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News Release: Philanthropic watchdog group kicks off initiative with foundations that promise to prioritize underserved communities


June 9, 2011, Washington, DC - More than 60 foundations and other grantmakers submit public statements explaining their commitments.

More than 60 leading foundations from across the country that together give close to $2.5 billion a year in grants to nonprofit organizations promised to dedicate the majority of their giving to benefit underserved communities and a substantial amount to strategies that address the root causes of social problems, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) announced today.

Foundations and other grantmaking organizations that have voluntarily signed on to NCRP’S  Philanthropy’s Promise initiative will allocate at least 50 percent of their grant dollars to address the unique needs of the poor, elderly, disabled and other marginalized groups, and at least 25 percent towards supporting advocacy, community organizing and civic engagement to promote equity, opportunity and justice.

Through this initiative, NCRP is recognizing grantmakers that practice effective and strategic grantmaking that leads to lasting social change. The organization hopes the campaign will inspire other grantmakers to serve the common good by prioritizing and empowering underserved communities, and expects more grantmakers will sign on in the coming months.

"Philanthropy’s Promise offers strategies that will help foundations and other institutional grantmakers – regardless of their size, focus and approach – to maximize the impact of their grant dollars," said Aaron Dorfman, executive director of NCRP. "Studies and stories have shown that these high impact strategies leverage philanthropy’s limited resources effectively."

More than 60 grantmakers have submitted their public statements explaining their commitment to the Promise. These grantmakers include big and small foundations, private foundations, family foundations, corporate foundations, community foundations and other grantmaking public charities.

"We believe that meeting the challenges of these times requires that we take risks. It also requires that we advance programs and initiatives that have the potential to be transformative, even when the approaches are new," said Luis Ubiñas, president of the Ford Foundation. "After all, risk and challenge are more than just the privilege of philanthropy – they are its responsibility."

"With limited resources, McKnight’s programs seek to provide support where we believe we can have the greatest impact. In many cases, this requires that we attend to underserved communities," wrote Kate Wolford, president of the McKnight Foundation in the foundation’s public statement. "Additionally, McKnight’s board has long recognized the power of pursuing lasting, systemic change through advocacy, community organizing, and civic engagement."

"We encourage every grantmaker to actively consider how their individual mission statements and grantmaking priorities may enable them to participate in this challenge or, at the least, fully understand and reflect on the constraints that prevent them from doing so," wrote Emmett D. Carson, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, in his foundation’s public statement.

For more information, including a full list of participating grantmakers, visit www.philanthropyspromise.org.