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Philanthropy

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Philanthropy Has Been Trying to Buy Buildings for the Arts for Years. Now We Know It Works.

San Francisco’s CounterPulse shows how arts organizations can take advantage of a lease-to-own model.

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A pile of presents wrapped in red and green paper with bows, beneath a Christmas tree.
Housing

Instead of Toys, These Organizers Want You to Give Rent Money

Rent for Moms is a fundraising campaign looking to help 50 single Black moms in select cities retain or obtain housing by Christmas. Under the tagline, “because everyone deserves to […]

A city scene in Newark New Jersey.
Community Control

Looking Back: Democratic Philanthropy, Newark on the Rise, the Surplus Land Campaign, and More

In this first installment of updates to Shelterforce articles of old, we find that market dynamics are different in many places we’ve written about, but many of the organizations fighting the good fight are continuing to do so, even in changed times.

courageous philanthropy cover
Community Development Field

Reawakening “Courageous Philanthropy”

A review of Courageous Philanthropy: Going Public in a Closely Held World, by Jennifer Vanica.

Aerial view of San Francisco
Housing

Joining Loans and Policy Grants to Get More Affordable Housing in the Bay Area

A pair of funds backed by philanthropic heavy hitters tries to take advantage of a moment when all eyes are on housing.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, speaking and holding a microphone.
Housing

Facebook Dips Its Toe Into Funding Housing

There was much speculation last year about whether and how Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg would enter the affordable housing space. We got our first peek today . . .

Not All Community Organizations Have the “Next Big Idea.” Yet.

Fifteen years ago, one of Fahe's member organizations in West Virginia reached out to a national foundation to request money for operating costs. They were turned down because the foundation […]

Housing Microfinance: So Little Changes So Much

Housing in the developing world is a process. Families may replace a dirt floor with a clean, hard surface. They might reinforce the walls or the roof to prevent water from seeping through the cracks when it rains. They may build an additional room after welcoming a new child into the world or build a […]

Community Development Field

Social Impact Investment and the Failure of Imagination

Domestic social impact investment is stuck. Each year a few deals trickle through, but despite the potential and promise, impact investments in the United States are rare, complex, and entirely […]

Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation

We first met Darren Walker about 15 years ago while planning an issue on faith-based development. Darren was the chief operating officer of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, the storied community development arm of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City. We asked Darren to write an article that was not simply a cheerleader’s promotion of church-based CDCs, but a realistic assessment of the benefits and challenges to an institution embarking on that path.

Darren was optimistic and enthusiastic about the work he was doing at Abyssinian creating hundreds of units of affordable housing in Harlem. But he was pragmatic and realistic also. His article encouraged organizations to temper the enthusiasm necessary to even consider this work with a realistic analysis of an organization’s capacities and a clear-eyed examination of their assumptions about the rewards of creating a CDC.

Darren approached his work enthusiastically, I think, because he had visceral understanding of the challenges low-income folks had and the opportunities that were available to them with the right help. The kind of help that the stability of an affordable home could provide. His understanding came from personal experience that would inform his work wherever it took him, from law school to international finance, from a storefront afterschool program and Abyssinian to the Rockefeller and Ford foundations.

When we sat down with Darren on March 18 to conduct this interview, we were glad to see that enthusiasm, optimism, and pragmatism were as strong as ever as he starts his leadership of one of the world’s largest foundations.

What Is Philanthropic Equity? A Roundtable Discussion

As we prepared this issue, the term “philanthropic equity” kept surfacing. What is this new concept in philanthropy, and how is it different from both traditional grantmaking and program-related investments? In December we gathered a group of people from foundations and nonprofit intermediaries to explore the concept, its promises and pitfalls.

Students Push Universities to Invest Locally

In response to my earlier post about anchor institutions and community development, Andrew Frishkoff, executive director of LISC Philadelphia, commented “Too often we have seen beneficent anchor institutions acting paternalistically on […]

Part II: What If Someone Gave You $5M, Then Asked for It Back?

When was the last time you sat down with your financial manager and the actually considered the various tranches of capital you would need?