Here’s an interesting article sent by our friends at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (who just celebrated their 35th anniversary with a bouyant reception at the Kapor Center). In the NCRP’s latest quarterly journal, Jan Masaoka, a Bay Area doyenne of nonprofit organizational management, offers suggestions for addressing the foundation/nonprofit power differential head-on. Save the occasional snarky wise crack, this is a necessary critique of a troublesome dynamic that lingers in the nonprofit/philanthropic sector.
While we at the Kapor Foundation we do recognize that our relationships with nonprofit grantseekers is “driven by institutional interests and fundamentally about money,” we nevertheless do try to speak sincerely about partnerships – to the degree they’re possible given the presence of financial resources as a “spoiler” of sorts.
And contrary to Masaoka’s last bullet-pointed piece of advice to nonprofits, some of us hate fawning and can smell it coming. Really. Just say no.