For Immediate Release
Yna C. Moore | NCRP | E:
T: (202) 387-9177 x17
Nonprofits Bring Tremendous Benefits to Communities Through Citizen Involvement in Politics
Increase in wages, lower health care cost, affordable housing among real impact of strategic foundation funding
WASHINGTON - Americans received extraordinary benefits from the policy advocacy
and community organizing efforts by nonprofit organizations in their
area, funded by foundations and other donors, according to a series of
reports by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (http://www.ncrp.org).
Research on nearly 70 nonprofits from New Mexico, North Carolina,
Minnesota and Los Angeles County over a five year period showed that
these groups combined generated nearly $14 billion worth of benefits
for their diverse communities, and many other non-monetary gains. The
return for every dollar invested in these groups ranged from $89 to a
The latest study on 15 Los Angeles County nonprofit organizations
found that from 2004-08, area groups generated nearly $7 billion in
benefits for local citizens, including $2.6 billion in higher wages,
$2.2 billion in health care savings and more than $2 billion from
increased use of public transit, construction of new schools and
expanded affordable housing. These benefits were the direct result of
community involvement in public policy.
"While high profile commentators decry ‘community organizing,' this
report clearly demonstrates that such activity delivers enormous
benefits to communities. On every issue of concern to residents of Los
Angeles County, from clean air to immigration, from equality to
education, foundation support for community-based activist
organizations yields positive results," said Aaron Dorfman, executive
director of NCRP. "Foundation support turns indifference into democracy
and the benefits of a thriving democracy are indeed substantial."
Strengthening Democracy, Increasing Opportunities: Impacts of Advocacy, Organizing and Civic Engagement in Los Angeles County,
issued by NCRP, charts a dramatic, substantial return on investments in
policy engagement. For every dollar foundations and other donors
provided to community organizations engaged in advocacy and organizing,
the funded groups realized $91 in benefits to the communities they
In addition, the report tracks such non-monetized benefits as
protection of voting rights, improved working conditions and expanded,
more responsive service delivery to such marginalized groups as
lesbians and gays and residents with limited English proficiency.
"The report demonstrates that foundations best serve their own
objectives and generate the greatest impact on communities when we
support advocacy and organizing at the grassroots level. There is no
doubt that the impact could expand even more if we work in concert and
focus resources through strategic grantmaking," said Kafi Blumenfield,
CEO and executive director of the Liberty Hill Foundation, a Los
Angeles-based foundation that provided seed money and supported a
majority of the organizations featured in the report.
The report, written by NCRP Senior Research Associate Lisa Ranghelli
and Research Associate Julia Craig, recommends that foundations
increase grant funding for advocacy and organizing, help educate donors
about the benefits of advocacy funding, support effective collaboration
among community organizations, collaborate with other grant makers to
leverage resources and invest in the infrastructure and organizational
capacity of grassroots organizations over sustained periods of time.
"Los Angeles is richer, stronger, healthier and infinitely more
democratic because foundations have learned that advocacy, organizing
and civic engagement really do make a difference in the lives of
everyone," says Stewart Kwoh, executive director of L.A.'s Asian
Pacific American Legal Center, one of the 15 organizations surveyed in
the study. "When foundations support strategic grassroots initiatives,
every resident of Los Angeles benefits."
The reports on New Mexico, North Carolina and Minnesota, and a summary of findings
from all four study sites are available online for free download.
Research is currently underway for areas in the Pacific Northwest and
The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy 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. Visit http://www.ncrp.org.