Posts Tagged capacity building

Social Justice Organizations Moving from Intention to Practice: the Journey of Minnesota’s Fellowship Organizations

Social Justice Organizations Moving from Intention to Practice: the Journey of Minnesota’s Fellowship Organizations

By Barbara Phillips, Social justice activist and former Ford Foundation Program Officer for Women’s Rights and Gender Equity

The Minnesota cohort of the Organization Fellowship Program convened on March 24- 25, 2011 in sunny, cold St. Paul, Minnesota.  We were ever so fortunate to be in the beautiful and huge conference room of the Northwest Area Foundation with sunshine streaming through its windows wrapping around two walls.  It is tremendously valuable to be in beautiful, comfortable spaces.

Those who are stuck in thinking all should go just as well or even BETTER if activists are more “authentically” stuck in some dank, dark, dreary space need to get over it.  Why do you think the Rockefeller Foundation keeps up that beautiful villa in Bellagio, Italy and uses it as a place of contemplation, reflection, and strategic thinking for scholars and activists it considers worthy of investment?

So, we were in a space conducive to challenging work, and the creative facilitation by Bo Thao-Urabe and Karen Perkins enabled high energy, extraordinarily focused collective thinking throughout the entire convening. The convening engaged the organizational leaders in sharing and reflecting collectively.

As the groups shared their work, I was first struck by what seemed to be a deepening of openness, honesty, self-reflection, and appreciation for the uniqueness of each organization and understanding of the work.  Each group shared a particular challenge now encountered in their work, and then there were thoughtful, respectful, creative responses from the collaborative

Some challenges lifted by these groups are:

• How to create, articulate, write and incorporate gender equity into policies and practices,
• How to approach concerns about “offending” the community,
• Defining who the organization is accountable to, and therefore, how do we pick with whom to collaborate,
• How to manage the risk-taking component in all of this, including approaching a potential partner/collaborator/ally,
• How to align the conversation of the board and leadership, who are focused on organizational level policies and practices, with the more personal conversations within the community,
• How to handle the practical side of transitioning from a “crises center” to an “organizing center,”
• Here’s a project we intend to launch; give us your feedback.

It became clear at this March convening that the OFP groups now owned its share of this space – no longer are they looking to AAPIP for answers; these OFP leaders are creating answers within themselves and among each other.

Then, extraordinary community organizers – Eun Sook Lee, Kori Chen, and Pakou Hang – challenged each member of the OFP to take the risks of launching itself into actual community organizing.  As each OFP member is changing internally, how will they move that change externally into programming, into base-building, into that community base, and ultimately into the larger community and public policy?

The most telling comment upon the transformation already experienced by the OFP members came when a member commented, “This is scary stuff.  I can hear it now, but I couldn’t hear it two years ago. I’ll face much opposition. It’s scary.  Are we willing to take that risk?” 

And the answer of the OFP groups is a resounding “YES!”

, , , , , ,

1 Comment

2010 Advancing Justice Conference (AAPIs United In Strength) June 23-25 Alexandria, VA

2010 Advancing Justice Conference

Coming up next month!

June 23 – June 25, 2010

“The Advancing Justice Conference is a national civil rights and social justice conference that aims to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders in one place to address a broad range of issues facing the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. It serves as a unique forum where researchers, advocates, direct service providers and other leaders can meet face-to-face, talk about their common challenges and find ways to work collaboratively.

The Advancing Justice Conference is a joint project by the Asian American Institute (Chicago), Asian American Justice Center (Washington, D.C.), Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco) and Asian Pacific American Legal Center (Los Angeles).”

AJC Workshop Tracks include:

Register online by June 2nd for their early bird discount

, , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

A roundup of tools and resources!

We’ve recently updated our listing of  some tools and resources  from partners and other nonprofit allies that we think you may find useful.  Browse the full list on our website: or simply click on one of the categories below.

Board Development & Governance
Capacity Building & Strategic Planning
Collaborations & Coalition Building
Community Building & Community Development
Community Organizing
Domestic Violence
Evaluation & Working with Consultants
Facilitation, Forums & Surveys
Fundraising, Grant writing & Budgeting
Gender, Gender Identity, LGBTQ
Immigration & Refugee Issues
Leadership Development & Intergenerational Issues
Media & Communications
Organizational Assessment & Development
Policy Advocacy
Racial Equity & Asset-Based Approaches
Responsive Philanthropy
Social Justice & Movement Building


Technology (for nonprofits)
Theory of Social Change

+ General sites with more resources

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Sample Exercises + Team Activities from NGEC’s Social Justice Capacity Building Program

NGEC OFP’s Sample Exercises and Team Activities

The exercises and activities we list below were initially developed for use in NGEC’s Organizational Fellowship Program with our 12 Asian American partner organizations in Minnesota and California.

