Leveraging Philanthropy and Collaboration

The Lodestar Foundation seeks to expand the overall capacity of the social sector by promoting philanthropy, volunteering, public service, nonprofit collaboration and other business practices.

Our Grants

Identification of Common Principles among Affiliates in Network

As an adjunct to its annual gathering, Social Venture Partners International included a facilitated leadership session to identify common themes and principles among the various SVP affiliates. Lodestar provided a grant to secure the  facilitator.

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Collaboration among Turkish Philanthropists Expanded

The Lodestar Foundation provided additional grants to The Synergos Institute to connect Turkish philanthropists in a way that is designed to encourage more collaboration among them.  Among other activities, the funding supported, the completion of a study on Turkish Philanthropy.

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Philanthropy Education in Eastern Europe

After the fall of the Soviet Union, former communist countries lacked a culture of philanthropy because, under communism, the government, rather than an independent social sector, had been providing for the social needs of citizens. The Lodestar Foundation, in conjunction with the Eurasia Foundation, the Synergos Institute and the Mott Foundation, coordinated a series of philanthropy workshops in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia for local corporate leaders and potential philanthropists. The workshops included speakers on community foundations, corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship/business partnerships and other methods of philanthropic involvement.

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Philanthropy Training Program

The Philanthropy Workshop (TPW) is a leader in ongoing strategic philanthropy education and networking by inspiring individuals and families to give more strategically.  Beyond administering a one-year program in strategic philanthropy, TPW manages the global network of its graduates (currently more than 400), hailing from many countries around the world.  Lodestar has provided a number of grants to TPW to increase its philanthropic impact. TPW was created by the Rockefeller Foundation in 1995 and operated by Rockefeller for its first ten years, after which it became two separate entities:  TPW West, based in Palo Alto, CA; and TPW, operated by the Institute of Philanthropy in London.  While Lodestar then provided a number of grants to both entities, we encouraged the two organizations to discuss ways to unify. In March 2014, the organizations merged under the TPW name.  Lodestar provided overall support for the merger.

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Philanthropy-Building Organization

The recent increase in wealth of young professionals and baby boomers has provided a fertile environment for encouraging philanthropy in new ways. . Social Venture Partners (“SVP”), a philanthropic giving circle with the dual mission of encouraging and teaching strategic philanthropy and supporting emerging non-profits, was initiated in Seattle in 1997. The Lodestar Foundation founded the second SVP group, Social Venture Partners Arizona (“SVPAZ”) in 1999 and was instrumental in creating the network that now includes 39 SVP affiliates in 12 countries. SVPAZ partners pool their money to invest in innovative nonprofits and then actively nurture their investments by providing hands-on technical assistance, business expertise and strategic guidance. Since inception, SVPAZ has (1) invested $4 million in community nonprofits serving children and education, (2) contributed thousands of hours of professional services to its investees, (3) initiated a venture philanthropy program for teenagers, and (4) recruited and trained more than 300 financially successful individuals (SVPAZ partners) to become strategic philanthropists.

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Philanthropy-Serving Organization

Exponent Philanthropy (formerly the Association of Small Foundations), is the largest membership philanthropy umbrella organization in the United States, providing programs and services to individual philanthropists and small or no-staff foundations.  Lodestar has made a number of grants over the years to strengthen Exponent's impact, including grants to support Exponent's evaluation efforts and to rebrand to more clearly define its constituency.

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Convenings of Philanthropists

The Synergos Institute, through its Global Philanthropists Circle, wanted to convene like-minded philanthropists within their countries to discuss common issues. Grants from Lodestar supported convenings in Mexico and Turkey. In Mexico, Synergos encouraged dialogue among foundations, civil society organizations, businesses, government and academia in Mexico in order to deal with youth education and employment issues. In Turkey, a select group of Turkish philanthropists came together for a peer learning exchange.

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International Philanthropy-Building Network

Although like-minded nonprofits may recognize the value of creating an umbrella organization to help sustain and support their common activities, they often don’t have the necessary resources to do so. Social Venture Partners International (SVPI) was formed to brand, support, expand and enhance the work of the individual Social Venture Partner groups around the world. A series of Lodestar Foundation grants have supported annual SVPI conferences in both local communities and internationally, the development and standardization of the SVPI brand and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the SVP model, the results of which are being used by the SVP network members (currently in the US, Australia, Canada, China, India and Japan) to increase effectiveness and demonstrate the impact of the model on their respective communities.

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#GivingTuesday - a National Philanthropy Day

Modeled after the post-Thanksgiving consumer days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday was created to inspire all sectors of society in communities around the world to support nonprofits on one dedicated day leading into the holiday season, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Lodestar provided a lead grant to launch the project; additional grants provided funding to support ongoing operations of the initiative. In 2016, more than 1.56 million donors in 98 countries around the world donated over $168 million.  In total after 5 years, over $376.3 million has been raised for nonprofits.

Nonprofits Raise Nearly $2 Billion Online and Off on GivingTuesday – The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 12/4/19
Four Lessons on #GivingTuesday article by Matthew Bishop
Initial 2016 #GivingTuesday Estimates at $168 Million


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Philanthropy Exhibit at Children?s Museum

For a child, exposure to philanthropy generally depends upon whether the child’s family embraces philanthropy. Recognizing that it is beneficial to instill the practice and values of philanthropy at an early age, Lodestar made a grant to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix to support internal and external collaborative activities.

