Transforming Our Impact
Investing in Non-Profit Leaders of Color
6 THE POWER FUND
THE POWER FUND 7
WE’RE SUPPORTING RESEARCH AND POLICIES ACROSS THE FIELD TO INFORM A MORE EQUITABLE ALLOCATION OF PHILANTHROPIC AND GOVERNMENT FUNDING
These grants enabled Power Fund Leaders to participate in conferences, training, coaching, and workshops. Power Fund Leaders invested in their communications efforts, including sharpening their public speaking skills and refining their narrative as it connects to their organization’s mission. These opportunities allowed members of the Power Fund cohort to build new management skills, and create new networks. THE POWER FUND IS KEEPING US NIMBLE AND AT THE FOREFRONT OF A CHANGING LANDSCAPE Over the course of our 35-year history, Robin Hood has adapted our grantmaking to address the changing land- scape of poverty in New York City – from reaching New Yorkers affected by the AIDS epidemic and high rates of teen pregnancy in the 1990s, to equipping children and adults with the skills and tools needed to thrive in a new digital economy in recent decades. The Power Fund has been no different. In the 21st century, poverty has taken on new forms: Asian Americans are the fastest-growing immigrant group in New York City fighting to overcome poverty, and in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the gulf between Black and white unemploy- ment in New York City is more divergent than it has been in the last 100 years. The Power Fund helps ensure that we are engaging with leaders and organizations that emerge from evolving challenges within New York City communities.
WE’RE STRENGTHENING OUR GRANTEES’ ORGANIZATIONAL CAPACITY Our Management Assistance team facilitates an
Through the Power Fund, we’ve made four field-building grants to research institutions to solidify the case for investing in leaders of color. These include: the Brookings Institution and the New School to identify approaches of racial equity impact assessments from around the country; Nonprofit New York in partnership with Candid and SeaChange Capital Partners to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the leadership demographics of the non-
profit sector in New York City and surrounding counties; Nonprofit Quarterly to develop tools and training to support the communications efforts of leaders of color, including, opportunities for publication and distribution within the Nonprofit Quarterly’s widely distributed journal; and Echoing Green to identify and cultivate evaluation practices that promote equity.
organizational assessment with each grantee to help identify how to strengthen each organization’s overall capacity and further their goals in key areas like strategy, leadership, finances, governance, and systems. These assessment tools are used to develop a roadmap to structure Robin Hood’s support during the grant period. These supports include: governance and board placement; fundraising, marketing, and communications; real estate; mergers; operations; strategy, planning, and data analytics; technology; culture and diversity, equity, and inclusion; as well as talent acquisition. WE’RE EMPHASIZING LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT Leaders of organizations with limited resources and capacity often face constraints that prevent them from prioritizing and cultivating their own professional development amidst balancing critical day-to-day functioning of the organization. This dilemma thwarts learning, growth, and innovation. To address these issues, Power Fund Leaders received an additional $50,000 grant for leadership development, a resource meant to benefit the mission of each grantee organization under 501c3 purposes. We purposefully made this grant self-directed because no one knows a leader’s needs, goals, and aspirations better than the leader themselves.
CHERYL DORSEY PRESIDENT ECHOING GREEN AND POWER FUND GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE MEMBER GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE SPOTLIGHT:
“Racial inequity is a structural problem that denies effective leaders of color the resources needed to implement change in their communities. This inequity is often perpetuated by a lack of research into how these disparities present themselves in philanthropic giving practices. We believe that quality research can galvanize institutions to let their dollars follow the data – to invest in the best people and strategies that help advance their missions. Ultimately, the population-level impact that philanthropy seeks to achieve cannot happen without funding more leaders of color. Beyond making sizeable investments in individual leaders, we hope that a lasting legacy of the Power Fund is the body of evidence we produce to help drive change at scale.”
“The Power Fund underscores the importance of partnership in fighting poverty. This mission was never meant to be something we tackled alone, and Robin Hood’s success is a testament to the tireless efforts of our team working in partnership with our grantees. The Power Fund has made us an even stronger organization by connecting with new communities and expanding the services we support. When we invest in leaders of color at organizations that serve low-income New Yorkers, we optimize Robin Hood’s mission and become better poverty fighters ourselves. It is both the right thing to do and a smart investment, and we hope that our experience will inspire our partners in philanthropy to join us in this important work.”
In addition to adopting strategies that help us more equitably make funding and support available to community partners, we added elements to our grant program to attract organizations with diverse leadership at the forefront of change.
DAVID PUTH BOARD MEMBER & CO-CHAIR OF POWER FUND GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE
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