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Effective Matters: January 2023

Date: January 31, 2023

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CEP2023 Conference Registration: Join Us This Fall in Boston

This fall, hundreds of senior foundation leaders, program officers, trustees, and major donors will gather in Boston to connect with one another and engage with philanthropy’s most pressing issues. CEP also looks forward to welcoming exceptional speakers Danielle Allen and Jacob Harold to the 2023 conference. We will be announcing more speakers soon, so stay tuned.

Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard and director of Harvard’s Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Ethics, will speak about philanthropy’s role in safeguarding democracy.

Jacob Harold, former president and CEO of GuideStar, co-founder of Candid, and author of “The Toolbox: Strategies for Crafting Social Impact” will lead an interactive session on the concepts in his new book.

Additional sessions will include an exploration of philanthropy’s role in closing the racial wealth gap; an examination of how funders can evaluate when opportunities to join collaboratives and pooled funds make sense and when they don’t; a look at what philanthropy can do to make the most impact on climate change mitigation; and a presentation of new CEP research on MacKenzie Scott’s giving from year two of the ongoing Big Gifts study. More sessions are in the works and will be announced soon.

Join us for CEP2023 at the Omni Seaport Hotel in Boston from Oct. 30 – Nov. 1, 2023. For information about speakers and sessions at the conference, check out and stay tuned for more details to come!

Register Now

P.S. Curious about past CEP conference keynotes and sessions? Find video from past conferences on CEP’s YouTube!

ICYMI: CEP’s New Report on MacKenzie Scott’s Giving

Giving Big: The Impact of Large, Unrestricted Gifts on Nonprofits hit the presses at the tail-end of 2022. In case you missed it, here are some key facts from the report:

  • The median grant size was $8 million. The median grant size for larger, staffed foundations in CEP’s extensive database of nonprofit survey respondents is $100,000.
  • For 88 percent of responding organizations this was the largest unrestricted grant they had ever received.
  • More than 80 percent of nonprofit leaders surveyed for the report believe this grant will significantly strengthen their organization’s ability to achieve its mission
  • The majority of nonprofit leaders surveyed report the grant will allow the organization to advance equity more effectively than they could have otherwise.
  • More than 90 percent of respondents report using the money to improve their organization’s financial stability.
  • Few leaders report difficulties in deciding how to spend the grant. In fact, almost three quarters of the leaders interviewed shared that they already had plans in place that they used Scott’s gifts to support or accelerate.

Read the Report

CEP’s Giving Big in the News

On a related note, find coverage and analysis of CEP’s new report in the following places:

Watch Much Alarm, Less Action: Foundations and Climate Change on YouTube

Foundation leaders overwhelmingly see climate change as an urgent problem and believe that foundations could be doing more to address the issue, alongside the public and private sectors. However, despite these leaders’ alarm, foundation efforts to address climate change are relatively limited, and non-climate funders tend to see the issue as outside the scope of their mission.

These startling findings were released in CEP’s report, Much Alarm, Less Action: Foundations and Climate Change, during the summer of 2022. If you missed CEP’s webinar on funder approaches to climate change — or want to revisit the discussion of the report’s findings featuring Colette Pichon Battle, co-executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy, Kara Inae Carlisle, vice president of programs at the McKnight Foundation, and Taryn Higashi, executive director of Unbound Philanthropy, you can now view the recording on CEP’s YouTube.

CEP’s Grace Nicolette and Phil Buchanan on the Airwaves

Hosts of the Giving Done Right podcast Phil Buchanan and Grace Nicolette flipped the script recently and appeared as guests on a number of podcasts. They discuss topics ranging from how to set up an effective personal giving plan, to how giving and investing are not alike, and what it takes to lead a nonprofit. Catch Phil and Grace on the following podcasts:

  • Phil Buchanan joins the Driven by Cause podcast and gets into the mission of CEP (and how it’s changed over the years), the way that COVID has changed the fundraising landscape, the role of philanthropy in working toward a better world, and more. View a recording of the podcast here, or find it wherever you get podcasts.
  • On Everyone’s Talkin’ Money with host Shannah Game, Grace dives into the nuts and bolts of giving well in “How to Donate: The Keys to Giving Effectively
  • Grace discusses the question “How Can You Be More Effective as a Nonprofit Leader?” with host Dr. Patton McDowell on Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership.
  • The Investing for Beginners podcast hosts talk with Grace about the importance of giving, how it differs from investing, pitfalls for new donors to avoid, and more on the episode “Grace Nicolette Talks to Us About the Importance of Philanthropy.”

To hear more from Phil and Grace, find all three seasons of the Giving Done Right podcast here, or wherever you get podcasts.

Latest on the CEP Blog

Staffing For Success: What We Know About Staffing For Strong Funder-Grantee Relationships
CEP’s Alice Mei delves into tough questions about how grantmakers staff and allocate caseload, shares data CEP has gathered over the years, and, while indicating there is no one “right” answer to the staffing question, provides some guidelines for grantmakers grappling with staffing questions.

How Measuring Systems Change Can Open The Door To Transformative Impact
Freedom Fund CEO Nick Grono responds to another recent post on the CEP blog, Donors: Is How We Think About Impact Holding Us Back From Achieving It?, from Tim Hanstad, CEO of the Chandler Foundation. Both pieces examine the ways in which traditional impact measurement tools may prevent funders from engaging in systems change work, and explore how to overcome that.

4 Lessons From MacKenzie Scott’s Unconventional Approach
Following CEP’s report, Giving Big: The Impact of Large, Unrestricted Gifts on Nonprofits, Phil Buchanan and Ellie Buteau examine unhelpful and overly simplified narratives about MacKenzie Scott’s giving and offer four key lessons grantmakers as well as individual donors can draw from her pathbreaking approach.

A New Year’s Resolution For Funders: Model Courage In Giving
As we enter a new year, President and Co-founder of the Pinpoint Foundation Amanda Peiffer challenges funders to approach their giving in 2023 with newfound courage, extolling greater generosity, trust, and responsiveness.

New Faces at CEP and YouthTruth

John Rangos, Coordinator, Assessment and Advisory Services
Donovyn Pickler, Data Systems Engineer, Assessment and Advisory Services and YouthTruth

John Rangos

Donovyn Pickler

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