I began 2022 taking comfort in the seemingly little — but deeply meaningful things — a hug from my son, a good laugh with friends, a walk after school drop-off. These comforts help me ground myself, as I set my intentions for the year and for our collective work at NFG.
When I became NFG’s President in May 2020, one of my commitments to you and our work was to clarify and strengthen this organization’s purpose and strategy — to make clear what we believe and our intentions for how we will shift philanthropy to be more accountable to BIPOC and low-income communities.
We know that this is a critical time for philanthropy. More people are amassing wealth, leading to more billionaires entering philanthropy and the creation of more DAFs and private foundations. There continues to be wealth hoarding among individual and foundation donors. Many foundations persist in adhering to a minimum 5% payout while endowments continue to grow. And we are seeing some positive shifts with foundations spending down the assets they’ve been holding and shifting their investment practices. Many more funders are centering trust, community power building, and decentralized decision-making in their grantmaking.
Given this context, NFG’s board, staff, and the funders who serve as our program co-chairs spent much of 2021 getting clear on how NFG is working to change the conditions of our sector.
We revisited our organization’s theory of change from 2018 that we created in partnership with the phenomenal Luminaire Group, affirming the parts of that guiding document that are still serving us, leaning into our curiosities about NFG’s purpose, and asking ourselves & some of NFG’s members probing questions.
We arrived at the following long-term outcome:
Philanthropic assets are liberated so that
BIPOC communities and low-income communities
have power to self-determine.
We believe that progress toward this long-term outcome (and other shorter-term outcomes we named in our theory of change) will take a broad base of funders who are co-conspiring with NFG. This includes those interested in racial, gender, economic, disability, and climate justice who are beginning their journey and those leading the way, liberating assets, and organizing other funders to shift power and move more money to communities.
In the coming months, you’ll be hearing more about our theory of change — including the key assumptions that are informing our work in this critical time; NFG’s values and strategies to guide our work; and the shorter-term outcomes to achieve on the path toward our ultimate outcome.
In the meantime, I invite you to get more involved in NFG:
- Attend our upcoming events on ceding power to achieve systems change, our midterm election series, and Funders for a Just Economy's 2022 program kick-off call
- Join me for our Member Connection Call that’s happening tomorrow at 3pm ET
- Save the date for our 2022 National Convening! June 14-16 in Wilmington, NC
- Become an NFG member if your grantmaking organization isn’t already a member.
I miss our NFG community dearly and am eager for the chance to connect again soon virtually and in-person!
Here's to being there for each other in 2022; to continuing to support the work of BIPOC power building; and to staying grounded in all of the things that bring you comfort.