The Nathan Cummings Foundation in New York City has announced that it will increase its payout in 2017 and 2018 and is encouraging other philanthropic organizations to do the same.
At its April meeting, the foundation's board agreed unanimously that it is "no time for business as usual." Based on in-person conversations and an online survey, the foundation had previously determined that its grantees on the front lines are struggling to respond to a rise in racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia across the country as well as attacks against democratic institutions, critical public agencies, and the legitimacy of the press. To stand with its grantees and philanthropic partners and respond to these challenges, the board has directed foundation staff to boost its grantmaking over the next two years; modify its processes and types of support to award grants more quickly and flexibly; communicate and advocate for its values and interests; and convene and collaborate with partners to bring new resources and ideas to the foundation's areas of interest.
To that end, the foundation, which last August announced a shift in its grantmaking focus to address climate change and inequality, will put additional resources into forging and deepening coalitions, exploring new ideas, and making room for big bets in emerging areas and is in the process of identifying grantmaking strategies and opportunities for collaboration across its focus areas, including support for journalists, especially those representing marginalized communities; strengthening civic engagement; investing in resilience practices; and building bridges across social and economic divides.
"Philanthropy is the risk capital in our society, and collectively, we were made for this moment," Sharon L. Alpert, the foundation's president, wrote in a letter to the field. "We are being called to act and to provide resources that catalyze leaders and solutions to the most pressing problems of the day."