Workshop looks into fastest-growing segment of institutional philanthropy

Our annual Small Family Foundations Workshop drew 130 nonprofit professionals to the virtual live/online event in early April. Access Philanthropy, again, partnered with MN Council of Nonprofits to talk about foundations that give less than $1M annually.

AP President Steve Paprocki featured the profiles of 40+ small family foundations, talking about what these foundations are funding, what they want from nonprofits,  and how to approach them. He was joined by Marc Belton, a former executive with General Mills, to talk about his family’s foundation, and Peg Thomas, manager of the Sundance Family Foundation.

Truthfully, who else talks about small family foundation fundraising except for Access Philanthropy?

This is the largest and fastest-growing segment of institutional philanthropy in Minnesota growing at a rate of nearly 35 percent every two years. There are more than 1500 small funders (<$1 million in annual giving) in Minnesota, and most of them are small family foundations.

  • For example, the Anna M. Heilmaier Foundation annually gives away about $330,000, is operated by US Bank Philanthropic Services, and focuses on health, disabilities, and music. By the way, Alex Bakkum, who used to oversee the Heilmaier operations, has just moved to Cincinnati. He was from Moorhead, so we know he’ll be back again someday.
  • Another great SFF: Belton Family Foundation. Marc and Alicia’s foundation has been around for five years, but now they’ve hired staff, put up a website – and most importantly – they want to connect with the community they serve. They want to hear from you (wow!). Good for them!
  • Carlson Family Foundation: one of the best youth funders in the U.S. evidently may not be doing a grantmaking cycles with new organizations.
  • McKnight Foundation has named Tenzin Dolkar as its program officer for its Midwest Climate & Energy program. Does the name ring a bell? Dolkar used to work for Bloomberg Philanthropy’s American Cities Climate Challenge, where she served as a climate advisor to the City of Minneapolis.
  • From General Mills Foundation: “we are in the midst of planning efforts and assessing if any resources would even be available yet to deploy in FY21”
  • Securian Foundation: one of our favorite funders, Securian Financial saw a 44% drop in income last year due to the pandemic. No word on what will happen to their foundation giving this year.
  • Ethical Corporations in Minnesota: According to Ethisphere these Twin Cities corporations are recognized as highly ethical institutions:
    • 3M Co.
    • Allianz Life Insurance North America
    • Best Buy Co. Inc.
    • Thrivent
    • U.S. Bancorp
    • Xcel Energy Inc.
  • Minneapolis Foundation will be assuming administrative responsibilities for the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation. The Phillips folks will continue with their own board and make their own grant decisions, but the Foundation’s financial and backroom stuff will belong to the Minneapolis Foundation. Since the Phillips Foundation broke into three separate entities (MN, CO, and CA foundations), it no longer needs a major backroom operation

    The Minneapolis Foundation is providing similar services to WCA Foundation and hundreds of donor-advised funds, and used to perform backroom and staff services for the Ciresi Walburn Foundation for Children. Next WCA deadline is May 3rd.

And, by the way, Access Philanthropy has the most comprehensive and up-to-date list of small family foundations located in and/or funding primarily in Minnesota. We have done comprehensive research on what small family foundations are like, what they like, and how to get them to like you. Link to Subscribe

3.21 Fluff Free News Digest

Good March to you and yours! We’ve had a couple of really warm days already so far, so we, the overly optimistic Minnesotans are ready to put away shovels and bring out lawn furniture. One of our AP team drove up to Duluth in shirtsleeves. But you know what happens when the snow goddesses, gods and non-binary deities see the snow shovels in storage!

But, but, but… on the other hand grantseeking optimism needs to remain strong to justify the work you do on proposals, budgets, applications, and letters of inquiry. So, keep both your snow shovels and your budget templates within reach.

Access Philanthropy & MN Council of Nonprofits will hold the annual Small Family Foundations Workshop

Thursday, April 08, 2021. Virtual Live/Online

Truthfully, who else talks about small family foundation fundraising except for Access Philanthropy? There are more than 1500 small funders (<$1 million in annual giving) in Minnesota, and most of them are small family foundations. So, get goods from AP folks and small family funders, and then walk away with a book, the power point and some access time to AP’s Small Family Foundation 300+ database.

  • For example, the Anna M. Heilmaier Foundation annually gives away about $330,000, is operated by US Bank Philanthropic Services, and focuses on health, disabilities, and music. By the way, Alex Bakkum, who used to oversee the Heilmaier operations, has just moved to Cincinnati. He was from Moorhead, so we know he’ll be back again someday.
  • Another great SFF: Belton Family Foundation. Marc and Alicia’s foundation has been around for five years, but now they’ve hired staff, put up a website – and most importantly – they want to connect with the community they serve. They want to hear from you (wow!). Good for them!
  • Carlson Family Foundation: one of the best youth funders in the U.S. evidently may not be doing a grantmaking cycles with new organizations.
  • McKnight Foundation has named Tenzin Dolkar as its program officer for its Midwest Climate & Energy program. Does the name ring a bell? Dolkar used to work for Bloomberg Philanthropy’s American Cities Climate Challenge, where she served as a climate advisor to the City of Minneapolis.
  • From General Mills Foundation: “we are in the midst of planning efforts and assessing if any resources would even be available yet to deploy in FY21”
  • Securian Foundation: one of our favorite funders, Securian Financial saw a 44% drop in income last year due to the pandemic. No word on what will happen to their foundation giving this year.
  • Ethical Corporations in Minnesota: According to Ethisphere these Twin Cities corporations are recognized as highly ethical institutions:
    • 3M Co.
    • Allianz Life Insurance North America
    • Best Buy Co. Inc.
    • Thrivent
    • U.S. Bancorp
    • Xcel Energy Inc.
  • Minneapolis Foundation will be assuming administrative responsibilities for the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation. The Phillips folks will continue with their own board and make their own grant decisions, but the Foundation’s financial and backroom stuff will belong to the Minneapolis Foundation. Since the Phillips Foundation broke into three separate entities (MN, CO, and CA foundations), it no longer needs a major backroom operation

