The Infrastructure of Philanthropy Post-Economic Crisis with Rick Cohen

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 -
1:45pm to 5:00pm EST
Philanthropy New York, 4th Floor, 79 Fifth Avenue, NYC
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With foundations only now recovering from the devastating losses incurred from the recession,  one part of the nonprofit sector is still reeling from cutbacks in grants—the nonprofit and philanthropic infrastructure.  They have always been challenged to justify themselves, explain what they accomplish, develop sustainable business plans, and raise resources through memberships, grants, and earned income.  Yet, in the current climate they are often called to address these challenges with fewer resources at their disposal.  How can the nonprofit—and especially the philanthropic—infrastructure of national membership organizations, funder affinity groups, and regional grantmaker associations prepare for a future that may include prolonged periods of austerity?

The Nonprofit Quarterly’s National Correspondent, Rick Cohen, will initiate the discussion with an update of his 2009 research on the nonprofit and philanthropic infrastructure and then move in more deeply into five elements of the infrastructure, funding, functions, identity, message, and transition, followed by responding with insights and concrete steps for all levels of the infrastructure.


  • What does the foundation sector need from a functioning, funded, sustainable philanthropic  (and broader nonprofit) infrastructure?
  • What should be the responsibilities of funders, large and small, to contribute to and sustain the infrastructure that serves them (and that so many benefit from as “free riders”)?
  • What should the philanthropic infrastructure do differently going forward to address the needs of foundations—and all nonprofits—to face the challenges to philanthropy in the future?


Part of Philanthropy New York's Thought Leader and Wealth, Endowments, and the Economy Series.


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All interested funders.

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