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Charitable Donations through Planned Giving

Most small nonprofits cannot afford the services of someone skilled in the marketing and implementation of planned giving. Leave a Legacy was a national public awareness initiative dedicated to educating nonprofits and the general public about the benefits of planned giving and providing tools to facilitate such gifts. Phoenix promoted the initiative longer than any other community, with Lodestar support over the years of its operation in Phoenix.

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Directory to Support Grantmakers

The National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers (NNCG) launched an outreach effort to identify qualified consultants with whom grantmakers and philanthropists can work to increase their effectiveness and good practices. Lodestar Foundation funding supported the outreach, including NNCG’s partnerships with national and regional funder associations to expand the use of directory information.

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Online Platform to Help Donors Make Philanthropic Decisions

Recognizing the tools such as online review and ratings posted by people who have volunteered or donated to nonprofits, as well as stories of people who have benefited from their services, help prospective donors and volunteers make informed choices, GreatNonprofits needed funding to increase the capacity of its web-based platform to facilitate partnerships with other online nonprofit databases. The Lodestar Foundation supported, through a series of challenge grants, the ability for GreatNonprofits to expand its online capabilities to permit users to rate more than 1.2 million nonprofits on their website or those of partner sites such as GuideStar.

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Philanthropy in the Southwestern US

Arizona State University (ASU) is America’s largest university. Its previously-existing center for nonprofit education had been functioning well as a local and national nonprofit resource, with over 1,000 students enrolled in its programs and hundreds of nonprofits taking advantage of its offerings. Research, education, nonprofit assistance and community programs, all managed through the center, bolster the nonprofit sector and allow for assessment and knowledge sharing in the community. However, because there was no central location for philanthropy scholarship and education in the southwest, the Lodestar Foundation entered into a partnership with ASU to incorporate into the existing center a local and regional resource for philanthropy. The enhanced center – named The Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation - has the means and vision to become the premier resource in the Southwest. Because of the Center’s already preeminent position in the industry, it has the tools to grow into a hub for research, scholarship and promotion of philanthropy nationwide, while catapulting Arizona into a leading role in the growth of philanthropy.

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Philanthropy Shops in Model Youth Communities

BizTown, a Junior Achievement hands-on learning facility in the form of a staged mini-city, encourages fifth- and sixth-grade students to learn about the free enterprise system by participating in a simulated town. Students take part in day-long sessions in which each student assumes the role of a business community member in operating a BizTown store and interacts with other student business community members. Recognizing the importance of teaching children to be philanthropic, the Phoenix-area Junior Achievement, in partnership with the Lodestar Foundation, developed a BizTown pilot program, "The Philanthropy Shop," where student Philanthropy Shop operators solicit philanthropic donations (in BizTown money) and volunteers from other BizTown student business operators. During the successful three-year pilot program, more than 51,000 students were exposed to the concept of philanthropy, of which 98 percent could define philanthropy after their participation and 71 percent chose to give a portion of their BizTown earnings during the program. The Lodestar Foundation provided funds for the three-year pilot program and to continue the program in Arizona for an additional two years. After funding the creation and continuation of the Philanthropy Shop in Phoenix, the Lodestar Foundation provided a grant to develop an implementation kit, complete with classroom curriculum, simulation activity design and shop set-up and décor, to expand the program to five additional cities. Today, all 25 BizTown locations in the U.S. have a Nonprofit Shop, and the majority of these are Philanthropy Shops.

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Statewide Giving Day

The Arizona Grantmakers Forum and the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits coordinated a state-wide giving day to encourage donations to Arizona nonprofit organizations. The inaugural Arizona Gives Day, March 20, 2013, generated $928,541 in donations from 8,584 unique donors. Since 2013, Arizona Gives Day has raised more than $7 million for Arizona nonprofits. The Lodestar Foundation, along with other Arizona-based foundations, provided funding for infrastructure support of the premier Arizona Gives Day.

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Jewish Youth Philanthropy Program

The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix created the B’nai Tzedek Youth Philanthropy Program to educate and train teenagers to be philanthropic. The participants contribute to a special fund, study philanthropy and local nonprofits, make site visits and collectively discuss and award grants. The Lodestar Foundation was an initial funder of the program.

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Online Grantmaker Learning System

Launched in 2010 under the leadership of the Council on Foundations and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, LearnPhilanthropy implemented a vision of creating a field-wide, robust system for grantmaker learning. In 2011, the Lodestar Foundation provided LearnPhilanthropy a challenge grant to engage a business planning consultant to help the newly-formed organization develop a sustainable business model. The knowledge-building site is now housed at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University.

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Portfolio Management Tool for Social Investors

Lodestar, along with the Skoll, Kellogg and Rockefeller Foundations and Google.org, provided seed money to Acumen Fund to develop the PULSE platform, a portfolio management tool for the sector that allows individual social investors to track performance against targets on financial, operational, social and environmental metrics. Beyond providing a more effective means of tracking performance data, PULSE has helped small and growing businesses (“SGBs”) manage their business by identifying inefficiencies and reallocating resources to maximize impact.

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Youth Philanthropy in Former Soviet Bloc Country

For countries without a tradition of philanthropy, empowering young people to effect positive social change in their communities is a challenge. A multi-donor demonstration project in the former Soviet Union country of Azerbaijan placed real-life opportunities for decision-making and resource allocation in the hands of young people throughout the country by: 1) training groups of young people to identify pressing local issues and community change agents, manage a grantmaking process, and evaluate their grants; 2) providing the funds for grants to be made by the youth groups; and 3) linking the participants to other youth fund networks around the world to share lessons learned and develop additional capacity. Lodestar joined with the Eurasia Foundation, the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to fund the original project that later expanded into Armenia and Georgia.

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