PhilTV: Funder Advocacy Is Powerful in Conversation on NP Sector Sustainability

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

PhilTV: Funder Advocacy Is Powerful in Conversation on NP Sector Sustainability
This program was live-streamed and recorded on April 26. 


New York City— With the high-profile collapse of FEGS last year, New York's nonprofit sector has been seriously investigating and documenting what went wrong, with an eye toward changing harmful funding practices that contributed to its, and others’ demise. Nonprofit and foundation leaders are now actively working on issues such as full-cost budgeting, OMB Guidance on Indirect Costs, funding for the increased minimum wage and a host of other interrelated topics.

"It was very shocking to people not only in the nonprofit sector but the public sector, the private sector and the funding community," said Doug Bauer, executive director of The Clark Foundation, who moderated Philanthropy New York’s recent program, "Learning from LA - Is Our Sister City Supporting Nonprofits Better?

Bauer was a member of the Human Services Council commission that investigated the collapse of FEGS and took in a deep dive on the data on the region’s nonprofit sector and released the report New York Nonprofits in the Aftermath of FEGS: A CALL TO ACTION. The report documents the reasons for the collapse and lessons learned. The process also included canvassing other cities around the country for examples of healthier relationships between nonprofits and government, and Bauer came to the conclusion that Los Angeles stood out from the rest in advancing policies that will move the local nonprofit sector toward greater sustainability. 

Despite its obvious social and geographic differences, Bauer says that Los Angeles is comparable to New York, and has many lessons to offer.  In a wide-ranging conversation with Fred J. Ali, president and chief executive officer at the Weingart Foundation, who was a crucial voice in calling on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to officially extend the indirect cost mandates of the OMB Uniform Guidance to LA nonprofits, the conversation touched on a key point about the role philanthropy can play.

Passed last fall with strong prodding from the local funder and nonprofit community, the Supervisors’ resolution mandated the County Chief Executive to consult with Los Angeles nonprofits and foundations in developing an effective County-wide implementation strategy for the OMB indirect cost provisions, and it also called for a letter to be signed by all five supervisors to urge California’s state leaders to fully embrace and implement OMB Uniform Guidance rules. 

IN THE CLIP ABOVE, Bauer had momentarily before called advocacy "The Big A Word," that so many funders seem to be afraid of.   Here, he asks Ali what set of decisions made his group pursue that strategy. Ali discusses how nonprofits use strategic partnerships with philanthropy to push for change.

The discussion also explored:

  • How funders can help their grantees increase their long-term financial stability and effectiveness
  • How funders are effectively advocating for “full cost recovery” for nonprofit organizations
  • What are the major differences in the nonprofit environment in California and New York, and how can we learn from each other
  • The latest trends in nonprofit capacity building

The video below is from the full session. It runs 1 hour 47 minutes.

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