Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Report Shows Foundation Funding of Advocacy Produces a Return on Investment of $115 to $1

Advocacy by 110 nonprofit organizations over a five-year period has brought more than $26.6 billion in benefits to low-wage workers, communities of color, rural residents and other marginalized groups, according to a new study from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), released today.

The report, Leveraging Limited Dollars: How Grantmakers Achieve Tangible Benefits by Funding Policy and Community Engagement, found that every dollar grantmakers and other donors invested in policy and civic engagement provided a return of $115 in benefit.

Leveraging Limited Dollars, which distills findings from the seven reports produced as part of the organization's Grantmaking for Community Impact Project (GCIP), provides solid evidence of the impacts of foundation-funded policy advocacy, community organizing, and civic engagement. The report explains why these strategies are successful and how they create stronger communities.
"This report demonstrates without a doubt that foundation funding for advocacy and civic engagement results in substantial benefits for families and communities across the nation," said Aaron Dorfman, executive director of NCRP. "These strategies enable nonprofits and grantmakers to address complex social and economic challenges effectively and improve the lives of the under-served."

To further showcase the effectiveness of such work, NCRP compiled a directory containing every advocacy and community organizing impact that was achieved by 110 organizations in 13 states over a five-year period. The directory is a compilation of data reported in each of seven "Strengthening Democracy, Increasing Opportunities" reports, and includes monetized and non-monetized impacts.

The report also offers suggestions about how to begin funding advocacy to funders who want to start leveraging their grant dollars for maximum results.

The seven GCIP studies brought to philanthropy a highly rigorous and comprehensive methodology to help grantmakers understand the impact of funding for advocacy and social change. The research was conducted over a three-year period and cost more than $1 million.

"Leveraging Limited Dollars: How Grantmakers Achieve Tangible Benefits by Funding Policy and Community Engagement" is available on NCRP's website. Click here..

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy in Washington, D.C., is a national watchdog, research and advocacy organization that promotes philanthropy that serves the public good, is responsive to people and communities with the least wealth and opportunity, and is held accountable to the highest standards of integrity and openness.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

MLK Day Will Be Marked as a National Day of Service

Momentum is building for the annual Martin Luther King Day of Service, as thousands of organizations across the country put the finishing touches on volunteer projects to bring Americans together to serve their neighbors and advance Dr. King’s dream of social justice and economic opportunity for all.

With the holiday just days away, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is urging Americans to visit to find volunteer opportunities in their communities and make MLK Day a “day on, not a day off.”

Projects will take place in all 50 states, including weatherizing homes, beautifying schools, serving meals, and supporting veterans and military families. Many organizations use the day as a springboard for year-round service, such as signing up mentors and tutors for at-risk youth.

A special focus of the 2012 MLK Day of Service is advancing Dr. King’s dream of economic opportunity. In Philadelphia, a jobs fair will connect 500 people looking for work with prospective employers. In Dayton, Ohio, volunteers will offer help in job searching, resume writing, and interview preparation. Members of AmeriCorps VISTA will fan out nationwide to raise awareness of the Earned Income Tax Credit and offer free tax preparation services.

“Dr. King devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice, and economic opportunity for all, and taught us that everyone has a role to play in making America what it ought to be,” said Robert Velasco II, acting CEO of CNCS. “Now more than ever, we need to take heed of Dr. King’s teachings and work together to achieve his dream. Volunteer service is a powerful way to strengthen economic opportunity. And when better to start than on the day we honor Dr. King?”

In 1994, Congress passed legislation encouraging the King Federal Holiday to be observed as a national day of service, and charged CNCS with leading this national effort. This year, CNCS developed several signature initiatives, including a partnership with Scholastic to create and distribute MLK Day Curriculum for grades 3-5; new MLK Day videos and TV and radio PSAs featuring civil rights leaders; and working with faith, non-profit and community leaders to provide more than 2,000 MLK Drum Majors for Service awards to exemplary volunteers.