    The Minneapolis Foundation is providing similar services to WCA Foundation and hundreds of donor-advised funds, and used to perform backroom and staff services for the Ciresi Walburn Foundation for Children. Next WCA deadline is May 3rd.

Other Foundation News
  • From WK Kellogg Foundation: “All requests (to) the foundation must be submitted online at www.wkkf.org. We are upgrading our grantmaking system and application to better serve you and your communities. As a result, we will not be able to accept applications for funding from January 23 through March 14, 2021. Please visit our site again on or after March 15 to set up an account in our new grants portal and apply for funding.”
  • A New Foundation: Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation is giving away $3 million for basic human needs.
  • Target Corporation and Target Foundation have a new foundation EVP, Kate Boylan, whose jobs will include communications, philanthropy, and general corporate social responsibility.
Corporate Foundations vs. Corporate Donations Programs (non-foundation gifts)

Interesting study on corporate foundations vs. corporate donations (non-foundation giving programs).

Corporations that use foundations instead of corporate giving programs are viewed as

  • More in touch with consumers, employees, and neighbors
  • More professional in their giving practices
  • More trusted in having the world’s self-interest at hand.
  • More trusted than corporations who only use employee matching programs

The truth is corporate foundations are, to some extent, regulated by the IRS and state attorneys general (Bremer, ahem). Legally, they are independent of the corporation, but since the funding and the people come from the corporation, they do have corporate interests at heart. However, their interpretation of corporate interest is generally broader and different from those who only use corporate donation programs.

Anecdotally, it’s true that corporate foundations have invested in the infrastructure, people, and corporate volunteers, and are generally more professional about their giving. Corporate donation programs are not JUST about corporate self-interest (some of it is about size and corporate capacity), but corporate donation programs are often more limited in their altruism.

What’s our fluff-free advice? – When you’re thinking about soliciting gifts from a large corporation, understand the limitations of a corporation that uses only an in-house donations programs in contrast to using a foundation.

Selective Job Board

A great month for philanthropy jobs. See the variety on the MN Council of Foundations and the Bridgespan Group jobs boards.

Access Philanthropy is looking for good researchers and writers. Great work with great clients and a great team of writers, researchers, and advisors (maryanne@accessphilanthropy.com)

  • Thompson Reuters is looking for a Director for their Social Impact Institute
  • Margaret Carlson Philanthropies needs an Environment Program Officer
  • SW Initiative Foundation needs a Youth Program Officer
  • PFund, one of the great, locally-focused, LGBTQ funders in the U.S., needs a Program Officer
  • Wellspring Philanthropic Fund and Heising Simons Foundation need Communications Officers
  • One of the Dayton family funds, the Constellation Fund, needs an Impact Research Assistant.
  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation is looking for lots of people. See the variety on the Bridgespan Jobs Board, including Director of Employment, Education and Training; Program Associate, Policy Reform and Advocacy – National; Senior Associate, Family Stability Assets. It would be great to have a few Minnesota voices in the Casey Foundations.
  • The New Mexico Community Foundation needs a new CEO. Last month, San Diego Community Foundation needed a CEO. This month Santa Fe. Who is quitting these jobs!?
  • Finally, if you don’t want any run-of-the-mill grantmaker job, the Toy Foundation is looking for an Executive Director. The position includes grantmaking, fundraising, policy, and collaboration
Google Ads.

No more excuses. Look at this. Here’s the link to the downloadable Google Ads Guide.

Giving Surveys
  • Minnesota International NGO Network (MINN) has a new annual report and global priorities survey of giving to Minnesota’s community of international-servicing organizations. According to the survey, the top MN International NPO priorities are general equality, education quality, and ending poverty.
  • According to the Ms. Foundation for Women, only 1.6% of funds from non-profits in the U.S. goes to programs supporting women and girls, and just 0.5% goes towards women and girls of color.
General Operating Support and Unrestricted Gifts?

Just as the pandemic was beginning last year, the Council of Foundations issued a public statement in which 850+ foundations agreed to offer more general operating support and put less restrictions on their grantmaking.
So far there’s not a lot of evidence that foundations are fully engaged in either – with two exceptions – multi-million-dollar gifts to huge national organizations are less likely to have all kinds of stipulations, and food/basic need grants have fewer restrictions. This is a good start, but someone should check whether unrestricted, gen op gifts are only for the wealthy NPOs, or whether these commitments also include mid-sized and smaller nonprofits.

