An upgrade in giving means philanthropy for all
Whether you are looking for the latest tips on how to make more impact through your giving, simple definitions to complicated philanthropic terms, or ideas for how to get your whole family involved in charity, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen’s new book Giving 2.0 has something for anyone with a generous spirit.
Using personal stories about individual philanthropists, as well as her own charitable giving, Arillaga-Andreessen argues that “a philanthropist is anyone who gives anything –time, money, experience, skills, and networks—in any amount to create a better world.” While many people think that the term philanthropist only applies to those who give away millions of dollars, we at CAAP agree with the above definition; whether you give $5 to support victims of a natural disaster, volunteer at your local soup kitchen, or share your skills and experience with a nonprofit at no charge, you are making a difference in the lives of others.
Giving 2.0 offers advice and personal testimonies related to a variety of topics including: volunteering and serving on nonprofit boards; new trends in philanthropy such as giving circles, micro-lending, and social entrepreneurship; and various philanthropic vehicles such as donor-advised funds, community foundations, and family foundations. Each chapter offers helpful tips at the end, such as specific ways to engage your family members in charitable giving, or a list of questions to ask organizations you’re thinking of volunteering for or donating to. While we would have liked to see more about identity-based funds and ethnic philanthropy in the book, we recommend Giving 2.0 as a great read whether you are new to giving or have been practicing philanthropy for years.
For philanthropic thoughts and tips related to the Arab American community, check out CAAP’s Guide to Arab American Giving and Workbook.
A flourishing donor-advised fund
Part of a Philanthropy A-Z series
Often thought of as charitable giving bank accounts, donor-advised funds allow philanthropists to channel resources through their local community foundation, financial institution, or identity-based giving program like CAAP to causes that matter most to them. A donor-advised fund requires care and cultivation to flourish - just like any garden plant requires water and sunlight. The donor establishes a fund with a set amount of money (or stocks, or property), receiving a tax-deduction at that time. Then, at any point in the future, the donor recommends certain amounts be directed to 501(c)3 organizations of the donor’s choice. The money directed to a nonprofit from a donor-advised fund is called a grant.
But before that happens, community foundation donor officers perform due diligence on the recommended nonprofit organizations to make sure that they are in compliance with government regulations. With our plant analogy, you might think of this as weeding and pruning the garden.
While many gardeners grow flowers and plants purely for pleasure, reaping a garden’s vegetable harvest is also a great reason to cultivate plant life. In the context of a donor-advised fund, the garden harvest comes in the form of tax benefits - as well as the knowledge that, like a green-thumb sows and grows, you are helping to nurture programs and projects that make a difference for our planet and its people.
One of our current fund holders, Mona Sahouri, likes the ease and peace of mind that comes with housing her and her husband Saed’s fund at the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP):
Our CAAP fund organizes our giving and helps us to strategically plan our giving trends for the future years. It gives us an idea of just how much we give and to which causes we tend to give more - not to mention the tax benefits as we often used to make donations and forgot to report them.
Additionally, by giving through their fund at CAAP, Mona and Saed are leveraging their charitable giving with others to tell a powerful story of Arab American philanthropy in this country.
The specifics for setting up donor-advised funds vary depending on the institution that houses the fund. We encourage you to learn more about the many benefits of setting up a website. Keeping your donor-advised garden well stocked will allow your charitable impact - and legacy - to grow, sometimes forever.at CAAP by visiting our
Photo courtesy Arwyn J.M.
The D5 Coalition: Building diversity, equity, and inclusion
Who is working to increase diversity and inclusion in the philanthropy field? D5, a coalition that includes 18 foundations and philanthropic support organizations, seeks to change the face of philanthropy in America. The coalition’s most recent report, State of the Work 2012, builds on previous data that suggests foundation staff and giving patterns do not reflect the diversity present in the U.S.
Thanks to the efforts of foundation executives and staff, it seems the pattern is reversing for the better. More foundations are putting greater emphasis on hiring diverse professionals, and some organizations, such as the Council of Michigan Foundations and Philanthropy New York, have launched learning initiatives in their states to understand more about the diverse communities they serve, including Arab and Muslim Americans.
In addition to their other work (which includes defining best practices in diversifying philanthropy and performing outreach efforts), over the next few years D5 will be building the capacity of “population-focused funds (PFFs)” that concentrate their efforts on specific cultural groups, strengthening donors and enhancing giving in diverse communities through their Philanthropic Inclusion Fund. The Center for Arab American Philanthropy is pleased to partner with D5 in this initiative, and is privileged to receive a $10,000 grant that will further our mission of advancing Arab American philanthropy.
Population-focused funds have immense potential but don’t yet receive the foundation support they need to grow and become sustainable. Diverse donors need greater recognition and visibility to increase their connections to fellow donors, key networks, and the larger field of philanthropy as well as to debunk the myth that diverse communities lack the ability, philanthropic culture, or resources to attack problems affecting their communities.
