New Tools to Help You Create Change

The school year is now in full swing, which means as a working mom, when I’m not on Candid duty, I’m staffing my kids’ activities and coordinating carpools with other busy parents. I’m happy to champion their latest interests, but the time and energy I invest makes me aware of the embedded inequities of a system that relies on parental involvement for educational and enrichment activities. From the time and fees involved, it’s easy to see how the paywall to such activities is too high for many families.

This experience and awareness deepens my appreciation for the newest Candid tools that are designed to help philanthropy contribute to a more fair and just society. I’m excited to announce that today we launched Scholarships for Change, a new website that documents how donors are harnessing scholarships as a force for change.

Through scholarships, fellowships, and grants philanthropic institutions can and do work to increase access to enrichment and educational opportunities. As donors become more ambitious in tackling the world’s issues, some have developed strategies to create change that extends far beyond an individual recipient—from increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion to creating an economic engine in struggling communities, and more.

Funded by the Ford and Mellon Foundations, Scholarships for Change provides a centralized place for donors to learn from peer strategies and funding trends. The site includes an interactive grants map, a curated knowledge center, and 12 new GrantCraft case studies that together serve to orient, inform, and empower donors with a road map to effective scholarship philanthropy.

The case studies, written by philanthropic advisor and friend, Jane L. Polin, cover the areas of change most frequently addressed by scholarship programs and identify strategies, approaches, and lessons learned by experienced funders. From Ascendium’s provision of emergency financial aid for unexpected student expenses, to the LeBron James Family Foundation’s strategy of engaging whole families in supporting first-generation college students, the case studies provide an inspiring and informative behind-the-scenes look at how funders are enabling transformative change for scholars everywhere.

I also want to highlight another important tool we launched just a few weeks ago, Investing in Native Communities. This interactive site aims to encourage greater philanthropic funding and support to Native American communities. It includes funding data, a new research report, and a GrantCraft case study on improving how we talk about and collect data in Native communities. One particularly unique and inspiring feature of the site is the rich history captured through a historic timeline developed from a Native perspective. This is a tool I look forward to sharing beyond philanthropy, including with my kids so they can understand more about the history of Native Americans and the land we live on.

Both of these sites are designed to support funders who are delving into this work for the first time as well as more experienced funders who want to increase their capacity and knowledge. Each site can help you understand your role in the field and highlight opportunities to collaborate or plug in. Even if scholarships and Native communities aren’t the focus of your work, the strategies and insights shared can be carried across the field.

At a time when institutional philanthropy is grappling with increasing criticism about how it wields its power and influence, both of these new sites present hopeful signals that philanthropy can be part of the solution. I hope you enjoy exploring them as much as I have.

This letter originally appeared in GrantCraft's newsletter. To stay updated with our newsletter and special alerts, sign up here.