NCRP Acquires Bolder Giving, Boosts Efforts to Engage Wealthy Donors

As part of a new strategic framework reflecting its goals for the coming decade, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy has announced its acquisition of Bolder Giving.

In a letter posted on the NCRP website, the organization's president and CEO Aaron Dorfman and board chair Sherece West-Scantlebury said the acquisition is intended to provide social justice movements and their current and potential funders with useful resources designed to help them increase their impact. "We believe NCRP's new strategic framework will enable us to significantly contribute to shaping a country that truly embodies our core values of equity, democracy, and justice for all," they wrote. "We believe that we could still see significant progress to advance women's equality, reform our criminal justice system, combat climate change, expand economic opportunity, secure fair treatment for immigrants, and combat structural racism."

The acquisition of Bolder Giving, a national nonprofit that inspires and supports people to give at their full lifetime potential toward a just and sustainable world, is subject to approval by Massachusetts authorities, where it is a project of the Arlington-based Zing Foundation. Dorfman told the Chronicle of Philanthropy that his organization’s new strategic focus has been in the works for a year as part of its fortieth anniversary celebration but has taken on greater urgency with the election of Donald Trump as president. Proposals floated by Trump during the campaign to cut domestic spending on the poor and needy and his inflammatory rhetoric toward immigrants, Muslims, and other minorities have generated great concern among civil rights advocates.

In conjunction with the acquisition announcement, NCRP also released Pennies for Progress: A Decade of Boom for Philanthropy, a Bust for Social Justice, an analysis based on Foundation Center data which found that while foundation assets increased by $321 billion, to $798 billion from $476 billion, in the decade from 2003 to 2013, support for work that explicitly benefited people of color, women and girls, the elderly, and other underserved communities by the country’s largest foundations increased just 15 percent, while foundation support for efforts that engage underserved communities in finding long-term solutions to injustice and inequities rose only 10 percent.

Dorfman told the Chronicle that, in 2017, NCRP would press foundations to provide more data on diversity within their ranks, including information on LGBT staff members and employees and leaders with disabilities. In addition, the organization will attempt to measure giving by wealthy individuals to social-justice movements and establish foundation giving goals in certain areas. "Living donors are highly invested in what they're doing," said Dorfman, who acknowledged that NCRP's goals are ambitious. "Having some critique of that work may be challenging for them. But they want to get it right."