It’s a typical day at the office at your nonprofit job. Things have been a little stressful; COVID has significantly impacted your organizational budget. You have some potentially difficult decisions to make. The phone rings. A person begins to tell you that a donor wants to give an unrestricted grant with no time frame for which it must be used; it’s for 14 million dollars. Overnight, everything changes. You still have tough decisions to make, but they’re no longer about layoffs and program rollbacks—they’re about team expansions and program innovations. This may seem like a far-fetched situation, but it is exactly what happened to Lysa Ratliff, Executive Director of KABOOM!, a nonprofit that is all about building community through playspace making. I had the honor of hearing her and others speak about Mackenzie Scott’s philanthropy and how it has altered their organization’s capacity at the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) Conference in Boston. The CEP research team compiled research about Scott’s giving and its impact and perceived impact from both the nonprofit and founder standpoint. At CEP, their team shared some of this research in a panel that included Lysa Ratliff from KABOOM! Of course, when the CEP report* is officially released, you can read more—but here are a few things I found especially impactful from this talk. 1. Stronger Nonprofit Organizations: Almost universally, nonprofit leaders who had been funded by Mackenzie Scott were able to speak to the value of the gift, not only in their ability to do the work they were already doing but also to take the leap and do the work they couldn’t do before. They also largely expressed how this gift allowed them more room to collaborate with other organizations.
Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.