News and Insights

Welcoming Our Third Cohort of Momentum Fellows

10/21/2019

Mares Asfaha | We have officially kicked-off our third cohort of Momentum Fellows! We are so proud to have such dynamic leaders in this cohort and in the philanthropic sector.

Building on the successes and lessons from cohorts one and two, we’ve made exciting changes to the Momentum Fellowship, like expanding the program to include people already working with their organizations, but still consider themselves new to philanthropy. We’re excited to support this group of talented folks who bring a wealth of expertise not just from their lived experiences, but also from their previous professional work prior to entering philanthropy. This third cohort of fellows features artists, youth development workers and community organizers. They represent a wide range of experiences and valuable expertise that they will bring to our sector. more »

Learning Alongside Each Other: Momentum Fellows Reflect on Philanthropy, Equity and Leadership

09/23/2019

Mijounga Chang, Zeeba Khalili, Denise Luk, Ami Patel, Tonisha Toler and Lauren Waudé | Guest Contributors | The Momentum Fellowship Program, hosted by Philanthropy Northwest, provides opportunities for individuals from communities underrepresented in philanthropy, particularly communities of color, to join the philanthropic field. The program, which is designed primarily as a professional development experience, offers individuals a robust learning opportunity through a full-time position at a foundation and a suite of activities coordinated by Philanthropy Northwest including executive coaching, leadership development opportunities and access to a cohort with peer fellows from other participating foundations in the Pacific Northwest. more »

Reversing the Trend: From Dismantling Islamophobia to Championing Vibrant Communities

08/28/2019

Ankita Patel | Aneelah Afzali and Masih Fouladi are co-contributors to this post

When talking about how historical oppression continues to impact communities today, it’s difficult to understand where to begin or how to advance our work. At Philanthropy Northwest, our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion framework and commitment helps us to understand when and how to enter the conversation with our communities.

Our Muslim communities — which are some of the fastest-growing in the country — are subjected to oppression, discrimination and indignities, otherwise known as Islamophobia. Muslims encounter these acts of injustice through a variety of individual and institutional mechanisms, such as experiencing bias incidents and hate crimes, facing discrimination when applying for jobs or securing housing, seeing children and loved ones bullied at school or being categorically restricted or banned from travel and targeted for surveillance. At its worst, Islamophobia has led to deadly consequences, not just for Muslims, but for other communities as well. more »

Advancing Equitable Evaluation

07/11/2019

Nancy Sanabria | As we continue to explore strategies to support the field in incorporating equity in their practices, we are excited to announce that we are partnering with several other philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) to advance the learning and practice of equitable evaluation among our members. This new collaborative, known as Associations Advancing Equitable Evaluation Practices (AAEEP), supports the important equity-focused work to which many of our members are already committed and striving to implement. Our joint agreement as AAEEP partners states our commitment to helping our networks understand equitable evaluation and to digging deeper into how to create change in our own organizations. more »

The 2020 Census: An Individual and Collective Journey

04/12/2019

Ankita Patel | Philanthropy Northwest is actively engaged in partnering with members and stakeholders across our region to ensure a robust and accurate count during the 2020 Census. Personally, I am incredibly excited about the launch of the Washington Census Equity Fund, and all the work that has gone into ensuring that communities can mobilize quickly and efficiently by our philanthropic partners. Now we are pleased to announce the opening of the request for proposals to apply for census funding in Washington state. more »

Foundations Forge Ahead: DEI and Investing

11/26/2018

Rosalie Sheehy Cates | Behind every great foundation is… a lot of money. We know those funds have to be invested to generate returns that pay for grants and operations. But can the money at the heart of the foundation business model be responsive to a foundation’s important values of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)? The answer to this question is yes. You can read all about it our new report that includes interviews with executives at eight large foundations that have embraced organization-wide DEI efforts. more »

My Journey to Philanthropy Northwest

04/04/2017

Anbar Mahar Sheikh, Research Analyst | How does a Southern California native end up moving to Seattle during the rainiest winter on record? In my national search, I found that Seattle held exactly what I was looking for: a thriving community of nonprofits and foundations. Specifically, I found my calling when Philanthropy Northwest opened the research analyst position for The Giving Practice, its national consulting team. So much so, that my husband and I packed our bags from Dallas, Texas — where we had been living for the last few years — and moved across the country for me to take this opportunity. Getting to Philanthropy Northwest has been a long journey in other ways, too. more »

What We Can Do About Environmental Philanthropy's White Privilege

10/24/2016

Marcelo Bonta, Momentum Fellow | Environmental philanthropy has a big problem. It’s not our lack of racial diversity, especially at the executive and trustee level. It’s not the lack of funding directed towards organizations led by people of color. It’s not the lack of funding for diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, despite many foundations now talking about it. It’s not the lack of investment in established leaders of color and a professional pipeline for emerging leaders of color. It’s not the underfunding of general support and capacity-building. It’s not the assumption that people of color don’t care about the environment; it’s not the lack of acknowledgement that people of color support environmental issues at higher rates than whites. It’s not the hiring of average white men instead of overqualified people of color. All those are simply the byproducts of the big problem: white privilege. And until environmental philanthropy acknowledges and successfully addresses its white privilege, sadly, our planet will continue to suffer. more »

Swimming With the Funders

10/11/2016

Kesley Potdevin, Momentum Fellow | “Hi! I’m a member of Glacier Swim Club. I’m collecting pledges for our annual Aqualaps fundraiser. This year, I’m swimming 200 laps. You can make a lump sum or pledge a certain amount per lap to support the team. If you pledge 1 cent a lap, you'll donate $2, if you pledge 5 cents a lap, you'll donate $10, if you pledge 10 cents a lap, you'll donate $20.” A few weeks ago, this fundraising spiel suddenly popped back into head after a 12-year absence. I had just accepted a position as a program associate of grants and impact at The Alaska Community Foundation after two years at Rasmuson Foundation, most recently as one of Philanthropy Northwest's Momentum Fellows. While I knew aspects of my job would be similar — helping disperse grant money around Alaska — the process would be dramatically different as I shifted from a private foundation to a community one. But it turns out that all those years of fundraising for my youth swim team had sneakily taught me about nonprofits, long before I knew anything about grants strategies and governance structures. more »

Why Philanthropy Needs Community Organizers

08/25/2016

Garland Yates, Community Democracy Workshop | At Community Democracy Workshop, we work with residents to put them in more powerful positions to help change their communities. With institutional stakeholders, this community democracy approach might be unsettling, but we have to help them feel comfortable about walking into a process that potentially is confrontational. We must concentrate on making space around the table safe. Not false or phony, but safe. Residents and representatives from institutions will need to be honest and frank with each other and address real issues, but in a productive manner. We must use our influence and role to help create that kind of environment so that our communities can have the power and capacity to see the changes they want to see. more »

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