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Effective Matters: February 2024

Date: February 28, 2024

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New CEP Research Snapshot: Grantmakers Respond to the Supreme Court Affirmative Action Rulings

Following the Supreme Court’s rulings in June 2023 against university admissions policies that take race directly into account, many feared that grantmakers would back away from funding efforts focused on racial equity. A new study from the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) reveals that most foundations responding to a survey in the fall of 2023 reported that, so far, they had not made changes to their grantmaking in response to the Court’s rulings.

Read the Report

Even as the new CEP Research Snapshot reveals that grantmakers were not making changes following the Court’s decisions, the philanthropic community has been keeping a close eye on other pending legal challenges since that time, including a suit against the Fearless Fund’s grant program supporting Black women entrepreneurs. It is not yet clear what, if any, legal implications these cases targeting race-specific programs will have for grantmakers in the long-term.

Mark Your Calendar: Free CEP Webinar


How Foundations are Responding to the Supreme Court Affirmative Action RulingsMarch 7, 2024 2-3:15pmJoin us to discuss the findings of the CEP’s new Research Snapshot on how foundations have responded to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions on affirmative action.

In this webinar, we will discuss the findings of the research, which represents a snapshot in time, revealing that while most foundations were discussing the rulings, few planned to make changes.

Co-hosted by Philanthropy New York, the event will feature Vice President of Research at CEP Elisha Smith Arrillaga, Vice President of Programs at the San Francisco Foundation Raquiba LaBrie, President and CEO of the College Futures Foundation Eloy Ortiz Oakley, and President and CEO of Independent Sector Akilah Watkins.

Register Now

Save the Date: Announcing CEP’s 2025 Conference

The Center for Effective Philanthropy will host its biennial conference from November 3-5, 2025 in L.A.! 

We hope you will mark your calendars and plan to join us — look out for an official invite and more details in your inbox soon.

Want to make sure that you or a colleague who should be in the know about this stays up to date? Sign up to receive email updates and be the first to know when registration opens here.

Book CEP’s Speaker Elisha Smith Arrillaga, Ph.D., Vice President of Research

Philanthropic and education leader Elisha Smith Arrillaga, Ph.D. joined CEP as the new vice president of Research last June, bringing an abundance of experience as a nonprofit leader and philanthropic expert to the role.

She is spearheading all aspects of CEP’s research work and is available as a speaker on a variety of topics including what any donor can learn from MacKenzie Scott’s giving, challenges facing nonprofits, and trends and shifts in philanthropic practice, among other topics. Later this month, Smith Arrillaga will present at and moderate an event co-hosted by Philanthropy New York on new CEP research examining the impact of the Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action on philanthropy.

If you’d like Smith Arrillaga to speak or help co-create events, either virtual or in-person, please reach out to Grace Nicolette or find out more here.

CEP Advisory Board Welcomes Four New Members

CEP’s work is guided by an Advisory Board of foundation leaders, consultants, and academics, which meets annually. CEP is thrilled to welcome three new members to the Board: Lynn Alvarez, Clara Bennett, Sandra Nathan, and Dace West.

Lynn Alvarez
Vice President, Programs and Strategy
Clara Bennett
Principal, Learning and Impact
Omidyar Network
Sandra Nathan
Managing Director, Operations
Humanity United
Dace West
Chief Impact Officer
The Denver Foundation

Latest on the CEP Blog

Foundations Are Mostly Staying the Course in Response to U.S. Supreme Court Affirmative Action Rulings
“The data we gathered last fall suggests that, in the immediate wake of the rulings, few foundations were making significant changes to their grantmaking approaches.” – John Muñoz, CEP

Beyond the Grant: How One Foundation Centered Connection in Giving
“Grantmakers have a unique opportunity to not only serve as a financial wellspring, but to connect with the boots on the ground efforts. At , Beyond the Grant work opened opportunities for these connections to grow richer, deeper, and stronger.” – Amy Breshears, formerly Rogers Family Foundation

Environmental Funding in Europe: A Drop in the (Rising) Ocean
“The data presented in this research highlights the urgency of philanthropic action in the face of a climate emergency and future mass extinction event. Philanthropy possesses unique qualities that enable it to disrupt the status quo and drive meaningful change.” – Sevda Kilicalp, Ph.D. and Giulia Lombardi, Philea — Philanthropy Europe Association

On a Unique Board Member’s Lasting Legacy
“He made our work feel at once more important and more informal and familial; at once incredibly serious and also worth a good laugh; at once necessary and also distant from the most crucial front lines of change.” – Phil Buchanan, CEP

Most Foundations Are Not Retreating from Their Racial Justice Goals
“This is not a time to step back from the pursuit of racial justice and we — and, based on the CEP report, others, too — do not intend to do so.” – Joshua Mintz, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

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