In spring 2018, Angell Foundation began implementation of our current Transformative Opportunities grants strategy across our three focus areas – Education as Opportunity, Food Equity and Transformational Leadership. Under this strategy, our goal is to increase postsecondary education and career pathways for young people of color and those from marginalized communities, invest in systemic approaches to expand equitable access to quality food, and cultivate a cadre of diverse and compassionate leaders who are equipped to advance social progress. In addition to grantmaking, we are partnering with nonprofit organizations, foundations and leaders with whom we share goals and values to work towards a collective vision of a more equitable and just world.
As always, we are learning as we go. Listening. Asking questions. Checking assumptions. Revising our approach when necessary and resetting our targets when appropriate. All while we maintain a steadfast commitment to expanding transformative opportunities.
Our most significant learnings thus far have been in the Transformational Leadership (TL) portfolio. Partners and applicants confirm that emerging and current social sector leaders are seeking opportunities that foster personal development, aid in self-reflection, nurture emotional intelligence, bolster resilience and equip them to lead more effectively. The goal is to cultivate practices that allow them to sustain their well-being and effectiveness during times of adversity. Leaders have shared that they need relevant programming that affords them the ability to address issues of diversity, equity and identity in compassionate, productive and engaging spaces. They also want access to skills, tools and methodologies that open avenues for them to lead and pursue their organization’s mission with authenticity and integrity. Grantees and nonprofit partners have been vocal about their capacity needs and desire to ensure that curriculum is culturally appropriate, facilitation reflects the diversity of participants, programming is accessible and spaces are conducive for thoughtful engagement. Lastly, we learned that this funding area provides us the opportunity to be more intentional about the intersection amongst our three portfolios by supporting education and food justice leaders when possible.
In response to these findings, we are making the following adjustments to the TL portfolio for the current and forthcoming grant cycles:
- Prioritizing programs that focus on emerging or current leaders in the nonprofit/social sector. Although not exclusively, we are interested in supporting leaders working in education or pursuing food justice;
- Supporting existing TL programs/providers to increase or expand their capacity to thoughtfully and authentically serve culturally diverse populations; and,
- Cultivating a learning community of TL grantees/practitioners to build relationships, unearth best practices and generate ideas to inform potential methods that demonstrate the impact of this work.
We know that our efforts are strengthened and results amplified when we listen intently to voices from the field. So let’s talk! Feel free to share your ideas, lessons and resources. We are eager to speak with you and learn more about the exciting work that you are doing to foster transformational leadership. You can find more about Angell Foundation’s grantmaking approach on our website or by contacting James McClelland, Program Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.