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December 2, 2020

Beyond the Money

We continue to find new ways to offer resources and support to nonprofits beyond the money awarded in grants. This is especially critical during this period of uncertainty and strife, as the pandemic, civil unrest and economic volatility continue. Our goal is to include outside experts and sources that can help us connect nonprofit leaders and staff, so they can share ideas and concerns and find new ways to partner to tackle issues together. This connects to our philosophy that collaboration leads to creative ideas that can ignite or accelerate powerful approaches to solve difficult problems.

In the fall, we offered current and former grantees, as well as many of our partner organizations, the opportunity to take part in two different programs:

A Workshop Series Addressing the Unspoken Issues about Race & Racism. The glaring events of racial injustice in recent months have forced many in our nation to confront and consider the deep and abiding issues caused by structural and systemic racism. The nonprofits we work with are confronting these problems by learning through discussion.

In our efforts to continue creating opportunities for connection and reflection within our community, our staff developed a four-part series of workshops led by internationally recognized clinician, author, trainer and consultant Kenneth V. Hardy, Ph.D. The interactive workshops were designed to: get beyond polarized positions; promote honest and sustainable conversations about race; and allow participants from diverse backgrounds to learn with and from each other. The four virtual workshops were held in October and November. The workshops were widely attended and contained valuable dialogue that participants say will be extremely helpful as they continue to address racism within their workplaces and in the communities they serve.

Nonprofit Leader Convening. To help grantees understand and share the effects of ongoing and changing needs and to give them the chance to learn from each other, Barra worked with Philadelphia-based ImpactEd, to develop and implement a survey that collected nonprofit leaders’ opinions and thoughts in early September. The results were then used to develop a virtual convening later in the month where leaders were given the space to discuss their situations and ideas.

Over 60 nonprofit leaders completed the survey and 45 attended the convening. They discussed how to engage in long-term planning in a changing landscape, strive for sustainability and meaningfully involve internal and external stakeholders in shaping their work moving forward. A post-convening survey was conducted to capture leaders’ perspectives and how it may help with their planning.