Funder Affinity Groups
- A group or network of funders that come together around a shared interest.
- Circles where funders can interact, and often collaborate, to maximize impact.
There is a funder affinity group for about every community or issue imaginable.
Most affinity groups are hosted by a larger organization, such as the Minnesota Council of Foundations. We thought we would jump on the wagon and provide a couple links for affinity groups sponsored by the national Council of Foundations and Minnesota Council of Foundations:
- The National Council of Foundations affinity groups
- Minnesota Council of Foundations affinity groups
Implications for Grantseekers:
- As a prospecting resource, lists of affinity group foundation members are a good way to find out which funders are interested in K-12 funding or homelessness.
- Also as a prospecting tool, sometimes affinity groups will list the names of program officers who represent the foundation at the affinity group table. Good to know which program officers are serious about health issues.
- Often affinity groups will talk about upcoming conferences or webinars. It’s good to know what issues are in the forefront of climate change funders and what kind of language and terms funders are using.
The power and promise of feminist movements
-Lighting the Way, including history, interviews, and recommendations for philanthropy.
Notably, feminist movements have achieved their successes with minimal philanthropic support. In 2017, less than 1 percent of total foundation giving was directed to women’s rights organizations.
Recommendations for funders:
- Understand power structures that shape our homes, communities, and systems.
- Re-examine risk. Recognize the greatest risk is not investing in the feminist leaders and organizations that are actively tackling systemic injustice—and facing well-funded opposition.
Support feminist funds.
- Shift your practices. Expand your sourcing beyond your close-in network, and ensure your diligence practices aren’t screening out feminist movements. Fund across the ecosystem and provide long-term general operating support.
- Measure what matters to movements. The multifaceted work of movements requires a range of measures. Work with grantees to define success—and allow them to pivot as needed.
- Topping the list of application complaints was funders who require a grant seeker to complete an application without letting them see it beforehand.
- Lengthy applications in relation to the small amount of cash being provided.
- Repetitive questions.
- Character limits on response.
Solutions from the growing practice of “Trust-Based Philanthropy” include shorter applications, a shift toward more general operating funds, and flexibility in how foundation grant money can be use.