Climate, education seen ripe for funding

To have maximum impact for their philanthropic dollar next year and beyond, foundations should pursue investments that tackle policy change and education, among others, a new report says.

Those are two of four funding opportunities that are urgent, often neglected and high-impact, says the 2010 High-Impact Giving Opportunities report from Arabella Philanthropic Investment Advisors.

Philanthropists should target their dollars toward advocating for climate-change policies, an activity that fewer than 12 percent of foundations currently engage in.

Funders also should support mergers and partnerships between human-services groups, which have suffered the double blow of falling revenue and rising need during the recession.

Such restructuring could help vital community organizations survive the downturn and possibly resume growth in its wake.

By combining their innovation and flexibility with government’s scale and access, foundations help improve public education by funding new programs and helping plug funding gaps.

And in addition to providing grants, foundations can boost community development by providing mission-related loans and investments to community-based groups.

“Charting a course in philanthropy today is complicated, but there is more opportunity and innovation in the field than perhaps ever before, Bruce Boyd, managing director of Arabella, says in a statement. “Donors are more focused than ever on seeing concrete returns on their philanthropic investments, and this will continue to require new thinking and action from everyone in the philanthropic sector.”

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