COVID Giving Stats

We must admit that Covid philanthropy reports are getting as tedious as the damned virus itself. But let’s face it, last year was so different, so we’re all curious about what happened in our industry. Here’s a few trends from Candid, ARNOVA, and the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy:

  • Some 28% of U.S. COVID giving so far has been for social justice strategies, compared to 9-12% between 2003 and 2016.
  • 7% of surveyed COVID-related grants, ($727 million, 551 grants) address issues of racial equity
  • 10% of U.S. grant dollars, and 5% of U.S. pledged dollars for COVID, have been designated explicitly to benefit Black communities. Only 2% of Foundation 1000 giving has been designated this way in previous years.
  • 0.9% of total COVID-19 grant dollars has been designated to benefit Indigenous and American Indian communities, compared to just 0.1% in previous years.
Individual Giving Stuff
  • The percentage of households giving to charity declined to 53% in 2016 from 66% in 2020, according to a report from the Institute for Policy Studies. Lots of interesting articles about wealth and philanthropy on their website.
  • Looking for the next big major donor? According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, 14% of millionaires are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color. The CoP has profiles of a few diverse donors.
The Oprah Effect? Celebrities and Nonprofits

Sports, movie, and television stars, and even politicians, have been part of the charitable solicitation world. There have always been questions about the value of using these celebrities for nonprofit work. The debate continues. But now some folks have done some great work with interesting findings:

  • Unless the celebrity has real experience with the charity’s work (they have the disease, they know about domestic violence from personal experience), don’t use them in your solicitation. People don’t believe them, and they view the charity less, well, … charitably.
  • It’s VERY easy for a celebrity solicitation to turn against the charity. Last year, when Ashton Kutcher sold wine and promised to give profits to COVID charities, lots of people were turned off by the connection of booze and COVID. Whenever Paul Newman made provocative news, his charity-supporting salad dressings were pulled off the shelves of grocery stores.
  • Using celebrities for international charities or abject poverty relief appeals is not well-advised. According to a survey, many people are put off when wealthy celebrities ask for money to support dire poverty in developing countries.

The bottom line from the study – connecting any old celebrity to any old charity is dumb. The cult of celebrities may still be alive and well, but even if your donors subscribe to People magazine, there’s a good chance their charitable decisions are not based on their favorite superstar’s charitable requests.

Signs of Life. Time for Spring Fundraisers?

The NY Times recently did an article indicating how the US retail industry is showing signs of re-opening:

  • 7 of 10 top selling garments at Urban Outfitters last month were dresses
  • Live Nation sold out 200,000 music festival tickets in a couple of days
  • Airline tix sales to Las Vegas were up 20% last month
  • Cruise ship tix recorded a 30% jump
  • Gym memberships rebounded in January (but then, they always do in January)

So, with younger people and others ready to move outside, is it time for your organization to start thinking about a late spring, summer, or early fall event? And does anyone have a good mailing list of high net wealth Neanderthals?

Need to Talk to Someone about Fundraising Problems and Concerns?

AP now has six senior advisors, all of whom have thirty-forty minutes to chat and lots of experience in grantmaking and grantseeking. (gail@accessphilanthropy.com or steve@accessphilanthropy.com)

One-Off Workshops

Besides the April 8th workshop on Small Family Foundations, here are a couple off the radar workshops

Neuromarketing Workshop from the SBA:

  • Neuromarketing is a scientific approach to understanding consumers’ decision-making. It pays close attention to the role of emotion, intuition, and impulse in making buying decisions. Now guided by science, businesses can make their marketing much more effective by applying Neuromarketing, just like Apple, Google, and Amazon have all adopted it to boost their revenues dramatically.

    The SBA is offering a virtual workshop on neuromarketing. Even if you’re not a small business you’re welcome to attend.

  • Bending the Arc of Grantmaking Toward Racial Justice
    Candid (the merger of Foundation Center and GuideStar) is offering a $10 workshop on March 30. The workshop features Lori Villarosa, Co-author of Grantmaking with a Racial Justice Lens and Founder/ED of Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE).
Fundraising Words to Avoid

Big Duck, a nonprofit communications firm, recommends avoiding these nine terms in 2021. Some will be tough to avoid, but good writers will do so. See the website for additional insights:

  • Pivot
  • Unprecedented
  • Now more than ever
  • Diversity (that one’s tough)
  • Best practices
  • Empower
  • Master
  • Tone-deaf, blind to, and other ableist language
  • Changemaker/changemaking
Speaking of Nonprofit Communications…

The Nonprofit Marketing Guide issued its 11th annual Nonprofit Communications Trends Report. It includes pieces on work in the pandemic, managing communications teams (including volunteers), growing communications efforts, email practices, and lots of stats on the effects and costs of communications tools.

Raising a Glass to the Folks Who Put a Union Label on California Wine Bottles.

If you can get together at the end of the month, raise your glass the United Farm Workers, the folks who unionized the grape and fruit fields of California. After decades of disappointment and lack of support from other unions, the UFW and its charismatic leaders Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez succeeded in establishing a union for migrant workers. Cesar’s birthday is March 31st. Arriba, abajo, afuera, adentro.

Word to the wise but not so optimistic: keep both your snow shovels and budget spreadsheets nearby.

2.21 Fluff Free News Digest

Headline: Corporate and Education Reform Funding Trends, Time for Big Funder Changes, SFF Info

We Are NOT on Mute!

