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How Carmen Randolph’s Revolutionary WFS will Transform Philanthropy

As the Founding President and CEO of Women’s Foundation of the South (WFS), Carmen James Randolph will create huge change in philanthropy.

Carmen James Randolph, former VP for Programs of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, will take on a new role as the Founding President and CEO of WFS. (Image credit: Women's Foundation of the South)
Carmen James Randolph, former VP for Programs of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, will take on a new role as the Founding President and CEO of WFS. (Image credit: Women’s Foundation of the South)

Carmen James Randolph, noted philanthropy leader and former Vice President for Programs of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, has been announced as the Founding President and CEO of Women’s Foundation of the South (WFS), a revolutionary first-of-its-kind foundation founded by and created for women and girls of color in the South to advance gender and racial justice. As President and CEO, she will stand up this exciting new entity, build its team, broker partnerships with women of color leaders across the South to inform WFS’ work and investments, and oversee the strategic direction and day-to-day operations.

WFS, which will have a permanent endowment, will serve as a gateway for donors, foundations, corporations, and individual investors to maximize the social impact of their investments in women and girls of color in the South. WFS’s mission is to center and invest in the collective power, health, well- being, economic security, and leadership of women and girls of color in the South, with the vision of creating a flourishing South where women and girls of color are healthy, safe, and well-resourced to determine their own destinies, so they and their families thrive.

Ms. Randolph is well known for her expertise in building and leading regional and national networks of grantmakers that advance systemic reform through action, rich community partnerships, and investment. She has deftly leveraged more than $20M in new investments from national and regional funders to support marginalized communities. As a seasoned grantmaker, she has led more than $11M in annual grantmaking from discretionary initiatives and competitive donor-advised funds. She is skilled in building nonprofit capacity through sustained operating support and strategic investments in organizational development at critical moments in a nonprofits’ life cycle. She has an abiding respect for the home wisdom of community leaders.

Her stalwart leadership at the Greater New Orleans Foundation dramatically transformed its grantmaking, programmatic initiatives, and strategic focus. Her work in disaster grantmaking influenced the equitable practices of other regional funders, establishing the Foundation as a leader regionally and nationally in this area. Her work is grounded in equity and inclusion in all programmatic work and grantmaking strategies. She consistently builds dynamic and diverse teams with outstanding recruiting and retention skills to expand organizations’ influence and extend their expertise and impact. This will greatly enhance WFS’ work, which is critically important due to a long history of institutionalized racism and disenfranchisement in the South.

As stated by the Ms. Foundation for Women, which recently published a comprehensive Call To Action called Pocket Change, notes: “Women, particularly women and girls of color, continue to navigate decades-old, complex systems of oppression and a daily onslaught of threats to their autonomy, safety, and well-being. Even in the absence of proportionate formal political power, women (especially women of color) have led and served as the backbone of nearly every impactful grassroots movement in the United States, including labor movements and the civil rights movement.”

WFS recognizes that women of color continue to do the most with the least amount of resources and support. WFS challenges us to imagine what is possible if women and girls of color had more to lead the change needed in their communities and advance their economic well-being. Led by Carmen James Randolph, WFS represents the social justice and transformational change so direly needed in our nation, particularly in the South.


WFS is a 501(c)3 organization for women and girls of color in the South, and led by the same, founded on the principle that solutions are often held by those closest to the problem. WFS raises funds for active programs, services, and resources for women and girls of color and their families to stimulate building health, wealth, and power, and will serve women of color in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.


Media Contact:

Penny Guyon, Firefly Media 323.874.0772 [email protected]

Tashion Macon, BPC, 818.749.8786 [email protected]


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Candid launches ‘U.S. social sector’ dashboard | Philanthropy news

Candid has launched a U.S. Social Sector Dashboard, a free resource designed to “demystify” the sector by providing data on its scope, constraints, and potential.

Developed with funding from Amazon Web Services and Vanguard Charitable, the dashboard offers key data and insights about the makeup and impact of civil society, including previously unreleased statistics on the racial composition of leaders and funding flows to charities. According to the dashboard, the social sector, which employs 12.5 million people, comprises more than 1.81 million nonprofit organizations: 501(c)(3) charitable organizations (80 percent), which include public charities (73 percent) and private or community foundations (7 percent); 501(c)(4) advocacy and social welfare groups (4 percent); 501(c)(6) business associations (4 percent); 501(c)(7) social and recreation clubs (3 percent); labor unions and other 501(c)(5) groups (3 percent); and fraternal societies categorized as 501(c)(8) and 501(c)(10) organizations (2 percent).

According to the dashboard, religious organizations currently make up 18 percent of public charities, followed by those focused on human services (17 percent), community and economic development (15 percent), education (14 percent), sports and recreation (8 percent), arts and culture (7 percent), philanthropy and nonprofit management (7 percent), health (7 percent), and the environment and animal welfare (4 percent). In terms of funding flow, in 2018 public charities received $292 billion in contributions from individuals, $76 billion from foundations, $40 billion from bequests, and $20 billion from corporations; $174 billion in government support; and $1.6 trillion in earned income.

