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Big Philanthropy Supports Economic Recovery

Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation and Eric Braverman, Chief Executive Officer of Schmidt Futures, Serve As Co-Chairs to launch Fund supporting Low-income, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, BIPOC, Young, Immigrant, Women, Caregivers, Disabled, and LGBTQ People

(Image credit: Families and Workers Fund)

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Families and Workers Fund (FWF) today announced the launch of a five-year collaborative philanthropy dedicated to building a more equitable economy that uplifts all. Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has created a once-in-a-generation opening to improve the lives of workers and their families, FWF will work to deploy funding and build partnerships to help repair and reimagine the systems that fuel economic security, opportunity and mobility. The Fund seeks to advance jobs that sustain and uplift people and also invest in the development of a more inclusive, effective public benefits system, with a focus on unemployment insurance. It will be co-chaired by Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation and Eric Braverman, Chief Executive Officer, Schmidt Futures.

COVID-19 highlighted the struggles and inequities that have long plagued the United States. Prior to the pandemic, more than 40% of families could not afford the basics, from groceries to rent and child care. During the pandemic, layoffs fell hardest on those earning the least, with nearly half of the lowest-paid workers losing their jobs. Many have been locked out of the country’s recovery and prosperity, unable to access much-needed and deserved support to help their families weather a crisis. The social safety net and the economy can and should work for all people, especially those historically excluded from opportunity, including low-income communities, Black, indigenous, Latinx, other people of color (BIPOC), young people, immigrant families, women, caregivers, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ people.

“The pandemic exposed what we’ve known for too long: our economy isn’t working for working people,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “But from one of the most painful, tragic chapters in American history, a watershed moment for recovery has emerged. We are proud to support the Families and Workers Fund, which is positioned to reimagine an equitable, worker-centered economy, with sustainable jobs and 21st century benefits as the engine.”

“When the pandemic struck, the Families and Workers Fund mobilized a network of partners, bet early and quickly on an approach to assist both people and small businesses in need, and worked to fill gaps in the benefit systems provided by government and business,” said Eric Braverman, CEO of Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt. “We’re proud to unite more than twenty diverse philanthropies to support the Fund’s critical and urgent mission—to create a more equitable recovery and prosperous economy for everyone.”

FWF was initially created in April 2020 as a short-term, rapid response effort with a mission to aid those disproportionately harmed by the pandemic. In 2020, the Fund was able to support grassroots and community nonprofits to help get cash transfers to 215,000 of the most vulnerable, hardest-hit families. The initiative unites diverse funders that bring complementary expertise in critical areas, such as technology excellence and government delivery; social justice and equity; workforce development and policy; and inclusive capitalism and business partnerships.

The collaborative is backed by an Executive Committee including Amalgamated Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations, The Rockefeller Foundation, Schmidt Futures, and Skoll Foundation and other major funders, including The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Hilton Foundation, Jack Dorsey, JPB Foundation, Luminate, MacKenzie Scott, Morgan Stanley, Omidyar Network, Robin Hood, The Roger I. and The Ruth B. MacFarlane Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Today’s launch sets the stage for a new vision and for FWF to make philanthropic investments to accomplish two goals: 1) Advance jobs that sustain and uplift people; and 2) Invest in the continued development of a more inclusive, effective public benefits system, with a focus on unemployment insurance.

Recover Up: Jobs That Sustain and Uplift
In 2020, the lowest-wage workers lost nearly 8 million jobs, while the highest-wage workers gained nearly one million new jobs, with net job loss totalling nearly 6 million as of July 2021. FWF is working in partnership with federal, state, local government and businesses to deliver catalytic examples of high-quality job growth that are accessible to all. Recover Up aims to help deliver job pathways that enable economic security and mobility, leveraging billions in new federal and employer investments that have the potential to propel unprecedented scale.

21st Century Benefits: Benefits that Work for Everyone
Since early 2020, millions of workers have found themselves jobless, with lagging or no unemployment benefits. This unfortunate cycle continues to repeat itself each time the country is faced with a downturn, despite the data proving that governmental support enables individuals to return to the workforce while boosting the economy as a whole. By supporting government innovation, civic tech, and advocacy, the Fund and its partners will help repair and reimagine the public benefits system so that it better enables families to stay afloat, recover from crises, and equally prosper.

“It’s not good enough to go back to how things were before COVID-19,” said Rachel Korberg, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Families and Workers Fund. “The unexpected, silver lining of this brutal pandemic is that we have all been reminded about how essential workers are.”

The Families and Workers Fund looks forward to working with businesses, governments, and workers to help build a more equitable economy. To become a grantee or a funder and learn more about the Families and Workers Fund, please visit

About Families & Workers Fund
Families and Workers Fund is the first national, multi-donor collaborative philanthropy dedicated to building a more equitable U.S. economy by advancing jobs that sustain and uplift people and a benefits system that better supports families during times of crisis. The Fund aims to shape the country’s economic recovery by fostering large-scale collaboration and directing grants to organizations committed to repairing and reimagining the systems that fuel equitable economic security and opportunity. Rachel Korberg is Executive Director and Co-Founder, with Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation and Eric Braverman, CEO, Schmidt Futures as Co-Chairs. The organization’s Executive Committee includes the Amalgamated Foundation, Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations, The Rockefeller Foundation, Schmidt Futures, Schusterman Family Philanthropies, and the Skoll Foundation. The Fund is housed at the Amalgamated Foundation, sister philanthropic arm of Amalgamated Bank. For more information, visit


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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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