Dear friend,

In September, we launched our first membership survey in six years. Our goal was to provide a space for funders to share feedback on how they experience NFG’s work/community, and their requests/suggestions for future programming and political education. Dozens of funders who work at one of our member grantmaking organizations responded to the survey. At a time when the bonds of community serve as an integral buoy, as the responses populated, we felt grateful and inspired by the feedback we received. Now, we’re excited to share what we’ve learned and how we plan to leverage these learnings in 2024.

A mix of foundation staff, from Program Managers to Grants Officers to CEOs, responded to our survey sharing more information about their participation in NFG’s programming and the resulting impact on their work; reflections on the current benefits of their institution’s membership at NFG; and what they’d like to see more of in 2024 (and beyond). Some responses affirmed what our team knew anecdotally:

  • Funders primarily find their way to NFG through referral by colleague(s) or attending our biennial National Convening,

  • Funders receive an abundance of political education and peer networking opportunities at NFG, and

  • Although folks are interested in our programming, time was most often cited as a barrier for participation.

"Having attended my first NFG convening in 2023, I experienced thoughtful programming that allowed for cultivating new and deeper connections; providing tangible, effective strategies and tactics; and connecting to leading edge thinkers and doers in this space."

As a staff, reading funders describe NFG as their political home where they come to learn and play, to find and build deep connections with aligned peers, is a gift. It confirms that all the work we perform behind the scenes is having the intended impact on our sector. But we also know that it’s equally valuable when community shares their suggestions and/or the areas where their needs aren’t fully being met. Respondents to our survey have invited us to explore:

  • Incorporating more gender and disability justice focused programming, funder organizing trainings, and ad hoc programming to address emergent needs,

  • Hosting more in-person and regional gatherings,

  • Creating more learning cohorts and continuing the existing Racial Capitalism Community of Practice,

  • Producing more tangible resources, one-pagers, toolkits regarding best philanthropic practices (eg participatory grantmaking, impact investing).

"Our participation has helped us deepen our own learning, gain insights and perspectives from like-minded funders, learn about best practices and pushed us to be accountable to driving more resources to BIPOC led organizations working across racial, gender and economic justice."

We are looking forward to creating even more containers for strategic alignment and action in 2024 and you can look forward to:.

  • Member calls will look different — these will be spaces for members to share what they’re working on, tools they’re using, or things they’re grappling with. Our first two member calls of the year help funders move more money to their grantees and learn more about reparations and reparative actions. If you have a topic you’d like to present to NFG’s membership, please contact Courtney.

  • More in-person connection time: stay tuned for information about member gatherings we’ll be hosting at partner conferences!

  • Regional gatherings: the Midwest Funder Connection, Learning, & Strategy Session — a new series of online regional gatherings for Midwest funders will resume in February. As a core component of NFG's Midwest Organizing Infrastructure Funder programming, CLS Sessions are bi-monthly 90-minute virtual meetings for funders to strategize, learn, and build community in ways that strengthen their ability to move more resources to Midwest grassroots organizing. This event page will be updated with have the latest information on each session.

  • More learning opportunities: we are excited to share that due to the high level of interest in our Racial Capitalism Community of Practice, we will be launching another workshop series in 2024 to continue our work organizing funders toward a shared understanding of racial capitalism, how it impacts our work in philanthropy, and what we can do to disrupt the extractive economy. NFG's Funders for a Just Economy will provide more information on series in the New Year. NFG's Values Aligned Investment Praxis Group will also launch its second cohort in April. The Values Aligned Investment Praxis Group, provides a dedicated space for foundation leadership to learn and experiment with a group of trusted peers who aim to shift their endowment investments into greater alignment with their institutional missions. To learn more about the cohort, please join us for a webinar in early 2024. More details to follow

  • Programing to build skills on funder organizing and other general political education. See our upcoming events, including IRSG rural equity summit.

"When I suggest new ideas to my board, I have the learnings and encouragement from NFG programs and colleagues "with" me. My ideas aren't just "my" ideas, they are those of a larger community of practice that prioritizes BIPOC voices."

Thank you to each of the funders who took the time to complete this survey! Hearing you describe, in your own words, the experiences you’ve had at NFG was so insightful. The information you shared is truly invaluable.

At a time where you are being invited to engage and take action on a plethora of issues, know that NFG is a community and a resource for your continued strategizing. We look forward to co-conspiring with NFG’s community in the coming year.

With gratitude,
Team NFG