Cultivating Nonprofit Leadership: A (Missed?) Philanthropic Opportunity

by Niki Jagpal; Ryan Schlegel

Mar 1, 2015
From 2003-2012, the country's top foundations dedicated only 0.8 percent of total grants to nonprofit leadership development. And yet, as shown by recent historic progress around immigration, criminal justice and other social justice movements, we need leaders who are strong, skilled and connected to successfully realize positive, social change. What kind of leadership development do social change-makers need to be successful? How can foundations measure the impact of leadership development? What are the most common barriers to funding such programs and how can we overcome these challenges? What can we learn from foundations that are already supporting transformational leadership development, and from the recipients of such support? This report answers these questions and offers the following recommendations to foundations that wish to invest in the current and future leaders of social justice movements:
  • Begin or increase funding for leadership development.
  • Integrate leadership development with program strategy.
  • Engage with grantees as true partners.
  • Use a culturally inclusive lens.
  • Build capacity that supports leadership development.
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