On January 22, 2015, the nonprofit organizations that Douty currently supports were invited to attend a ‘Meet & Greet’ event at Art Sanctuary in Philadelphia. Of our 55 supported organizations, 38 were represented at the event.
During the event, we asked those in attendance to gather in 1 of 7 groups (by mission-similarity ie. vulnerable children, vulnerable youth, arts education, literacy, immigration, women & girls, community centers) and we asked them:
‘What would you want to tell the funding community about your work’?
The following represents their responses (^^ indicates that more than 1 group presented that response).
– Advocacy matters! And to remember that impact is not always measured annually. It takes time to create and demonstrate impact. Social Issues need to be understood; need to move beyond easy indicators. How do measure the improvement in quality of life?^^
– Community-building is so important in under-served communities and neighborhoods.
– Safe spaces that cherish diversity and are community-driven are extremely important. Leveraging inter-generational relationships to build these safe spaces is critical.^^
– Concerns about funders driving/defining narratives and impact and not always in ways that reflect the needs of communities served.
– Literacy and expression are cornerstones of learning.
– Families and kids are dynamic and have a variety of needs; they therefore need a variety (holistic) kinds of services. Therefore collaborative work takes place and outcomes can become interdependent and change.
– “Fixed” categories of funding are not reflective of multiple missions/goals of one organization.
– Multi-year funding would be more helpful, as well as, General Operating grants.^^
– Arts are undervalued and funders do not seem to understand the importance of art’s transformational impact. And the successes are not easily quantified.
– Art centers are community glue/magnets.
– We need to place more youth in leadership positions.
– There is a de-prioritization by gender in programs and funding. Women & girls focused organizations develop self-advocates and female leaders to make change.
– Empowering women & girls benefits the whole community.
Douty hopes that other funders will consider the information shared below as they fulfill their grant-making role in the Philadelphia area.