GuideStar Blog

How Funder Fragility Is Similar to White Fragility and What Funders Can Do about It

At a group convening I attended a while back, we discussed some of the challenges facing leaders of color in the sector, including how 90% of funding still go to white-led organizations, how funders still use a very white lens in what is considered good data and effective programs, how the smallest and most burdensome grants are often the only ones accessible to marginalized-communities-led organizations, how white foundation boards are, the general lack of trust foundations have for nonprofits, and how progressive foundations spend endless amounts of time intellectualizing, which disproportionately harms marginalized communities because they cannot afford to wait months or years for funding decisions.


10 Measurable New Year’s Resolutions Your Nonprofit or Foundation Can Totally Achieve in 2019

Hi everyone. If this is your first day back from the holiday break, make some coffee and read last week’s pep talk “Welcome back to work, you stunningly brilliant and attractive world-changer, you!” followed by “12 tips to ensure you don’t stab anyone on your first day back from break.” (Tip 9: Take a short walk. To your car. Drive home. Watch Netflix.)

It is 2019, a brand new start! Take a deep breath. What you smell is the aroma of change, of possibility, of hope!


2018 Was Another Wild Ride. Can We Unbuckle Our Seatbelts Yet?

It’s hard to believe 2018 will soon be in the rear-view mirror.

Doesn’t it seem like yesterday, when we greeted January with the new Tax Bill of 2017 in effect?

We all wondered if we’d see more of the fundraising volatility we experienced from late 2016 through 2017. We all wished for a less challenging, more stable year for funding our nonprofit work! But we also worried about how the changes to charitable deductions might affect giving. We hoped for the best, but buckled up tight.


Navigating the Neutral Zone: What Happened During the In-Between Time in Our DEI Work

The neutral zone, as defined by William Bridges, is an in-between time. Bridges, a leading authority on change management, explains that transitions require letting go of what was, navigating a time of uncertainty in between, and accepting a new beginning. Think of a trapeze artist. In order to grab onto the new trapeze, the artist must first let go of the trapeze in her hands. The neutral zone is the time when the artist is flying from one trapeze to another.


Philanthropy and the Destructive Illusion of “Leveling the Playing Field”

Image by StockSnap on Pixabay

A few months ago a program officer and I were talking about the lack of funding that goes to communities-of-color-led nonprofits (only about 10% of philanthropic dollars go to organizations of color). He shook his head in sympathy and frustration, sipping on his coffee. “There has to be a way to level the playing field,” he said. This was probably the third time that quarter I had heard that phrase uttered by a funder. 


Borealis Philanthropy Launches Fund to Advance Racial Equity in Philanthropy

We are excited to announce the launch of the Racial Equity in Philanthropy (REP) Fund, a collaborative funding effort based at Borealis Philanthropy that currently includes the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Our first round of grants totaling $14 million over three years will support 19 philanthropy-serving organizations committed to advancing racial equity within the sector and beyond.


How Northwest Health Foundation Is Using Diversity Data to Do Better

On every grant application, Northwest Health Foundation (NWHF) requires nonprofits to report the demographics of the communities they serve, as well as the demographics of their board members. However, that hasn’t always been the case.


New Figures Reveal Diversity Gaps in British Philanthropy

The following article is cross-posted from Alliance magazine blog. Based out of the UK, Alliance magazine is the leading global magazine on philanthropy and social investment. GuideStar is pleased to offer a non-U.S. perspective on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

British foundations are falling short when it comes to embracing diversity. A new report commissioned by the foundation umbrella body, the UK’s Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF), highlights a striking lack of racial, age, and gender diversity in the make-up and composition of foundation trustee boards.


What We’re Learning about Nonprofits’ DEI Journeys

A few years ago, I came across this quote:

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

James Baldwin

It immediately struck a chord. In my personal life, I think of this often for everything from my health to my relationships. In my professional life, I’m an analyst at GuideStar. I keep this quote framed on my desk to remind me why analyzing and improving nonprofit data is so important. The data that nonprofits collect and report isn’t just information in a database. It has the power to shape decisions.

In recent years, the sector has begun to focus on data collection for organizational diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).


Moving Through (Not Around) Racial Equity Work: Lessons from a Community Foundation

“Look within. Be explicit. Don’t be afraid to be messy. Commit for the long term.” Jennifer Aronson, the Boston Foundation’s (TBF) Associate Vice President for Programs, shared these recommendations for shaping a racial equity lens at this month’s Grantmakers for Effective Organizations national conference. These tips ring true for most social justice work both within the philanthropic community and among our partner nonprofits. Understanding that this work, of looking both inward and outward when bolstering our racial equity lens, is not linear is necessary to move through, and not around, difficult conversations about race, power, and privilege. I would humbly add “be hopeful” to Jennifer’s tips, as there is more traction and more motivated people on similar journeys to building or strengthening the racial equity lens in their work than you might think.


  2019 Seals of Transparency are now available!