More Data, More Networking, More Equity

Friday, November 9, 2018

It's November! Fall is here, the leaves are changing, and at CCP, our team is working hard to plan for 2019. Next year's plans are deeply informed by the 172 members who participated in this year's annual survey. We asked. Seventy of our member organizations answered. We listened. We have big and small plans in the works for next year.

Some of our bigger plans?

  • 2019 is CCP's 50th Anniversary and we want to honor this milestone with you. We'll be celebrating throughout the year and hope that our efforts continue to raise the visibility of philanthropy in Connecticut. 
  • We heard a clear call for more learning on racial equity. We are planning a series of learning events to help our community understand structural racism, its impacts on communities in CT, and how the philanthropic community can think about addressing race and racism in their grantmaking and operations. 
  • We also recognize the very serious fiscal challenges that CT is facing. CCP wants to support the philanthropic community to come together, deepen its understanding of these challenges and what they mean for the issues and communities it cares about, and then strategize together with the aim of increasing the philanthropic community's collective impact.

In addition to this big work for 2019, we want to respond to other input we heard from you and your colleagues and rise to meet your needs and interests. Here is more about what we heard and what we're planning:

Connect Me to My Peers

CCP has historically supported peer networks, like the Foundation Administrators Network and the Program Officer Network. In this year's survey, we learned that there are other peer networks that could add value to your work.

Connecting people and building community is a critical component of our work. In 2019, we'll roll out several new networks aimed at keeping CT's philanthropic community better-connected and well-informed.

Analyze More Data

One of the things that I love about this community is its hunger for good information. Whenever we hold up possible learning offerings, we nearly always hear, "yes!" with gusto. Questions about possible data collection and analysis were no exception. We heard loud and clear that more analysis of data would be useful, and especially if we can provide a more nuanced analysis of grant information. In 2019, we'll work to do additional analysis of grantmaking by issue and population, and provide you with more information about how nonprofits in CT are faring. We are partnering with the CT Alliance for Nonprofits to collect data on nonprofits, and will be excited to share results this winter.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that CCP's Laurie Allen has been working hard to ask our members to Get on the Map. CCP relies on the Foundation Center and IRS for data on charitable giving in the state. Foundation Center's data powers our new Connecticut Foundation Stats website and informs all of our publications. The more accurate their data is, the better our understanding of CT philanthropy is. That's why we've been asking you to share your grant information with Foundation Center. So far, 51 foundations have ensured that Foundation Center has accurate information about their grantmaking. Reach out to Laurie Allen to make sure your foundation's grants are accurately captured in CCP's work.

Facilitate More Learning Focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

As I wrote above, there was a clear call for more programming on DEI. I was delighted that over 70% of survey respondents indicated their organization is already exploring or engaging in work to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion. Still, we heard that there's a need for more learning. Over 100 people asked us to offer programs focused on: understanding structural racism, applying an equity lens to grantmaking, implicit bias, et al. In fact, equity programs received the strongest support of any programming topic that we offered.

We heard you. We plan to offer a day-long racial equity training to all of our members. We expect this to jump start your learning (and our learning!), and help provide a common language for us to use as we explore the role of structural racism in the issues we care about and in the sector in which we all work.

We'll compliment this training with numerous opportunities to learn more about race and racism, including a cohort-style program and one-off learning programs.

Lending and Inspiring Leadership

Since I arrived in May 2017, CCP has taken positions on several issues. We responded to the riots in Charlottesville, we took a position against the separation of children from their guardians at the border, and have been raising the visibility of the importance of a fair and accurate census.

We wanted to learn if you found this leadership and advocacy valuable to your organization and we overwhelmingly heard, "yes." Over 70% of respondents said that the voice and visibility that we lent these issues were valuable to their philanthropic organizations. That's incredibly helpful for us to hear.

We look forward to lending our leadership to critical issues in 2019 as well. But even more important - we hope to inspire you to lend your leadership to issues that are critical.

If you have ideas about how CCP can better support Connecticut's philanthropic community, please share them with me! We are always on the lookout for ways in which we can respond to our members' needs.

Karla Fortunato is president of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy. CCP's blog, Giving Voice, is a blog for and about grantmakers in Connecticut.

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