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Partnering with Community for Better Philanthropy

by Seema Shah

Jan 1, 2020

This paper takes a closer look at how national foundations and large foundations are engaging those directly impacted by inequity, including communities of color and people from low-income communities, in their decision-making.

Based on a review of the literature, internal documents shared by foundations, 31 interviews with philanthropic thought leaders, staff from national and/or large foundations, staff from smaller, exemplar foundations, as well as individuals who represent directly impacted communities, this paper examines the unique context of large and national foundations, including the ways in which their size, scale, and orientation pose challenges and create opportunity for meaningful community engagement.

This paper also explores the institutional and individual competencies needed to do this work well and offers recommendations for getting started.