Nathan Cummings Foundation Announces Shift in Focus

After evaluating the work it has done over the past twenty-five years, the Nathan Cummings Foundation has announced that it is shifting its focus to address climate change and inequality.

In a letter to the field, board chair Ruth K. Cummings and Sharon L. Alpert, the foundation's president and CEO, wrote: "We see the climate crisis from an equity perspective and will push back against the entrenched interests that have left our nation's infrastructure and communities vulnerable, stalling the energy and economic transformation we need. We want to tap the ingenuity of diverse communities and enlightened leaders to chart a new course for a sustainable future."

To that end, the foundation will invest in four focus areas that together form an integrated framework under which it will continue to build its strategies: accelerating the transition to a more inclusive clean economy; advancing racial and economic justice; increasing corporate and political accountability; and amplifying voice creativity and culture to build empathy, nurture compassion, and create narratives that move people to act for social change.

The new framework reasserts the foundation's signature areas, including funding for social justice work animated by arts and culture and Jewish values and voices in partnership with progressive multi-faith communities. Although its work is primarily concentrated in the United States, the foundation will continue to support efforts to address inequality in Israel and is looking globally to other areas where it can make a difference.

"We believe, now more than ever, that philanthropy must invest in the voices, creativity, and cultural leadership needed to build solidarity around race, class, gender, and ethnicity and confront inequality and the climate crisis. We know that words matter and that explicitly naming racial and economic justice is an important signal to the field," Cummings and Alpert wrote. "While we have a clear framework to guide us, we are still working out the details that will bring this work to life, and we are excited about bringing new staff on board to help us do that."

"Letter to the Field: Our Evolving Focus." Nathan Cummings Foundation Press Release 08/02/2016.