The flexibility, nimbleness, and willingness to collaborate demonstrated by the philanthropic sector over the past year in response to a rapidly changing policy environment could serve as a model for the sector going forward, a report from the TCC Group finds.
Based on interviews with nearly thirty leaders of philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs), the report, (Un)precedented: Philanthropy Takes Action in the First Year of a New Political Reality, found that in the first year of the Trump administration, PSOs and funder collaboratives were called on to keep funders well informed of policy changes. To that end, PSOs have played a critical role in enabling funder learning, dialogue, and action, and have helped accelerate important funder conversations in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion; the need to think beyond issue silos; and the foundational benefits of creating space for dialogue across political and ideological divides through nonpartisan civic engagement.
The report also notes that while some funders have remained cautious, taking a "wait and see" approach to how national political changes might affect their grantmaking priorities, a greater number have been moved by rapidly changing policies to consider aligning their "institutional voice" with other grantmakers to maximize their impact.
"One year into the new presidential administration, the critical question for leaders of funder collaboratives and PSOs is whether grantmaker interest in immigration, civic engagement, and other priorities that have come to the fore will be sustained," the report's authors conclude. "Since November 2016, more funders have shown themselves to possess the adaptive abilities necessary to make a difference in the twenty-first century, supported by the PSOs and funder collaboratives at the heart of the sector. Ongoing political change will likely reinforce these qualities."