Why Philanthropy Should Help Strengthen Community Colleges


By Nicole Rodriguez Leach, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation

Research shows the increasing importance of the post-secondary credential to one’s ability to participate in the labor market in this knowledge economy. It is predicted that in our not-too-distant future, over 60% of jobs in the U.S. will require one. However, a fully supported path, with high-quality opportunities and experiences along it, toward a degree is not available to all. A large swath of students are left ill-prepared to enter the 21st century global workforce.

What are the best opportunities for philanthropy to build accessible onramps to the pathway to post-secondary success in both college and career for all?

Over recent years, policymakers, educators and philanthropy have increasingly highlighted the challenge of maintaining a college educated workforce in the U.S. Across the country, high school graduation and college enrollment rates are up but college graduation rates remain dismally low. Attention at all levels has turned to preparing young people to succeed in college. Some of the most promising work in this area is being done in New York City, particularly in its community colleges – institutions that reflect the diversity, assets and challenges of the city and neighborhoods they call home. As the entry point for many students – both nationally and locally – to higher education and the labor market, community colleges have a tremendous impact on the social and economic fabric of families, communities and society at large. Continue reading ‘Why Philanthropy Should Help Strengthen Community Colleges’

Why Should Your Foundation Continue to Exist?

by Bruce S. Trachtenberg, Advisor, Communications Network

The idea of time-limiting foundations seems to be gaining more traction. As counterpoint, a recent Philanthropy New York program asked: “What Is the Case for Foundations Living in Perpetuity?”

PNY gathered a group of three leaders of foundations whose boards had recently revisited the question of spending down or spending out at higher levels that would eventually lead to diminution — Lori Bezahler, President, Edward W. Hazen Foundation, Michael Myers, Senior Policy Officer and Director of Centennial Programming, The Rockefeller Foundation and Jane O’Connell, President, Altman Foundation – to better understand the rationale for existing in perpetuity. They were joined by moderator Tony Proscio and fellow panelist David Morse, Chief Communications Officer for The Atlantic Philanthropies. Continue reading ‘Why Should Your Foundation Continue to Exist?’

Investing in Advocacy Work Is Good — for Everyone


by Carla Washington, Executive Director, Direct Care Alliance 

I have had some funders tell me that while they feel Direct Care Alliance (DCA) does worthwhile work, that they just don’t fund advocacy or community organizing because they fund direct services. My hope is that those funders that are only supporting direct services will begin to understand that supporting advocacy work can accomplish exponentially more, especially for the populations they care about.

Perhaps, if more funders understood that advocacy involves movement building where organizations like DCA, nurture, encourage and train low-income families to lead the very efforts that affect their lives. Without support from New York funders like The Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation, Open Society Foundations and Ford Foundation, DCA wouldn’t have been able to engage and empower direct care workers to speak on behalf of themselves to gain public policy wins that we’ve recently celebrated. Advocacy is more than testifying before elected officials or getting legislation passed. Not that these activities aren’t important. But, at the heart of advocacy work is training leaders, advocates and organizers to lead the very policy change efforts that will improve their lives. Continue reading ‘Investing in Advocacy Work Is Good — for Everyone’

Women on the Front Lines of ACA Implementation

by Ellen Liu, Director, Women’s Health, Ms. Foundation for Women

Women have a lot to celebrate this month. March is Women’s History Month, and March 23 marks the fourth anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Over the past five years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has been funding outreach and advocacy efforts to ensure that women and women’s health services are a central part of implementation of the ACA.

With nearly one in five women uninsured nationwide, the need for targeted outreach to women is undeniable. Low-income women, women of color, immigrant women and young women are uninsured at substantially higher rates than the national average for all women.
Continue reading…

What Does It Mean to Do Policy Work in a Foundation?

by Kenneth W. Austin
Senior Counsel and Corporate Secretary, The Wallace Foundation

For years, The Wallace Foundation has worked for beneficial change in our areas of interest: school leadership, afterschool and the arts. We do this by developing and then sharing evidence-based information and ideas in our fields. The chart below sketches out how we work. You’ll notice that one of three chief aspects of our approach is to “catalyze broad impact” — which we describe as improving practice and policy.
Continue reading…

Declare Overhead Dead

Melissa Berman, the President and CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

by Melissa A. Berman
President and CEO, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Thanks to the efforts of groups that include the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, the Nonprofit Finance Fund and Guidestar, we’ve made real progress in the nonprofit sector recently dealing with the dreaded “overhead” overhang. While government grants and contracts will continue to underfund organizations, there’s some hope that private donors are beginning to understand that “overhead” is not a four-letter word. We may have the opportunity to accelerate that understanding.
Continue reading…

How To Grow and Activate Your Audience On YouTube

Brett Davidson

by Brett Davidson
Project Director, Health Media Initiative, Open Society Foundations

Online video is becoming increasingly important as a communications medium, and video is predicted to make up the vast majority of internet traffic in the next few years. Many foundations fund advocacy videos produced by their grantees, or produce videos themselves — but all too often good and even powerful videos languish on YouTube and other platforms, with only a handful of views. And even if decent numbers of people do watch the video, not enough of them go on to take action or get involved.

Recently, representatives of a few New York-based foundations sat down with Sherif Hamdy and Gideon Kalischer of the YouTube Non Profit program and Jeff Davidoff of the ONE Campaign, to share advice and experiences on how to best grow and engage audiences online.
Continue reading…

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This is a forum for Philanthropy New York members to discuss issues affecting our sector and the practice of philanthropy.

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April 2014
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