News and Insights

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 »

Virtual Roundtable: Momentum Fellowship CEOs

07/19/2016

Our "virtual roundtable" interviews feature a group of leaders from across our network who work on a common issue area, illuminating the diversity of place-based approaches to the shared topic. We kicked this series off in February with the CEOs of five healthcare conversion foundations, then continued in March with the Pacific Northwest's seven statewide nonprofit associations, April with four arts funders, May with five rural funders, and June with four philanthropic banks. For July, we interviewed five CEOs of foundations supporting our Momentum Fellowship, a leadership program designed to expand our sector's diversity, equity and inclusion. more »

Catching Up With the Momentum Fellows

04/29/2016

Seven months after we first met our inaugural cohort of Momentum Fellows, a group of emerging leaders working to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in philanthropy, we continue to be blown away by their insights on our blog and in the field. Leaders at their host foundations — Marguerite Casey Foundation, Northwest Health Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Community Foundation, Pride Foundation and Rasmuson Foundation — have also expressed great excitement with this work, which developed out of our first CEO cohort on diversity, equity and inclusion. Before their April meeting at Marguerite Casey Foundation, we asked each of the nine Momentum Fellows to share their thoughts on this prompt: What have you learned about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in philanthropy since becoming a Momentum Fellow — and what do you hope to learn/achieve in the rest of our time together? more »

Why Philanthropy Should Care About Black Male Achievement

02/29/2016

Dalian Yates, Momentum Fellow | Foundation funding explicitly designated to benefit black men and boys has increased in recent years, rising from $28.6 million in 2010 to nearly $64.6 million in 2012. We must continue this trend. We know what works. However, the majority of philanthropy's work falls outside the framework of a black male initiative or portfolio. As such, work that claims to serve black males but does not make a targeted effort to reach them often works well for every population except black males. I joined Philanthropy Northwest's Momentum Fellowship to do more for a growing movement actively seeking solutions. Here are my five recommendations for the philanthropic sector: more »

Equity in Grantmaking: Walking the Walk

01/19/2016

Marcelo Bonta, Momentum Fellow | Pursuit of equity in grantmaking is the reason I joined the Momentum Fellowship. It’s a priority of the fellows, it’s a priority of Philanthropy Northwest and it’s a priority for Meyer Memorial Trust — the Oregon foundation hosting me and two other Momentum Fellows for the next 20 months. Overall, my experience has exceeded my expectations, and I feel that I have been set up for success, which leads me to the following question: Why is Meyer succeeding at diversity, equity and inclusion? And what can other organizations learn from this example? more »

A Shared Responsibility for Helping Diverse Communities Thrive

12/17/2015

Eduardo Moreno, Momentum Fellow | Every time I was sick as a child, my mom would make her way over to the medicine cabinet and I knew it was going to be a couple of days in bed with the VapoRub and Broncolin treatment. This was a common home remedy among Mexican families, and one I sometimes catch myself using today. There was no escaping la familia and the Latino community that helped shape all stages of my early education, spirituality, and even my health practices. It was this community that pushed me and kept me on track to become the first one in my family to attend a four-year university. As my learning around philanthropy and funding at the intersections of health and education continues, I know that if we work collaboratively, and support families and communities to lead this work, they will in turn ensure that each student is emotionally and physically healthy, engaged, supported and challenged. more »

Momentum Fellows: Impressive First Impressions

10/09/2015

Nicole Neroulias Gupte, Communications Manager | I recently had the pleasure of meeting the inaugural cohort of our Momentum Fellowship, Philanthropy Northwest's program aimed at preparing professionals from underrepresented communities for careers in philanthropy. These nine fellows bring a tremendous set of skills and experiences to the table, in addition to their diverse backgrounds. An initiative like this can't solve philanthropy's diversity, equity and inclusion "pipeline problem" all by itself, but as our board member Luz Vega-Marquis of Marguerite Casey Foundation says: "We have to start somewhere." From a communications perspective, the Momentum Fellowship also gives us fresh eyes on the art and business of philanthropy at six Pacific Northwest foundations: Meyer Memorial Trust, Marguerite Casey Foundation, Northwest Health Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation, Pride Foundation and Rasmuson Foundation. more »

Introducing the Momentum Fellows

09/23/2015

Sindhu Knotz, Partner, The Giving Practice | Nine accomplished individuals from incredibly diverse backgrounds are coming together at Philanthropy Northwest this week for the first cohort meeting of our Momentum Fellowship. What began as a conversation in one of our peer learning cohorts on diversity, equity and inclusion is now becoming reality: a program that prepares professionals from underrepresented communities, particularly communities of color, for successful careers in the philanthropic sector through mentoring, networking and professional development opportunities. more »

Gaining Momentum: A New Fellowship Program Launches

04/14/2015

Sindhu Knotz, Partner, The Giving Practice | We are excited to announce that Philanthropy Northwest has launched the Momentum Fellowship, a program designed to prepare professionals from underrepresented communities, particularly communities of color, for successful careers in the philanthropic sector through professional development, networking and mentoring opportunities. more »