FLUFF-FREE FUNDRAISING

February 12, 2021

“YOU’RE ON MUTE”

We love year-end lists: richest people, biggest donors, and the most popular words and phrases of the past year. Evidently, one of the top five new expressions from 2020 was “You’re on mute,” which touches on the big shift to new communications technology (aka zoom).

But more importantly, “You’re on mute” also echoes the challenge many smaller and newer organizations have embedding their stories into the minds and memories of funders, donors, and even their own folks.
Although George Floyd’s death may have opened a few new communications lines, during the pandemic, telling our stories is tougher than ever. Keeping our storytellers on task is critical.

This year’s #1 resolution: Stay off mute.

PEOPLE AND POSITIONS

In case you missed it, TONYA ALLEN was selected McKnight Foundation president, effective March 1, 2021. Here’s her LinkedIn page.

Local foundation program officers and NPO leaders are excited about having SOMEONE at the reins of the McKnight Foundation. And most folks feel Ms. Allen is a great choice – someone who can lead the Metro philanthropic community back to its old nationally innovative and risk-taking ways. Personally, I think the Allen-Nicholson combo will be fun to watch. My contacts at her old joint, the Skillman Foundation, have great things to say about her.

A lot of expectations. Here’s to Tonya’s success!

At the same time as we’re welcoming new leaders, we’re watching the departure of one of Minnesota’s iconic nonprofit leaders, Jon Pratt. He was founding ED of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and director of the original Philanthropy Project that conducted the first surveys of Minnesota foundations giving to women, BIPOC, and folks with low income. Although the surveys took place in the mid-1980s, they continue to affect local community-foundation power relations.

While some nonprofit trade associations in other states are rightfully known as “councils of non-content,” Jon and his folks showed how nonprofit trade associations can truly produce great things for their members and for all of us.

But Jon’s not going away. He’s going back to his original love –research as an MCN Research Fellow.

INTERESTING JOBS BOARD

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is looking or a Director of Effective Philanthropy.
Tory Burch Foundation (the purse lady) needs a Programs Manager. Big on women’s business support.
George Family Foundation is looking or a new president (deadline 3/15). Good foundation owned by two interesting philanthropists – Bill and Penny George. The new president will be a big part of the foundation’s remodeling, and perhaps will be part of planning for the post-Bill and Penny era. BTW, last year the foundation granted nearly $1 million, the largest amount in its history.

Fidelity Foundation needs a new Senior Research and Evaluation Officer. Interested in working for one of the largest donor advised funds in the country?

Foundation for Puerto Rico needs a Development Director. Based in NYC.
Eleanor Crook Foundation needs a Policy Director. A new and growing DC-based funder focused on children’s malnutrition worldwide. This is philanthropy, not fundraising.

Carroll Petrie Foundation needs both a Grants Manager and an Animals Program Officer, primarily working in New Mexico and the American Southwest. $13 million in giving for animals.

Levi Strauss Foundation is looking for a new Executive Director. One of the best corporate giving programs around, and one of the best low –income and immigrant funders.

Catholic Community Foundation of San Diego needs a new CEO. Lots of sailors, marines, and vets in San Diego, where it’s 70 degrees in March. Look out your window and think about that.

FUNDER NEWS

Lots of changes these days. It’s been our mantra for 20 years, but CHECK WITH THE FUNDER BEFORE YOU WRITE. If you can’t talk to the funder, talk to us (steve@accessphilanthropy.com).

Ciresi Walburn Foundation for Children: If you hire a public policy wonk as your first ED, we expect you’ll engage in public policy. Ciresi Walburn’s ED and former MINNCAN president, Daniel Sellers, is doing just that, helping the Foundation move more into public advocacy field – and not just billboards. Check the website. BTW, the foundation reports it will continue to grant $2 million or more this year.

U.S. Bank Community Possible: “In 2021, we are switching to an invitation-only grant application; moving away from three payout cycles, and instead making quarterly payouts to provide funding when it is needed most.”
Travelers Insurance Foundation: New deadlines. Cycle 1: February 8, 2021 – Culturally Enriched Communities Grantees. Cycle 2: April 5, 2021 – Academic & Career Success Grantees. Cycle 3: September 13, 2021 – Thriving Neighborhood Grantees.

The Walton Family Foundation has a new 5-year, $2 billion strategic plan. The three priorities remain the same (rivers/waters, K-12 reform, and NW Arkansas), but the “how” has changed, with very clear priorities. New “how and “who” examples: “Support for community leaders who are using market demand for sustainably produced products to improve agricultural practices and fisheries management;” “ elevating the voices of those affected by water policies;” “engage & empower diverse allies;” and “supporting entrepreneurs and innovators.”

Craig Newmark Philanthropies (Craig’s List) is also shifting priorities, including nationally-focused journalism, food, voter protection/registration, women in tech (no startups, please), vets, and families
Annie E. Casey Foundation is shifting emphasis to “Thrive by 25,” funding more young people AND YOUNG ADULTS (mid-teens to 24 years old). Annie isn’t giving up on families and children, but has decided that young adults are worth more focus.

