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.
Foundation professionals have relatively few opportunities to discuss with each other their accumulated experience and expertise. The Senior Fellows Network program of The Synergos Institute identifies talented foundation leaders from vanguard philanthropic institutions worldwide and links them to a global learning and service network, with the goal of strengthening foundations in the developing world. Fellows serve as peer consultants to other foundations around the world; their work produces knowledge on trends and innovative models, which Synergos distributes to a wide audience. A Lodestar grant, which helped underwrite an annual meeting of the Senior Fellows, also supported the development of a marketing plan to promote the Senior Fellows Network program to the foundation community.
The Synergos Institute, with its expertise in expanding philanthropy around the world, wanted to create a culture of philanthropy in the former Soviet Union; the Eurasia Foundation has done extensive civic and economic development community work in the region. Pursuant to an invitation from Lodestar, Synergos and the Eurasia Foundation secured a planning grant that enabled both organizations to jointly assess the readiness of this region for philanthropic development. The grant led to a work plan, which can serve as the basis for an initial pilot project in the selected countries.
Youth generally lack the skills and desire to take positive social action in their communities. The Making Changemakers program of Pravah, an Indian nonprofit, designed and implemented a school-based curriculum enabling Indian youth (ages 12-16) to become informed and proactive citizens. Over the course of four years of Lodestar funding, the program evolved from working directly with students to preparing teachers to administer the program, thereby broadening the reach of the program and creating an opportunity for sustainability. An additional technical support grant from Lodestar enabled Pravah to engage a professional fundraiser to support sustainability efforts. Lodestar partnered with the Tata Foundation of India in funding all of Pravah's activities.
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.
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.
Because many donors are not aware of the nonprofits operating in their community and nonprofits do not have adequate resources to promote their activities to the public, the Arizona Community Foundation (ACF) created a virtual online marketplace for grantors and grantees, accompanied by a generic online grant application, to facilitate grantmaking. Lodestar provided one of the lead grants to develop the system software, which enabled nonprofits to: 1) post organizational information on a website for viewing by funders; and 2) apply for grants using the common grant application. ACF subsequently sold the system to a for-profit entity that is marketing the product nationally.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Four Lessons on #GivingTuesday article by Matthew Bishop
Initial 2016 #GivingTuesday Estimates at $168 Million
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.
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.