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Advocacy by 13 N.C. Nonprofits Brings Statewide Benefits

Resource type: News

National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) |

Washington, D.C. (5/07/2009) – For every dollar that foundations and other funding sources gave to support advocacy, organizing and civic engagement efforts by 13 nonprofit organizations in North Carolina, state residents received $89 in benefits. This is one of the findings in a new report by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) to be released on Monday, May 11 at a gathering of foundation and nonprofit leaders in Greensboro, N.C. hosted by the N.C. Center for Nonprofits and North Carolina Network of Grantmakers. “Strengthening Democracy, Increasing Opportunities: Impacts of Advocacy, Organizing and Civic Engagement in North Carolina” by Lisa Ranghelli and Julia Craig documents how these local organizations and their allies leveraged foundation grants to secure nearly $2 billion in benefits for North Carolinians. “We weren’t surprised by how high the return on investment turned out to be,” said Aaron Dorfman, executive director of NCRP. “With our research, we are giving foundations in North Carolina and around the country reasons to increase their support for efforts that advocate on and organize around critical policy issues, and involve citizens in the process.” NCRP also found non-monetary gains from these activities on a range of issues including poverty, worker rights, education, health care, housing, environment and civil rights. Consequently, many North Carolinians saw concrete improvements in their lives. For example, more seniors were able to access affordable medications. An estimate of more than 139,000 minimum wage workers saw their income increase. “We found that advocacy, organizing and civic engagement helped build bridges across race, culture, class and other divides,” said Ranghelli, senior research associate and lead author of the report. “These are virtually unquantifiable, but the benefits are undeniable.” North Carolina has a vibrant community of foundations that has grown over the years. A number of these foundations were critical supporters of the work by the nonprofits included in the study. “Our foundations are endlessly on the lookout for ways to serve our communities,” said Bobbi Hapgood, executive director of the NC Network of Grantmakers. “We look to this report as a resource for how foundations may partner with some nonprofits and affect change in their communities.” The 13 nonprofits from different regions in North Carolina featured in the research are: Center for Community Action, Center for Participatory Change, Communities Helping All Neighbors Gain Empowerment (CHANGE), Concerned Citizens of Tillery, Durham CAN, Equality North Carolina, Helping Empower Local People (HELP), NC Housing Coalition, NC Justice Center, Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods, Senior PharmAssist, Student Action with Farmworkers, and Toxic Free North Carolina. “Some grantmakers know how to boost their impact by supporting nonprofits that increase public awareness of social problems and propose solid improvements in public policy.” said Jane Kendall, president of the N.C. Center for Nonprofits. “This study may encourage more grantmakers to invest in nonprofits that engage people to solve problems and address root causes of problems, not just alleviate symptoms. This approach is especially effective now when foundations’ assets are down because of the economy.” On Monday, representatives from foundations, the 13 nonprofits and other organizations from North Carolina will discuss the results and share ideas on how to better document, communicate, and achieve impact using policy advocacy, community organizing and civic engagement. Hodding Carter III, former president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will be giving the keynote address. The event program is available at, where “Strengthening Democracy, Increasing Opportunities: Impacts of Advocacy, Organizing and Civic Engagement in North Carolina” will be also available for free download beginning May 11. The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) in Washington, D.C. is a national watchdog, research and advocacy organization that promotes philanthropy that serves the public good, is responsive to people and communities with the least wealth and opportunity, and is held accountable to the highest standards of integrity and openness. For more information, visit ###