CONSISTENCY WITH NATIONAL FUNDING TREND

The Annie Casey priority shift is consistent with one of the other big trends in institutional philanthropy. Workforce readiness (skills and “soft skills’) has become the #1 public priority for national funders. Let’s be straight. Workforce readiness is NOT the actual #1 funding recipient: it is the #1 public interest area.
This “public vs. actual” priority differential is also consistent with real time funder realities. For example, in the past, K-3 school reform, tobacco use – and more recently – racial and ethnic DEI, have all been the #1 public interest area, but not necessarily the #1 actual recipient of foundation funds.

What funders prefer, and what funders can deliver, are two different things. Old and revered actual funding priorities (e.g., colleges, hospitals, Big Arts) still hold strong and hold sway for most funders.
Hopefully, the changes we discussed after George Floyd died won’t be abandoned by Saint Patrick’s Day

SMALL FAMILY FOUNDATIONS WEBINAR

Access Philanthropy is teaming up with the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits to conduct our biennial Small Family Foundations webinar on April 8, from 9 to noon. There are 1,000 small family foundations in Minnesota awarding more than $90 million annually. Why pass on that opportunity?

COME THE SPRING, …

The funders we chatted with last fall and into December were clear: “things will be returning to normal in the Spring.” Many funders believed their boards (and staff) would be looking forward to the good old days, sometime around this March.

Many folks, however, are not happy to see the return to “normal” (see our last issue of Fluff-Free Fundraising). But clearly, many development directors and executive directors are hoping for more funding opportunities.
Like birds and blooms, the signs of recovering grantseeking are clear. Funders are getting lots more requests for meetings. AP is getting lots more requests for grant prospecting, and most important, grantwriters are at a premium! (AP is hiring a grantwriter: contact gail@accessphilanthropy.com).

THE PLACE FOR NEW PROSPECTS

Spring is coming, so you’re going to need new places to look for fundraising. AP’s digital assets phenom, Mary Anne Welch (maryanne@accessphilanthropy.com), has PRECISELY the lists of funding prospects you need at affordable prices.

MINNEAPOLIS/SAINT PAUL BUSINESS JOURNAL

Some of the Jon Pratt story came from the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Business Journal, a relatively small, but influential, online daily that has steadily increased both its overall readership and its coverage of nonprofit life. In the last couple months, two AP clients, Appetite for Change and Wildflyer Coffee, received coverage in the Journal. Every few days, there are articles on nonprofits large and small. See if they’re interested in you.
Besides nonprofit coverage, the Journal is also a good place to find profiles of corporate CEOs and C-Suite members (including grantmakers); lists of largest hospitals, grocery chains, etc.; news on personnel, marketing, and product shifts; new companies in town, and (if you’re into that sort of thing) the fanciest homes and offices in the Metro Area. It’s good place to browse on a weekly basis or more.
Mark Reilly, Managing Editor | mreilly@bizjournals.com | 612-288-2110

Dylan Thomas, Staff reporter | dthomas@bizjournals.com | 612-288-2106

FUNDING TRENDS – EDUCATION REFORM

Grantmakers for Education (GFE), a trade association of education philanthropists, interviewed 91 funders responsible for nearly $800 million in education funding to find out about their priorities. We followed up this piece by chatting with a few Minnesota and national education reform funders. This is what GFE (with the local angle from AP) found about Ed reform giving:

According to GFE, 70% of education reform funders are interested in economic inequity education reforms, but just 40% are interested in race/ethnic education reforms. Maybe economics is proxy language for Race/Ethnicity? But that’s not what education reform funders said in the survey.

Ed reform funders have increased their giving in academic fields related to education reform (departments of Education Reform, and academic research on the effects of lack of education reform).

Ed reform funders are thinking about the internal capacity of funding staff to understand education reform. Advancing an equity agenda requires both developing outward-facing strategies and engaging in internal learning, dialogue, and self-assessment to ensure that staff have a shared understanding of, and commitment to, an equity agenda.

Grantmaking for teacher/administrator preparation/advancement funding has declined precipitously in the last three years. Still lots of talk about BIPoC teachers, but $ isn’t there.

91 percent of respondents to the survey reported participating in some type of collaborative activity. All their ed reform program and funding priorities seem to require a collaborative effort with several other funders. It means there’s more money, but more policy by committee.

Three other shifts in education reform philanthropy
The % of ed reform funders supporting public policy funding has dropped to 53% of respondents (down from 62% in 2015)

On the other hand, there is a major increase in funding for early education, especially statewide system reform is the top priority for 1/3 of all ed reform funders
Major increases to family engagement programs and for the “whole learning” approach. Whole learning and family engagement are #1 and #2 in ed reform $$.

WINTER/PANDEMIC GOT YOU DOWN?
Us too. Take time to chat with one of the great senior advisors at Access Philanthropy. Thirty minutes just to chat about life, or specifically about philanthropy/fundraising life. Get out of the doldrums. (Contact gail@accessphilanthropy.com)or just call us 651-295-4684.

GIVING TUESDAY VS. DECEMBER 31

The online and mobile fundraising platform Classy reports it processed $44.4 million in donations on December 31. But their Giving Tuesday’s take was only $37.9 million, $6 million less than 12/31.
The lesson: Giving Tuesday is great FUNDRAISING tool, but December 31st is a great TAX tool. If death and taxes are the two inevitabilities, where does your group want to be each December?

NPO SECTOR JOBS

If you didn’t focus on December 31st, you can probably be forgiven. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the nonprofit sector lost 50,000 jobs in December alone Did you lose someone?

