Philanthropy is a Beacon

Philanthropy is a Beacon

Posted on February 03, 2017 by MagnifyGood
This week, philanthropic and grantmaking professionals from across Florida gathered in St. Petersburg for the 2017 FPN Statewide Summit on Philanthropy to discuss what’s working, share best practices and explore the evolving landscape of the social sector. The conference kicked off with an opening plenary led by Vu Le, executive director of Rainier Valley Corps and founder of the Nonprofit with Balls blog.

Here are some of our key takeaways from his address:

Nonprofit and For-Profit Collaboration
While we believe that there are many business strategies that nonprofits can benefit from, maybe it’s time to stop imposing for-profit principles on the nonprofit sector. Nonprofit outcomes are more complex than for-profit output, making it more difficult for philanthropy to emulate and adopt certain business practices. Instead of simply criticizing nonprofits for failing to be more like businesses, nonprofits and for-profits should collaborate to achieve shared goals of social change.


A Beacon of Hope
Regardless of our political beliefs, I think we can all agree that 2017 isn’t off to the best start, and 2016 wasn’t the most uplifting year in recent memory. Our nation and our world are facing many complicated challenges. This has sparked a renewed sense of urgency for philanthropy. As Vu Le pointed out, in the darkest times, philanthropy and nonprofits can be a beacon of hope. Challenging times can become moments for philanthropy to inspire people to act (more on that here) and build better, stronger communities. Now is the time for funders to increase payouts and support the organizations that are working to make the world a better place. Ultimately, if nonprofits are doing amazing work and we want them to be sustainable, they should be supported with trust, flexibility and unrestricted funding. This means focusing on impact and outcomes instead of rules and restricted funding. In order to continue to do amazing work, nonprofits need support — now more than ever.


A Focus on Equity
Over the past couple of years, the need for equity rather than equality has been a consistent theme in philanthropy. There has been a lot of talk about equity, but has progress been made? It seems that while organizations are striving for equity, most are still governed by equality. As Le explained, equity is about reallocating resources in order to find the balance. Achieving equity is difficult. It requires a willingness to step out of your comfort zone and take risks. Funders need to invest time, energy and resources into supporting and achieving true equity. A good place to start? Giving all organizations, regardless of their capacity, equal opportunity to compete for grants — even if they have failed before. Success is going to take persistence, so funders shouldn’t shy away from giving organizations opportunities to try again.

equality versus equity

Did you attend the 2017 FPN Summit? We want to hear what your key takeaways were!

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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