- Prioritizing diversity: Why ethnic funds matter (Philanthropy in AAction)
- Arab American giving: Diverse voices informing philanthropy (Philanthropy in AAction)
Foundation event represents U-turn for youth opportunities
Concerned with issues of youth opportunity and racial equity in Michigan, the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) hosted State of Opportunity? The Road Ahead for Michigan on March 27. The Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) was in attendance, representing the Arab American community while the convening tackled structural racism in philanthropy and “cradle to career” grantmaking.
The Aspen Institute defines structural racism as “a system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing ways to perpetuate racial group inequity. It identifies dimensions of our history and culture that have allowed privileges associated with “whiteness” and disadvantages associated with “color” to endure and adapt over time.” The March 27 gathering focused on the “dimension” of philanthropy.
State of Opportunity speakers advocated for more holistic grantmaking practices, those that from “cradle to career” (birth through adulthood) support the growth of healthy, skilled, and civically engaged youth. This includes looking at problems that face our youth (such as infant mortality, unemployment, and welfare) through a lens of racial equity. In other words, grantmakers need to take into consideration the concerns that affect minority populations, as these populations generally have higher rates of social challenges.
However, the mission of the convening was not to focus on negative rhetoric, but to discuss grant-makers’ visions for a healthy future in the state of Michigan. Attendees agreed that foundations need to put emphasis on communicating stories about the “bright spots” - the organizations, families, and individuals we positively impact through funding and partnerships. In addition, four youth grant-makers from various foundations in Michigan were in attendance, sharing stories about the impact they have in their communities through grant-making. Their positivity was contagious and they truly have the potential to be the future leaders of philanthropy.
For more resources and information about the convening, please visit the State of Opportunity website.
- State of Opportunity: The Road Ahead for Michigan – A Call to Action, Examining Access and Equity for Michigan’s Young People, Cradle to Career (Council of Michigan Foundations)
- Connecting Michigan’s Community Foundations (Philanthropy in AAction)
- Raising Money From Arab Americans (Philanthropy in AAction)
“Relocalizing” global philanthropy
Who knows their community best? Many would argue the answer lies in community members themselves. The latest report from the C.S. Mott Foundation and the Aga Khan Foundation explores the rising trend of community-based philanthropy, evident in the growing numbers of community foundations not just domestically, but globally.
For a sector characterized by grants and gifts from wealthy tycoons and gargantuan foundations (especially in the United States), this trend represents a dramatic shift to democratize and “relocalize” philanthropy: to make it of the community, by the community and for the community. The “bottom-up” approach works in conjunction with a growing desire for transparent effectiveness in philanthropy. Working on a smaller scale enables flexibility when determining what is working, which is especially beneficial in our current economic state.
Community philanthropy lies at the forefront of efforts to advance civil society (notably in the Middle East with the Dalia Association in Palestine, and the Community Foundation of South Sinai) and to tackle local issues such as poverty, racism, and gender inequality. This model emphasizes the importance of local people and individuals putting their own money toward developing long-term assets for their communities, and enables the creation of hybrid forms of philanthropy that do not fit within a specific paradigm, such as the Center for Arab American Philanthropy. CAAP is based on a community foundation model, but serves Arab American donors across the country rather than focusing on a particular geographic region.
The growth and development of community-based foundations reflects the impact that global movements have on neighborhoods, and also positions the community philanthropy sector to become a real force for social change worldwide.
- Community philanthropy? (devex.com)
- Meditating on the “gift economy” (Philanthropy in AAction)
- Grantmaking from the grassroots (Philanthropy in AAction)
Grantmaking from the grassroots
Big money often gets big attention. That is, when millions are doled out by wealthy individuals, corporations, or foundations the amounts are plastered across national headlines. However, little is ever reported on the outcome of these large investments, and whether or not the investment lives up to expectations.
Grassroots grantmaking seeks to balance out some of the flaws inherent in sweeping, headline-making, philanthropic gestures. Following up on a recent webinar on grassroots grantmaking, the Alliance blog attempts to define best practices for this form of funding:
- Grassroots grants are generally small (less than $5,000). Although the term “microgrants” might imply that small money achieves small impact, this type of grant often allows organizational innovation and flexibility.
- Grassroots grantmakers understand that in a strained economy, non-financial assistance is crucial for achieving maximum impact with small organizations - and human capital will continue to grow in importance as the funding climate stagnates.
- Investing in participatory partnerships with the community and grantees is a cornerstone of grassroots grantmaking. Funds from CAAP’s general grantmaking are crowdsourced from members of the Arab American community, and distributed according to who is achieving the greatest impact with available resources.