And among reporting nonprofits, 60 percent of CEOs identified as white, 10 percent as Black, 5 percent as Latinx, 3 percent as Asian/AAPI, 1 percent as Native American/Indigenous, 3 percent as multiracial/multiethnic, and 1 percent as additional ethnicities, while 17 percent did not disclose. Among board members, 66 percent were white, 15 percent Black, 7 percent Latinx, 5 percent Asian/AAPI, 1 percent Native American/Indigenous, 2 percent multiracial/multiethnic, and 0.4 percent additional ethnicities, while 4 percent did not disclose.

“Candid exists to get people the information they need about the social sector to do good. Many of our tools focus on one organization, one grant, or one issue at a time; that kind of focus can be critical for decision makers,” said Candid executive vice president Jacob Harold. “This new dashboard builds on that focus by offering a fuller picture of the social sector as a whole. We hope that this tool will help people build a better understanding of the nonprofit and philanthropic ecosystem and its central role in our society.”

(Photo credit: GettyImages/Prostock Studio)

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UW–Madison receives $20 million for Letters & Science building | Philanthropy news

The University of Wisconsin–Madison has announced a $20 million lead gift from brothers and alumni Jeff Levy (’72) and Marv Levy (’68, JD ’71) in support of a new academic building in the College of Letters & Science.

Construction on Irving and Dorothy Levy Hall, named for the parents of Jeff and Marv, is expected to begin in 2023 and be completed in 2025. Once complete, the building will establish a unified home for the Department of History and nine other L&S academic departments, programs, and centers that currently are spread across eight facilities on campus. The five-story building will feature nineteen classrooms as well as a space where students can gather and interact informally with each other and their instructors to maximize collaboration.

The Levy brothers own and operate Phillips Distributing Corporation in Madison. Their commitment was contingent upon the Wisconsin state legislature and governor including the project in the 2021-23 state budget with $60 million in state support, which occurred earlier this year.

“We envision this vital new facility as a highly collaborative and state-of-the-art learning environment for all,” said College of Letters & Science dean Eric Wilcots. “We are immensely grateful to the Levy family for their support of this vision. Our students deserve classroom space that enhances interactive learning and engagement through cutting-edge technology. They also deserve a building that inspires, rather than intimidates. The Levy family’s gift will reverberate through future generations, touching many lives.”

“We are proud to help make this building a reality. We hope it will be a central educational location for the undergraduate experience at UW-Madison,” said Marv Levy. “Our hope is that by honoring our family legacy of charitable giving with this gift, we can offer to future generations some of the opportunity that the UW has provided us.”

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U.S. nonprofit sector uneven in impact and recovery, report finds | Philanthropy news

While nonprofits have contributed significantly to U.S. society and economy in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health of the sector is uneven in both impact and recovery, a new report from Independent Sector finds.

Based on aggregated survey and research data from multiple sources in four categories — financial resources, human capital, governance and trust, and public policy and advocacy — the second edition of the Health of the U.S. Nonprofit Sector (43 pages, PDF) found that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic varied by subsector and organization size, with arts organizations and those that rely on fees for service hit especially hard. Yet, even as 40 percent of nonprofits saw declines in total revenue and all subsectors except social services saw drops in gross output, the sector contributed 5.9 percent of GDP in 2020 — up 0.4 percentage points from 2019. And while 57 percent of nonprofits cut overall expenses, 64 percent suspended services, 44 percent reduced the number of programs or services, and 47 percent reported serving fewer people in 2020, Independent Sector’s Trust in Civil Society survey found that, as of early 2021, 57 percent of surveyed Americans had received nonprofit services and 84 percent expressed confidence in the ability of nonprofits to strengthen American society, up 3 percentage points from 2020.

According to the report, the sector’s advocacy efforts in 2020 helped secure notable federal resources that served as financial lifelines to nonprofits, particularly through the Paycheck Protection Program, payroll tax credits, and temporary universal charitable deduction. In addition, a study by Nonprofit VOTE found that voter engagement efforts helped reach underrepresented communities and narrow participation gaps.

The report outlines recommendations in each category to strengthen the sector, including prioritizing flexible funding, developing a shared understanding of equitable financing, promoting evidence-based practices to close workforce diversity and equity gaps, building capacity of virtual volunteering, improving the quality and depth of metrics for equity and “healthy” governance, improving digital access and literacy, and establishing public policy advocacy as a core competency of nonprofit management and governance.

“We have much to do to build the nation we, as changemakers, dream of becoming,” wrote Independent Sector president and CEO Dan Cardinali in the report’s foreword. “What can galvanize us to greater positive action? It’s that the everlasting human qualities of resilience, kindness, and collaborating for collective progress do not fade easily. They are within our grasp every day, giving all of us hope and confidence. The health of our nation is the sum of the richness and diversity of our members and sectors working together, elevating dignity, honoring our differences, and building for the common good.”

(Photo credit: Los Angeles Regional Food Bank)

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