A FEW CORPORATE GIVING TRENDS FOR 2021

Our friends and teachers at Candid (formerly known as the Foundation Center and Guidestar) put out a short piece on corporate giving trends in 2021. See if anything here rings a bell for you.
Don’t just view corporations as grantmakers. Big businesses are getting lots of pressure to “be out there” on social/civic issues. Consequently, many corporate marketing teams are putting together socially relevant marketing and communications plans (Did you watch all the Superbowl commercials?). Can you work with them on something?

Relatedly, many corporations are getting push from their shareholders, officers, customers, and employees about systemic change. Seventy-three percent of customers say corporations should be involved in systemic change. Where do you come in?

Don’t EVER forget about sponsorships. Sponsorships are the easiest NPO-biz relationships for corporate officers to understand. “You get something. We get something.” Make it easy for bosses to understand and make it look AWESOME to the corporate big kids.

Think creatively. Cash register roundups (don’t take your change, give it to XYZ) are among the most robust fundraising tools in retail outlets right now. Just ask your local food co-ops. Are there other types of easy giving tools you can offer to retailers and manufacturers/distributors?

OUR LITTLE ADD-ON – BANKING

Keep up with the BANKS. The Twin Cities Metro Area (as well as Duluth, Rochester, St. Cloud) banking presence is growing like CRAZY. Lots of new bank branches in-city and in the suburbs. Almost all JPMorgan branches have a community relations person. Also, talk to branch managers. Most of them are looking to move up from being a branch manager to being somebody. Friends for life?

NOT JUST A DAY, NOT JUST A MONTH, BUT THROUGHOUT THE YEAR

Black history and Black culture are not an event, they are a big chunk of our lives. Nevertheless, if we could be together on one day – February 27th, we could celebrate Marian Anderson’s birthday
No question that we know Ms. Anderson best because the Daughters of the American Revolution denied her the opportunity to sing at Constitution Hall (she subsequently sang on the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday)

BUT she deserves to be known for so much more. She was the greatest singer of her age, doing opera, spirituals, American standards, and folk music from all over the world. All the while breaking barriers (and maybe a few wine glasses).

So even though we can’t be together, let’s raise a glass (or maybe an octave) to Marian Anderson, the greatest singer of her time. Period.

Know someone who needs fluff-free fundraising stuff like this?

Contact us

12.21 Fluff Free News Digest

Fluff-Free Fundraising

SERVING YOUR TIME?

Saint Peter of Pearly Gates fame met a woman at the applicant’s entrance. Saint Peter looks her up in the yearbook, and says, “You don’t belong here, you belong in hell.” She sighs and turns to go. But then Peter says, “However, I see you’ve spent your career in fundraising. So, we’ll call it time served. Welcome to heaven.”

PEOPLE AND POSITIONS

WHITE SMOKE FROM THE MCKNIGHT CHIMNEYS! – “The McKnight Foundation is thrilled to announce that

TONYA ALLEN will lead the Foundation as president, effective March 1, 2021. Allen comes to McKnight as a distinguished leader in philanthropy, most recently as president and CEO of The Skillman Foundation in Detroit. “Tonya is a dynamic and innovative leader who builds on the strength of McKnight’s long family history, values, and grantmaking,” said Noa Staryk, McKnight’s incoming board chair. “With her integrity, her brilliance, and her proven track record, we have complete confidence in Tonya as a trusted, capable, impactful leader who will move our mission forward.”

AP and our friends in Detroit agree that the Skillman Foundation, under the direction of Ms. Allen, is doing a great job in Detroit, during this particularly rough time. We look forward to watching her work with the Foundation and her new community. Welcome to an interesting community, Ms. Allen!

McKnight also announced SARAH CHRISTIANSEN is the new Program Director of its Midwest Climate & Energy program. A lot of different people at McKnight this year!

ACROSS THE METRO, BREMER PEOPLE STAY IN PLACE

In the Meantime, the Judge rules the Bremer trustees can keep their jobs. But NO MORE RAISES and no more “LET’S SELL THE PLACE” language. At least for now.

Nationally, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced JUSTIN GARRETT MOORE a new Humanities in Place program officer. Watch this combination of Humanities and Place-based grantmaking . It will continue to grow and many visual and performing arts groups in the Twin Cities will be involved.

Headwaters, Margaret Cargill, and In-Faith Community Foundation are looking for Associates.

Judge Shaun Floerke was named President/CEO of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. Access Philanthropy is particularly pleased with this choice, as we were involved in the search process. Good luck, Judge Floerke. It was great working with the DSACF folks.

Ciresi Walburn Foundation reports they granted more than $2 million in their first year as an independent grantmaking operation. For them, just as important was the messaging and reporting they have been doing on education inequities in Minnesota. Have you seen their billboards?

George Soros’ Open Society Foundation has a new incoming president – Mark Malloch-Brown. He’s a British Lord, journalist by trade, and has worked with the UN for years. He is old friends with George.

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation did a nice short piece on how significant program areas are now responding to DEI.

Performing Arts Program Director Emiko Ono and Program Officer Adam Fong on changes in our grantmaking strategy to better support equity and justice and help ensure the arts are an enduring part of our communities.
U.S. Democracy Program Officer Jean Bordewich on how the pandemic forced Congress to modernize, and what’s in store for the future.
Environment Program Director Jonathan Pershing and Program Officer Jane Flegal explain why the United States should build back better in a call for post-COVID, climate-forward policy published this summer.