For more on grantmaking from the grassroots, this guide gives a pretty comprehensive overview. The Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP) invests in grassroots partner organizations working to create a voice for Arab Americans through arts, culture, and human services. In addition, the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) provides non-financial capacity-building assistance to many of CAAP’s grantees. Learn more about these organizations, and view our latest grants here.
- Creating a definition of “good” grassroots grantmaking (Alliance)
- Five ways microgrants help fund journalism (International Journalists’ Network)
Photo courtesy Flickr user HarshPatel;Photographer
CAAP featured in a new report from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on identity-based philanthropy
A new report by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, “Cultures of Giving: Energizing and Expanding Philanthropy by and for Communities of Color,” documents a philanthropic shift in America toward “identity-based philanthropy.” A sector that was once exclusively elite and homogeneously white is becoming ever more democratic, diverse and rooted in community. The report chronicles the beginnings of CAAP as a leader in establishing Arab Americans as strategic philanthropists and community builders.
From 2005-2008 the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) granted funds to ACCESS as part of its Cultures of Giving program, for the purpose of establishing the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP), the only organization of its kind to engage Arab Americans in strategic philanthropy. Arab Americans have experienced a population increase of almost 40 percent since 2000, swelling to 3.5 million. Maha Freij, founder of CAAP, says that the Arab American community, which has a buying power of more than $100 billion (“Cultures of Giving, p. 5) “is an untapped donor resource, but we’re becoming more sophisticated in our approaches to it.” With the WKKF funds, ACCESS was also able to strengthen capacity-building assistance for member organizations of NNAAC, the National Network for Arab American Communities.
Manal Saab, CAAP Advisory Board member and 2010 recipient of the prestigious Russell G. Mawby Award for Philanthropy, is also featured in the report. She says, “as an immigrant, you want that American dream, you want to claim one or two stitches of the fabric that makes this society so great. But you have to make sure it’s passed on by doing your part. To hold your rightful place as an American citizen is to give back.”
The full report is available for download here. Read more about CAAP and our board member Manal Saab on pages 37 & 63.
- Raising Money from Arab Americans - Recap
- W.K. Kellogg Foundation issues new study showing demographic changes in giving
- Communities of color find more prominent role within philanthropy sector
Giving Circles: A Small Amount, For A Larger Impact
Part of a Philanthropy A-Z series
There are instances where a downturned economy can offer new and innovative solutions to issues that we face. Even though many of us are tightening our own wallets, social problems and worthy causes do not decline. Giving circles are a growing form of philanthropy that offer solutions to social causes, while not financially overburdening those that want to support those causes.
Members of giving circles collectively pool their funds, learn about community needs, and together determine where and how their gifts are granted. A giving circle’s strength is in the collective power of its resources and ideas, not in one person solely.
Inspired by Oseola McCarty’s generous gift to Southern Mississippi University, a group of women in New Orleans formed the Zawadi giving circle. Remarkably, McCarty was not a wealthy woman, and gave away a large portion of her life savings to a cause that she deemed worthy. Zawadi continues to replicate the spirit of McCarty’s generosity, by requiring that members contribute a minimum of $100 a year to their collective pool, and to causes of their choosing, such as aiding victims of Hurricane Katrina.
At CAAP, the Bustan Al-Funun giving circle was recently formed by a group of women interested in supporting causes that present Arab world or Arab American arts in the United States. For more information on the benefits of giving circles, or to inquire about starting one through CAAP, please visit our website.
Photo Credit: Time.com
Debunking Grant Delusions
Feeling fuzzy about why your organization is lacking funding success? About.com has provided us with some handy hints about how nonprofits can increase their grantwriting savvy.
- Getting a grant:
Quick fix. Finding and securing your first grant is like finding and securing your first job. It requires a lot of time and patience. However, if you keep on keeping on, you are much more likely to find success.
Unique form of fundraising. Networking, networking, and more networking. The better your relationship with your potential funders, the more favorably they will view your organization during grantmaking season.
- Bad economy =
no grants. Maybe larger foundations may be doling out less in grants than before the economic crash, but that may mean that you should diversify your funding base. Look to smaller and mid-size foundations!
- Grants don’t give us the
operational support we need. More and more foundations are shifting from solely funding programs, to providing more overhead support. In fact, CAAP did just that with our grants in August!
- No shoulder-rubbing =
no funding. Don’t worry if you don’t know Melinda Gates personally. Instead, you may well have a board or staff member at a foundation. Work that connection!
- We have
no access to grants. With a little creativity, (using the library or free databases online), you won’t have to pay in order to attain grants featured on expensive databases.
Confounding! Tell your story and follow the guidelines. That’s pretty much it. No grant writerson staff!! You’d be surprised who will turn out to be capable to perform this crucial task. You can engage volunteers or find a grant writer who would be willing to train members of your organization.
Be sure to check out resources like Guidestar’s Anatomy of a Grant, and keep checking our blog for more grant-related news!
Photo credit: DNetworks
Center for Arab American Philanthropy
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