Be proud. Be very proud.
If you're a Liberty Hill donor or grantee, you may have sometimes felt as if you were, well, not under-appreciated, but stuck somewhere below a Kardashian sister on the "who's listening?" meter. You know that by supporting change, not charity, you're tapping into a powerful approach to effecting social progress. But does anyone else?
Now they do. Evidence that investing in advocacy, organizing and civic engagement in Los Angeles has resulted in a "return on investment" of $91 for each $1 of funding is offered in a new study by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. And at this morning's presentation of the study, Liberty Hill was an often-cited model.
NCRP organized the event, co-hosted by the Southern California Grantmakers, to urge foundations to, as California Community Foundation chief Antonia Hernandez put it, "not be so cautious and risk-averse" about supporting systemic change.
Funding grassroots advocacy is catching on. Today's L.A. Times article mentions notable "wins" by a few of the 15 nonprofits studied and notes that United Way supports some of the groups in the report.
Even as NCRP encouraged other foundations to get on board, there were kudos for Liberty Hill's penchant -- and passion-- for being at the frontlines of change. Panelists Richard Ross of The California Endowment, Madeline Janis of Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), and Maria Brenes of InnerCity Struggle each credited Liberty Hill's-- your-- farsightedness and commitment.
All 15 of the organizations selected for analysis are or have been Liberty Hill grantees and nine received their first funding from this foundation. In fact, several of them are included on this year's Liberty Hill List: 2010 Grassroots Leaders to Watch.
Feeling wonky? For details and numbers, you can order the 70-page illustrated booklet "Strengthening Democracy, Increasing Opportunities: Impacts of Advocacy, Organizing and Civic Engagement in Los Angeles" for just $10 at this NCRP publication order page. Or, go ahead, download it free at NCRP's website.
Post written by Liberty Hill Fellow Susan LaTempa.