THE SAINT PAUL TRIO PLAYS JANUARY 12

The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation and partners ― the F. R. Bigelow Foundation and Mardag Foundation ― will open the first cycle of 2021 grantmaking later this month. Grant apps for this cycle open on December 15 and close on January 12 at 3 p.m.

“All three Foundations will consider funding for general operating, program, and capital support. Because each foundation has unique funding priorities and geographic focus areas, we encourage you to visit all of the organizations’ websites to view the full grant guidelines and speak with a Grant Team member prior to submitting your application.”

MACKENZIE SCOTT (BEZOS)

Did you see Access Philanthropy’s special report by all-knowing Research Director, Jana Simmons’ on Mackenzie Scott’s giving, and the grantmaking patterns of mega-mega foundations? Thought-provoking stuff, whether you’re interested in mega-mega grantmakers or not. The report is on the Access Philanthropy website, and has picked up 3,000 viewers (so far) on LinkedIn.

WARREN BUFFETT, THE SAGE OF OMAHA

Interesting little news bit. Mr. Buffett (major donor to Gates Foundation and four mega family foundations) is now investing heavily in pharma (no big surprise), but at the same time, he is disinvesting in banking. Hmm. Does he know something we don’t? And if so, will what he knows affect the banking industry’s grantmaking?

SPEAKING OF SHIFTS IN BANKING – TCF IS … WHAT NOW?

The TCF parent company merged with another banking company, Huntington Bank of Columbus, Ohio. Two not-so-good pieces of news: 1) Huntington has a less-than-desirable charitable giving record, and 2) the HQ will be mostly in Columbus, Ohio. The name will be changed to Huntington. So, if you are expecting years of future giving from TCF, maybe you should make other plans. What about the stadium? (Huntington Field?)

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: SMALL FAMILY FOUNDATIONS’ TRENDS AND WORRIES

The National Center for Family Philanthropy recently hosted an online seminar on the future of family foundations. They made interesting observations that matched many of the concerns we hear from Minnesota family foundations, including questions, such as
What’s our role in the changes that our community and our near-in neighbors want to see happen (COVID-19 and DEI)?
What are our hesitations to engage in this work?
What fears do we have about moving forward with this work? Fear of failure? Fear of letting go of control? Fear of risk?
How fluid can we be about
o Use of capital (donor advised funds, loans, investments)?
o Funding processes and procedures (fluid deadlines, grant applications, general operating)?o Funding criteria (not just for high-level performing arts, but also for community arts)
Should we consider using different sets of decision-makers (outside trustees) or more than one funding program?
Should we collaborate with other funders, or partner with grantees (Microgrants model)?

Some researchers are finding funders, especially larger staffed foundations, are interested and may have already implemented changes in procedures and priorities. For most of the smaller foundations with whom we’ve engaged, there have been plenty of conversations, but no real changes just yet.

IN CASE YOU’RE STAYING UP AT NIGHT WONDERING…

PANTONE, the folks who determine which color will be most popular next year (there really is someone who does that), decided to have TWO colors next year, Illuminating (yellow) and Ultimate Grey.

NEED A QUICK FUNDERS LIST FOR YOUR YEAR-END APPEAL?

Access has more than 200 subscribable funder lists, from our most popular MN PLUS and MN Small Family Foundations, to smaller lists such as Funders in Minnetonka/Wayzata and Empowerment Funders. Drop our FLG (funder list guru) Mary Anne Welch an email. She can set you up for a reasonable low price!

NEED A QUICK YEAR-END ASK?

Walmart Foundation Deadline – December 31. “Walmart is accepting applications to its Community Grant Program. Through the program, grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded in support of local 501 (c) 3 organizations within the service area of individual Walmart or Sam’s Club stores for projects that benefit the community at large (e.g., food pantries, soup kitchens, or clothing closets). Eligible nonprofit organizations must operate on the local level and directly benefit the service area of the store from which they are requesting funding.” This is a big increase from the $250 gifts local stores once contributed. See the RFP

GIVING BY INTEREST AREAS

PEACE AND SECURITY — Peace and Security Funding Index, Candid, and the Peace and Security Funders Group report that the 24 interest areas under the Peace, Security, Conflict Resolution banner received $33 billion from the top 1,000 US funders, about 0.9% of all their grants. Top funders include Carnegie, MacArthur, Foundation to Promote Open Society, Hewlett, and Ford. Cybersecurity is a new and big area.

ARTS – The TRG Arts Group, an arts management consulting firm reports that its surveys show more people gave to the arts last year, but gave much smaller gifts. The firm believes this trend will continue through 2020 and into 2021.

CONCERNED ABOUT HOW YOU SAY IT? THAT’S LANGUAGE JUSTICE

Language justice is one of the key components of both racial and social justice. It is a particularly important issue in the fields of ableism and LGBTQI. How to Build Language Justice is a useful guide for building multilingual spaces in any community, organization, or movement. It‘s a 14-page booklet that provides some interesting ideas and rules of thumb.

IF WE WERE TOGETHER…

We could lift a glass on December 20 in honor of the United Nations’ International Human Solidarity Day. The UN says solidarity is one of the fundamental and universal values that should underlie relations between peoples. So even if we aren’t together, and even if we’re not so much in solidarity with other Americans and other peoples, we can still raise a glass to the end of 2020. Hear! Hear!

