Capturing Impact

Our Recap of A Gathering of Leaders 2014

Undertapped Resources A salon session that offered a candid dialogue around what types of resources are available in the Boys and Men of Color funding space, how to access them, and what nonprofits should do when resources are not available.


Sherrie Deans Admiral Center
William Buster Kellogg Foundation
Damon T. Hewitt Open Societies Foundation
Khary Lazarre-White Brotherhood/Sister Sol
Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez GetEQUAL

Main Points

  • Foundations are not going to fund social justice work that is long term. Social justice work has been going on for centuries, but foundations have not been the lead. They can certainly support the work.
  • Foundations are not ultimately going to be the cure to social ills. It’s not going to be possible to fund our way out of social issues.
  • You have to be true to your work and measure it the way you think is best. We can’t speak every foundation’s language. You have to find a way to tell your story to demonstrate your impact, and that needs to start from the inside, not the outside. You also need to be honest with your struggles and failures.

Fundraising Strategy

  • We have to think about doing our work and sustaining it with and without foundations.
  • Diversify your income streams, make sure every board member is bringing in some kind of resource, and hire and pay for the appropriate skills needed for fundraising.

Relationships with Foundations

  • It’s difficult to build a relationship with a foundation. It’s easier and more valuable to build a relationship with a program officer. If you make a good connection, it will give you access to a lot of doors beyond grants.
  • It’s key to understand that if you build a relationship with someone in a foundation that there are times where their priorities might diverge from yours because they have pressure from other places.

My Brother’s Keeper

  • We need to use My Brother’s Keeper as a way to get more people on the ground to get involved. The stage is set.
  • The greatest potential with My Brother’s Keeper is for some real policy reform.

Standout Quotes

"How you change public discourse and how people think about the issues is one of the early step to a victory. It will help make an issue everyone’s issue and not just our issue." Damon Hewitt
"My ancestors have survived all these generations—slavery, rape—and I am here. I have to remember that." Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez.
"Be intentional about some unlikely partners. Utilize networks on how to tell the story." Damon Hewitt