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Effective Matters: July 2022

Date: July 28, 2022

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New CEP Research – Much Alarm, Less Action: Foundations & Climate Change

Foundation leaders overwhelmingly see climate change as an urgent problem, according to new CEP research released earlier this month. However, despite this widely shared 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.

CEP’s new research, conducted with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, examines foundation leaders’ views and actions on the pressing issue of climate change, including how foundations believe it will affect their work, the role of philanthropy in addressing the issue, and foundation and nonprofit perspectives on the effectiveness of current efforts.

The report, titled Much Alarm, Less Action: Foundations & Climate Change, reveals that while 60 percent of both foundation and nonprofit leaders believe that climate change is an extremely urgent problem, few nonprofit and foundation leaders — about 10 percent — said that climate change is the most important problem to address right now. Indeed, efforts to address climate change tend to be a relatively small proportion of total giving from U.S. foundations that fund efforts addressing climate change.

Explore the findings on a new interactive report website, or download the full text of the report.



We are opening our annual early sign-up discount early this year! Benefit from a discount of $1,000 off the Grantee Perception Report or a custom advisory project or $500 off the Staff Perception Report or Donor Perception Report and secure your spot for a 2023 assessment or custom advisory project by reaching out before Sept. 30. Limited spaces for 2023 will fill quickly! Reach out to Austin Long today to find out more.

Support CEP

If you believe in CEP’s work and our benefit to the philanthropic community, please consider making a grant or an individual contribution to CEP. Supporting CEP means supporting more effective philanthropy. Thank you.

CEP Launches Trust-Based Philanthropy Learning Cohort

Informed by decades of research on the drivers of effective grantmaking and funder-grantee dynamics, and developed in consultation with the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, CEP’s new Trust-Based Philanthropy Learning Cohort will enable you to connect with peer leaders to explore ideas and implementation, including:

  • Multiyear general operating support as a tool for equity and impact
  • Streamlined application and selection process
  • Trust-based, transparent, and affirming grantee relationships
  • Learning-oriented reporting requirements
  • Nonmonetary support and capacity building

The cohort will include seven virtual sessions between October 2022 and June 2023 during which time participants will consider data-backed best practices and case examples; have structured time to set goals, discuss implementation challenges, and receive support; and hear from guest speakers, including:

  • Mailee Walker, Executive Director, Claneil Foundation
  • Elizabeth Clay Roy, CEO, Generation Citizen
  • Philip Li, President & CEO, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation
  • Austin Long, Senior Director, Assessment and Advisory Services, CEP
  • Yolanda Coentro, President & CEO, Institute for Nonprofit Practice

This learning opportunity is designed for senior leaders at philanthropic funders who are highly motivated to set concrete goals for their foundation and to pursue those goals with a peer-accountability network. Find out more about the Learning Cohort and register here.

Herding Lions: Foundation Boards and Equity

Foundation leaders often cite their boards as an impediment to the shifts in practices they see as necessary in these times, CEP research has shown. Moreover, boards’ racial diversity is correlated with some of these very practices, and yet most foundation boards remain overwhelmingly white. How can foundation CEOs and boards evolve so that boards are both more diverse and more focused on the practices and approaches that are needed in this moment? How can CEOs help boards understand and engage with questions of structural inequity, and how that inequity affects the foundation’s work? What lessons can be learned from foundation boards that have engaged these questions and shifted their approaches?

Join CEP and a panel of experts, including Alesha Washington, president and CEO of the Seattle Foundation, and the Foundation’s board chair, Dr. Ed Taylor, this fall for a discussion about these questions and foundation boards and equity more broadly. The webinar will be moderated by Kevin Bolduc, vice president, Assessment and Advisory Services, CEP.

Look for more information on additional panelists, date, and registration soon.

Latest on the CEP Blog

A Narrowing Window For Foundation Action On Climate Change
Katarina Malmgren, senior analyst, Research, at CEP, introduces CEP’s new research on foundation leaders’ views and actions on climate change, setting the scene with a poignant illustration of her own touchpoint with the realities of climate change — that a football field’s worth of coastal land disappears from her home state of Louisiana every hour.

LGBTQ+ Youth Deserve More — And Philanthropy Can Help
YouthTruth Survey’s Jimmy Simpson, Jr. and Jennifer de Forest, Ed.D. reflect on the growing hate that is leading to anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and how philanthropy can counter it, starting by listening to what LGBTQ+ (and all) youth have to say.

‘And’ Approaches In Philanthropy: Funders Can Meet Their Missions AND Address Climate Change
ClimateWorks Foundation’s Shawn Reifsteck delves into the findings of CEP’s new research on foundations and climate change and shares both reasons for optimism – including that philanthropy has often, in the past, been at the vanguard of drawing attention to wicked problems and mobilizing resources.

Project Grants Still Need Not Be The Enemy: An Equity-Oriented Update One Year Later
Rodney Christopher, managing director at BDO FMA, follows up on a controversial claim he made on the CEP blog a little more than a year ago: that project grants need not be the enemy. He shares new research and resources for funders interested in utilizing project grants in a fair, equitable, and effective way.

Read more of the latest on the CEP blog.

New Faces at CEP

Joyce Cheng, Analyst, Assessment and Advisory Services
Jordi Hertz, Digital Marketing and Design Lead, YouthTruth
Symone Marie Holloway, Communications Coordinator, YouthTruth
Christina Im, Analyst, Research
Joseph Lee, Manager, Assessment and Advisory Services
Pranathi Posa, Analyst, Assessment and Advisory Services
Heather Smith, Partnerships Lead, YouthTruth
Liz Kelley Sohn, Manager, Assessment and Advisory Services

Interested in joining the team? Check out open positions — and learn more about what it’s like to work at CEP.

Mark Your Calendars:

  • Sept 8: Season 3 kick-off of the Giving Done Right podcast
  • Sept 25: Grace Nicolette, vice president, Programming and External Relations, CEP, keynote address, “Who Are We Now,” at Philanthropy Ohio’s Philanthropy Forward ’22
  • Fall 2022: Herding Lions: Foundation Boards and Equity (exact date to be announced)
  • Nov 15: CEP’s Big Gifts Study, part one of three, research release & webinar

Interested in booking a CEP staff member to speak at your next event? Staff at CEP are available to speak on a variety of topics such as current giving trends, effective giving, and the role of America’s nonprofit sector in a moment when a strong sector is needed more than ever. Find out more here, or reach out to Grace Nicolette, vice president, Programming and External Relations, at

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