Thank you for “serving your time” with us.

Reflections from Steve Paprocki

I lived in the Castro neighborhood in San Francisco during the 1980’s. This was the time when the bathhouses were closing, people were having difficulty getting hotel reservations and rental cars, and anyone with a visible birthmark was considered doomed. Everyday – literally – one of our neighbors, co-workers or relatives died.
 
There was no way to stop it. No clear pathway to a cure and even if you stopped having sex, you still kissed, hugged, danced and shared food with people who maybe still be indiscriminately sexually active. 
 
This lasted for twenty years.  There were always glimmers of hope. But day to day, obituaries outnumbered the glimmers. 
 
Eventually, but not completely, life returned to normal.
 
Now, we have another nasty plague and although we often have glimmers of hope, the nasties usually outnumber the hopes.
 
Like the AIDS epidemic, It may take years and years for this nastiness to go away. But eventually life will return to normal and the nasties will decrease in proportion to the signs of hope and love.
 
Eventually, the change will happen. I know, I’ve been there. It will get better
 
Hang in there. Work for the cure.
 

Crowdfunding: The New, Old Way to Raise Money

Social media and the Internet have changed the way many organizations raise money. Sure, the tried and true fundraising methods such as holding large gala events and courting major donors are still used and for the most part still work. But as more of our everyday lives move into the digital world, it only makes sense that fundraising would follow suit.

One of the most rapidly growing forms of digital fundraising is crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is when individuals work collectively or act in a collective manner to pool their money and support organizations or causes they believe in. This probably sounds a lot like individual donor campaigns right? It’s similar but crowdfunding is done ONLINE and the timeframe to raise the money is usually pretty short, generally a couple of months, to add to the sense of urgency.

What we know today as crowdfunding is actually not a new idea. Praenumeration was the early precursor to the crowdfunding business model. It was a subscription business model used in the 17th century to finance book prints. The Statue of Liberty pedestal was also funded through an early form of crowdfunding. The American Committee for the Statue of Liberty ran out of funds for the pedestal in the mid-1880’s and more than 125,000 people contributed funds and raised over $100,000 in six months to finish the project at the urging of Joseph Pulitzer in his New York World newspaper.

The online aspect of today’s crowdfunding means that it’s accessible to virtually everyone. As of 2012 there were over 400 crowdfunding platforms and that number continues to grow. Adopt-A-Classroom, started in 1998, is often sited as one of the first crowdfunding websites. Other popular sites include Indiegogo, Kickstarter, RocketHub and Kiva. Causes and campaigns vary widely with the primary uses including funding for creative work such as blogging and journalism, music, independent films, and funding startup companies.

New initiatives are making their way into the crowdfunding world and have made headlines in recent years. In 2012, the New Era Colorado Foundation raised over $170,000 on Indiegogo to fund a campaign against a debt-limit ballot measure that they said was misleading and really just an attempt by Xcel Energy to kill efforts to create a local electric utility based on renewable energy. Their initial fundraising goal of $40,000 was quickly met and they raised it to $75,000 then $150,000. Their compelling story and creative use of social media and multi-media sources led to a hugely successful fundraising effort. Even “Main Street” has seen success with crowdfunding. Windom Minnesota, a small town with 4,500 residents in the southwest corner of the state, recently raised over $80,000 through Kickstarter for a new digital projector they needed to keep their Main Street movie theatre in business.

The accessibility of today’s online crowdfunding makes it an attractive option for organizations and causes of all sorts and sizes. But just like any other fundraising tool, if you’re going to do it, make sure you do it right. Take the time to research the various websites and platforms that offer crowdfunding services. Some charge flat rates, others charge base rates plus transaction fees and some are even all or nothing meaning that if you don’t meet your fundraising goal, then you don’t get any of the funds.

It’s a good time to add a new fundraising technique to your tool belt. Crowdfunding raised $2.66 billion in 2012 (up from $0.89 billion in 2010) and continues to grow. Now is the time to jump into the digital fundraising world – with your eyes open of course!

Tax Advice For Beating Hearts

As the tax filing deadline looms a little more than one month ahead of us here in the U.S., many people are making plans for their tax refunds. Articles with titles such as “9 Ways To Use A Tax Refund” and “How to Put Your Tax Refund to Good Use” are popping up everywhere from social media sites to daily newspapers and monthly magazines. The advice given in all of these articles is generally tried and true…pay down your debt, invest, buildup an emergency savings account, etc… You’ve heard this before. It’s the same advice we hear every year, and for good reason. It’s sound advice.

It’s good to be careful and prudent. It’s important to act rationally and responsibly. But it’s also important to be kind and generous. And these are the virtues that are excluded from the “what to do with your money” lists every year. At a time when many families are struggling and organizations that offer basic services such as food, shelter and health services are experiencing record demand, would it be too much to ask that we appeal to the better angels of our nature and actively engage in local philanthropy?

An unexpected or higher than expected tax refund of any amount is an opportunity to help those around us. Use this as an opportunity to teach your children about giving. Use this to help a family that you know is going through a difficult time. Use this to strengthen the very foundation of our shared communities. Think of it like this: you can’t lose what you never had.