CNCS awarded MLK Day of Service grants to six organizations to lead service activities on the day, supporting more than 300 projects nationwide to meet local needs:

HOPE worldwide is mobilizing thousands of volunteers across the nation, focusing on fire prevention and preparedness. Partnering with a number of local Red Cross branches, HOPE worldwide is hosting fire prevention fairs, canvassing to raise awareness of fire prevention, and conducting smoke alarm inspection and installation.

Points of Light is focusing its efforts on meeting the needs of veterans and military families, activating more than 185,000 volunteers through sub-grantee projects. From MLK Day America's Sunday Suppers focused on veterans and military members in local movie theaters in Central California to the nation’s largest MLK service project in Philadelphia with more than 85,000 volunteers. Americans are stepping up across the country to service to connect veterans and military families to jobs and training, education, housing and health care.

Service for Peace is mobilizing more than 25,000 volunteers with a focus on engaging and helping veterans and military families across the country, focusing on a wide array of issue areas, including leading the MLK Jr. National Food Drive, school clean ups, house rebuilding and promoting and restoring community garden art. Through the 40 Days of Peace campaign, Service for Peace will be working to reduce bullying, crime and violence across America from Jan. 16th to Feb. 24th.

Mobilizing nearly 12,000 volunteers on more than 65 college campuses across the country, Wisconsin Campus Compact and its partners will focus on education, healthy futures, economic opportunity and disaster preparedness with events ranging from working with area food banks to hosting a community breakfast for local leaders.

Youth Service America will engage at least 50,000 youth volunteers on MLK Day through partner and grantee schools and community organizations. Young people, ages 5-25, will serve as part of programs organized by 16 MLK Day Lead Organizers funded by CNCS as well as nearly 500 other YSA grant funded projects. Many of these grantees will use MLK Day as part of a Semester of Service™, an extended youth-led experience of at least 70 hours of learning and service. 

Cesar Chavez Foundation is mobilizing more than 6,000 volunteers throughout the southwest and western region of the nation, focusing on education through digital literacy programs, community educational events and service learning projects.

CNCS leads the annual national MLK Day of Service as a part its broader mission to engage Americans of all ages in service to meet critical local and national needs. Working with the King Center, other federal agencies, nonprofit and community groups, faith-based organizations, schools and businesses nationwide, CNCS helps Americans turn the MLK Day into a national day of service to make an impact in their communities.

More information, including details about local service opportunities, is available at

Monday, January 9, 2012

Woman2Woman Breast Cancer Foundation and Florida Panthers Team Up

Woman2Woman Breast Cancer Foundation (W2W) launched its “Knock the Puck Out of Breast Cancer” Challenge® at the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers game. During tonight’s game at Bank Atlantic Center, fans can purchase raffle tickets to support W2W’s patient programs. 100% of proceeds will fund the nonprofit’s ongoing initiatives to prevent and detect breast cancer, as well as programs that provide medical treatment and financial assistance to women in need.

“Thanks to early detection and treatment, there are more than 2½ million breast cancer survivors in the United States. But that’s not good enough,” said Jacqueline Gray, CEO of Woman2Woman Breast Cancer Foundation. “We hope the name of this campaign communicates how aggressively W2W is working to improve survival rates. Through the purchase of a raffle ticket on Monday night, Panther fans can join in our fight to help women survive and live with confidence in the face of this horrible disease.”

Founded in 2007, W2W serves women of varying ages and stages of cancer Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston and Miami, as well as other cities. Comprehensive programs include education and early detection through free testing, as well as medical and financial aid to women who are unable to work full-time during treatment.

“Last year, more than 230,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 lives were lost to the disease,” Mrs. Gray added. “In spite of these alarming statistics, we believe that every patient deserves to lead a fulfilling, productive life as she fights back to health. W2W is grateful to Panther fans who support our ability to make a difference and ensure that no woman faces breast cancer alone."

“The Florida Panthers Foundation is honored to support W2W's Knock the Puck out of Breast Cancer campaign on January 9th,” said RJ Martino, SSE Vice President, Corporate Development. “Our organization is committed to raising awareness of breast cancer and encouraging fans to rally behind initiatives that serve our community and beyond.”

In addition to purchasing raffle tickets tonight, donations can also be made on the Foundation’s secure website or through employee giving programs, such as those administered by the United Way.