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NCGives launches effort to expand philanthropy

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By Ret Boney and Todd Cohen

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Latinos in High Point are pooling dollars to address community needs in their hometown in Mexico, and in their new home in North Carolina.

African-American women in Ahoskie are sharing their time and money to improve their communities in rural Eastern North Carolina.

And teenagers in Charlotte, Greensboro, High Point and Mocksville are working together, with the help of local community foundations, to learn how be effective donors.

“If the church is an organization that will ask anybody, maybe other organizations need to start taking the same approach,” he said.

Chris Grumm, president of the Women’s Funding Network in San Francisco, encouraged women at the conference to become bolder in working for “social-change philanthropy.”

“We have an opportunity to make a difference in the world today,” she said. “We have the means, the access. We know the problems, and in some cases, we know the solutions.”

Grumm’s organization has helped developed 115 women’s funds on five continents that together give away about $50 million a year.

To broaden their impact, Grumm said, women must “think big and bold,” developing dreams and visions that can change society.

To make those visions reality, she said, women then should use their networks and power as consumers and philanthropists to bring about change, banding together to develop common agendas.

“When we partner with women and support the solutions they have on the ground, we are astounded by the results,” she said.

Based on its work with five initial NCGives partners, the conference was designed to “collect the stories” of innovation in diverse giving throughout the state, said Calvin Allen, deputy director of the Southern Rural Leadership Initiative in Raleigh and a member of the NCGives advisory board.

NCGives now plans to archive those stories, along with “philanthropic best practices” in the state, and to build a “more inclusive network of givers,” develop outlets for sharing those stories, and provide resource listings for philanthropists.

Next year, Allen said, NCGives may add partners, invest in workshops, consultants and matching funds to strengthen diverse giving, and look for ways to work with foundations to study how to spur innovation in conventional philanthropy and sustain NCGives’ work.

Founding partners of NCGives include the Center for Participatory Change, Creative Philanthropy, Hindsight Consulting, North Carolina People’s Coalition for Giving and the Youth Leadership Institute.

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