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How Philanthropy Support Organizations Understand and Advance Community Power Building

by Melinda Fine; Molly Schultz Hafid

Sep 22, 2020

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and heightened global protest responsive to racial injustice, funders are increasingly investing in strategies to build power within communities of color and other traditionally marginalized groups. Today's heightened interest builds on work many funders have pursued for some time, often supported by the regional, issue-focused, and/or constituency-focused Philanthropy Support Organizations (PSOs) of which they are members.

This new report captures insights from interviews conducted in Fall 2019 with PSO leaders who describe how their diverse members understand what it means to build community power; the perceived strengths and challenges of supporting this kind of work; and perspectives on how it may leverage foundation mission. The report also includes an extensive resource library of relevant literature and tools funders may turn to for this work. Support for this research was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's project, Lead Local: Exploring Community-Driven Change and the Power of Collective Action.