“Philanthropy Needs to Go Where Government Won’t.” A Funder Looks Out for Sex Workers – Inside Philanthropy

The health and safety of sex workers: It’s not an issue most of us tend to think about every day, but it’s yet another example of how marginalized populations are often left out of essential public policy discussions on subjects like health care, housing, education, and workforce development.

That’s why we thought it would be a good idea to jump on the phone with some leaders in the field of health and safety for sex workers to find out what philanthropy is doing, and what philanthropy could do, about this segment of our community. We talked with Scott Campbell, executive director of the Elton John Aids Foundation (EJAF), and Crystal DeBoise, co-director of the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center, to learn more about what is going on for sex workers, and what philanthropy can do to bring this issue in from the margins.

via “Philanthropy Needs to Go Where Government Won’t.” A Funder Looks Out for Sex Workers – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

What’s Behind These Surprisingly Big Grants to Boost Small Businesses?  – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence

President Obama has talked a lot in the past year or two about “middle-out” economics—the idea that prosperity is driven not by a few job creators at the top, but by building a thriving middle class. Historically, a robust small business sector has been one key to such broad prosperity, and philanthropic efforts in this area have lately gained steam. Still, there’s not a huge number of funders focusing here in a big way, and many that do are from the business world and see a win-win in boosting mobility while expanding their customer base.

One funder in this space, as we’ve reported before, is Sam’s Club and the Sam’s Club Giving Program. Now it’s stepping things up, recently announcing the Small Business Economic Mobility initiative, a five-year investment in small business growth through increased access to capital and financial skills education. The move was unveiled during National Small Business Week.

via What’s Behind These Surprisingly Big Grants to Boost Small Businesses?  – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

With the Ax Starting to Fall at MacArthur, Housing Takes a Hit – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy

On Twitter, lots of folks in the nonprofit sector are passing on the news of the end of MacArthur’s work in studying and building affordable housing. There is very little commentary, yet. It seems like people just don’t know what to say.

The article in the Chicago Tribune—the only article available online about the announcement so far—reads like a grim obituary, sharing the highlights of MacArthur’s investments in housing initiatives, and quoting housing leaders who are already feeling the pain about MacArthur bowing out. Other leaders pay tribute to MacArthur’s housing work and the way in which a lot of big things could not have happened without the foundation’s support.

via With the Ax Starting to Fall at MacArthur, Housing Takes a Hit – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

May the Best Study Win: Will More Funding for Evidence-Based Policy Make a Difference? – Inside Philanthropy

If you want to change public policy in the United States, you’ll eventually find your way to the influential world of Washington think tanks. The Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF), one of the most aggressive foundations seeking to move big ideas, has been investing in Beltway policy shops for a while now. Earliest this year, in its biggest such give yet, the foundation made an $8.4 million grant to the Urban Institute to help develop its Pay for Success work. Now Arnold is taking things a step further: It’s setting up its own wonk operation in the nation’s capital.

via May the Best Study Win: Will More Funding for Evidence-Based Policy Make a Difference? – Inside Philanthropy: Fundraising Intelligence – Inside Philanthropy.

A Look at the Arnold Foundation’s Big Bet on Social Innovation Financing – Think Tanks | Research | Grants – Inside Philanthropy

Three big multi-year grants went out from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation starting in 2014 to investigate and support “Social Innovation Financing.” And this is just part of the picture of what the Arnolds are doing to fund Pay for Success (PFS) initiatives. What is going on with this new trend?

via A Look at the Arnold Foundation’s Big Bet on Social Innovation Financing – Think Tanks | Research | Grants – Inside Philanthropy.

Edna McConnell Clark’s Big Experiment to Mobilize More Capital to Help Kids – Inside Philanthropy

We’ve all heard the complaint: Nonprofits, even some of the great ones, just can’t get to the scale needed to have real impact. And funders, even ones that believe in these nonprofits, too often won’t lift a finger to help organizations really break out.

Well, here’s a story about a funder that set out to break this familiar pattern, and what it learned.

In 2007, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (EMCF) launched something called the Growth Capital Aggregation Pilot, which was a collaborative funding effort to mobilize $120 million in capital to “propel the growth of effective nonprofits poised for scale.”

The foundation was taking some big risks. It was taking a risk on the three social service grantees in which it initially made exponential investments. It was also risking its time and money, as it not only rounded up a number of funders to join the effort, but greatly increased its own investments.

via Edna McConnell Clark’s Big Experiment to Mobilize More Capital to Help Kids – Children | Youth | Grants – Inside Philanthropy.