Although they represent just a sampling of what we do in our intensive 3-year capacity building program, NGEC shares these resources in the spirit of making them available to wider audiences.

We hope folks find them useful and applicable to other areas of work.  NGEC welcomes and appreciate your feedback as we continue to refine and update these tools as they are tested and adapted by the community.

“Exploring Our Values” Exercise

“Fictional VRC Role Play” Exercise

“Organization Alignment” Exercise

“Organizational Transformation Role Play” Exercise

“Zooming In and Zooming Out” Exercise

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

NGEC Guide: An Organization’s Theory of Social Change (TOSC)

NGEC Theory of Social Change

NGEC Theory of Social Change Guide

“Chronicles of Change: A Guide to an Organization’s Theory of Social Change”

NGEC believes that all social justice organizations are drivers of change and delivery agents of solutions in the social justice movement. As such, each should have a Theory of Social Change (TOSC) to be most effective and sustainable.

As part of the journey in the NGEC’s Organizational Fellowship Program (OFP), we developed this 80-page guide to help the cohort groups in our 3-year program through the larger process of defining or refining their organization’s role in the social justice movement.   We believe that the combination of process and product makes a TOSC critical to organizational transformation.   The activities detailed in this guide can help groups  identify existing organizational assets and suggests ways to effectively engage organizational stakeholders in the TOSC development process.

Open in document viewer

Download PDF version

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

NCG event: Strengthening Organizations: Capacity Building Frameworks to Serve Communities of Color

(reposting via an upcoming event featuring NGEC /AAPIP staff and grantees)

Date: 11/10/2009
Time: 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: Mechanics’ Institute Building 57 Post Street, 4th Floor
Registration: <!–Register for this meeting–> Register for this event

Building capacity in nonprofits that serve communities of color is the focus of multi-year initiatives being implemented by Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) and Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), respectively. This program will highlight the frameworks being used by these two intermediary organizations, and will provide lessons for potential implementation by other funders. In addition, representatives from nonprofit beneficiaries of HIP and AAPIP’s capacity building approaches will be participate in a panel discussion.

This program will also provide a quantitative look at the value that “diversity funds” bring to the challenge of supporting diverse communities. Defined by culture and shared community goals, diversity funds, such as HIP and AAPIP, often address immediate community needs and social change, using their close affinity to the needs of specific communities to strengthen their work. Program participants will review highlights of a Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors study supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the national Diversity in Philanthropy Project that will offer a landscape view of such diversity–focused funds.

This program will feature a quantitative look at the value that these funds bring to the challenge of supporting diverse communities. Diversity funds often address immediate community needs and social change; and are defined by culture and shared community goals, instead of by geography. They are also used to conduct research and advocacy on community issues, as well as for technical assistance and capacity building to community nonprofits.

Come join us to

  • Review some initial data on the impact of diversity funds, and some potential lessons that might be transferable to other philanthropic entities;
  • Learn about the capacity building frameworks that HIP and AAPIP have in place;
  • Hear from nonprofit representatives who serve diverse communities about the range of capacity building support that helps them be more effective; and
  • Consider different strategies that foundations might employ to identify and address capacity building needs of nonprofits that serve diverse communities.

Target Audience

This program is free and open to NCG members.


Diana Campoamor is the President of Hispanics in Philanthropy. Prior to joining HIP, Diana served as a director at the Shalan Foundation, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF), the United Way, and the YWCA. She holds an MA in Communications from the University of Miami and a BA from the University of Florida. She has served on the boards of the Council on Foundations, Independent Sector, the Inter–University Project for Latino Research, California HACR, Horizons Foundation, BRAVA! For Women in the Arts, and several other nonprofits.

Dana Kawaoka–Chen is Capacity Building Manager at AAPIP’s National Gender & Equity Campaign (NGEC) and is responsible for leading implementation of the Organizational Fellowship Program in California. Before joining NGEC, Dana served as the Executive Director for a community development credit union in West Oakland, California. Previously, Dana also served as the Executive Director of Public Allies Silicon Valley, the local chapter of a national leadership development organization. She brings more than ten years of experience working with community–based organizations.

Rae Richman is the Director of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors’ (RPA) Bay Area office. Her funding expertise includes climate change and environmental protection, education, and cultural preservation. She has also been actively involved in RPA’s leadership on the issue of Mission Related Investing (MRI.) Rae is formerly a consultant with expertise in corporate social responsibility, meeting facilitation and organizational development. Prior to starting her own consultancy for values–based organizations, she was Senior Manager of Consulting Services at Business for Social Responsibility (BSR).

Confirmed Nonprofit Panelists

HIP grantee:
Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA)
Andrea Lee, Co-Director for Development and Administration
Claudia Gomez, Grassroots Fundraiser

AAPIP grantees:
Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA)
Vincent Pan, Executive Director

Atashi Chakravarty, Executive Director

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.