned to New York from a brief trip to Indianapolis, where I brought the EPIP perspective to my first meeting of the Advisory Committee for Third Millennium Philanthropy & Leadership Initiative (its nickname is simply 'Millennium').

This is an exciting new 5-year Kellogg Foundation funded initiative at my alma mater, the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy. It is designed to faciliate access to, and equip women and people of color for leadership roles in philanthropy, as well as to attract and cultivate succeeding generations of philanthropic leaders. While the initiative is still taking shape, it has a lot of potential.

The Kellogg, Charles Stewart Mott, and Ford foundations all invest in the health of the philanthropic sector itself, along with the Surdna Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and a slim few others. But the first three I listed have all shifted in recent years to focus on some iteration of race and diversity issues within philanthropy.

At Kellogg, they have retooled their whole Philanthropy and Volunteerism program to unleash the resources of women, people of color and young people. Mott has allocated a significant portion of its nonprofit sector funding stream to look at racial diversity (this program funds EPIP's Professional Development Fund). And Ford created a program on "Community Philanthropy, Race and Equity in the American South." That program provided start-up funds to EPIP, and remains our major funding partner.

It is a fascinating process to see how these national foundations find synergy amongst their programs, how they put their own stamps on the issues, and how the academic centers, affinity groups, and others in the field respond and react in the ongoing fundraising ballet.

One of the resources I learned about at the meeting is a new report called Short Changed. Prepared by the Applied Research Center, this is a study of the levels and ways that foundations have been providing support for racial justice work and efforts in communities of color, particularly noting that such giving has been proportionately decreasing in recent years.

For more resources on Philanthropy and Diversity/Race, visit the links page of the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity.

Unfortunately I cannot provide a link to Millennium b/c the Center has yet to mention it on their website (?!) To learn more about the initiative, contact Sheryl Forte, Millennium Program Coordinator, at 317-278-8989 or Or get in touch with the Center and ask them why they are not telling the whole world wide web about Millennium.

I will keep you informed about how the Millennium moves forward. I am hopeful that EPIP will be able to partner with this initiative in a number of ways. Thanks to Larry Smith for inviting me to represent my take on the needs of emerging practitioners in philanthropy through the Advisory Committee.



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