News and Insights

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 »

Shifting the Balance for Grassroots Funding

07/18/2016

Janelle Choi, Momentum Fellow | How do you measure the growth of the human spirit and the empowerment of formerly isolated and frightened communities? What numbers can quantify this, when so much of the work is relational and transformational, rather than transactional? How do you flip the dynamic so that communities can set their own processes and agendas on the issues that matter most to them, rather than dictating those initiatives from the funding side? After years of working with brutally oppressed ethnic groups in Myanmar, I am learning a tremendous amount about grassroots organizing infrastructure as Marguerite Casey Foundation's program fellow through Philanthropy Northwest's Momentum Fellowship. Similar to what I experienced in southeast Asia, grassroots organizations in rural America are seriously underfunded, yet staffed by some of the most committed and courageous people I’ve met. more »

Fighting Hatred and Violence with Love and Resilience

07/11/2016

Kim Sogge, Momentum Fellow | My life, the work I do and the work of Pride Foundation will be forever changed by last month’s shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida that resulted in the devastating loss of 49 lives. This act of violence has instilled fear across LGBTQ communities, especially among people of color, affirming that we are unable to live openly and genuinely in the places that we had considered safe. Through all these challenges and heartbreak, I’ve found myself reflecting on the daily acts of inspiration that fuel my work. I am inspired by the strength and compassion of my colleagues at Pride Foundation, who continue to remind me what it looks like to show up and be seen. I am inspired by the courageous and tenacious LGBTQ community in Oregon. I am inspired by my peers in Philanthropy Northwest's Momentum Fellowship, for their support and leadership, and fierce and unwavering commitment to equity. I am inspired by the resilience of our LGBTQ community — that we will respond with love and continue to build bridges across difference. more »

Dreaming of New Worlds, Then Making Them Real

05/19/2016

Elizabeth Posey, Momentum Fellow | When I was seven years old, I spent hours hanging upside down from the large cottonwood tree in my front yard during those short summer months, imagining different worlds to go with the shapes of the clouds. During our endless Anchorage winters, I still spent hours outdoors, building whole new worlds out of snow. That little black girl grew up enraptured by the blue majesty of the snow-capped mountains and the sheer vastness of the state that fueled her sense of imagination, nurturing the idea that more was possible. Now my interest in alternate realities is expressed through my work, at the intersection of philanthropy, public policy and public health. At Marguerite Casey Foundation, which I joined as one of Philanthropy Northwest's Momentum Fellows last fall, we build movements by funding organizations that ensure low-income communities have an equal political and economic voice through issue advocacy, organizing and leadership development. Only by ensuring that change is centered on the people most impacted by the inequities will we have a collective opportunity to transform our shared reality. 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 »

Home Sweet Home: Working on Equity in Affordable Housing

03/17/2016

Sharon Wade Ellis, Momentum Fellow | When I was a kid, I spent summers with my grandparents in their old and drafty home on Chicago's South Side. Old as it was, that home offered refuge, and that garden provided more than nourishment: together, house and garden tied the family closely to their community. They cherished its security and affordability. In the minds of my grandparents, the home and everything associated with it was theirs — but they didn't own it, and therefore knew they could lose it one day. They were lucky. That place — their place — left me with a certainty: everyone has a right to a stable and affordable home. I carry my passion forward to the work I do at Meyer Memorial Trust, finding relief for my nagging ache of wanting to help people access housing that meets their needs. 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 »

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