Breaking Barriers: Wealthy Donors and Causes Left Out


How can community foundations foster connections between
donors and nonprofits advancing equity?

Community foundations play a powerful role in connecting high net worth donors with local organizations working to advance community needs. Research shows that community-based organizations typically do not have access to the broad network of donors a community foundation can engage, and this is especially true for organizations led by people of color.

Connecting donors for immediate, unrestricted giving to organizations that are providing vital leadership and meeting critical needs in the community—especially important amid a pandemic and rising racial inequality — is a pivotal way community foundation can ensure deep local impact.

In partnership with new research from:

This online learning session for community foundations shares findings from their research and facilitates discussion about how community foundations can foster connections between major donors and local organizations that lead to deeper relationships and increased support for community-based organizations.

In this session, Community Wealth Partners highlights new data and facilitates a panel conversation with two community foundation representatives who are deeply committed to direct donor engagement with much needed community investments for organizations serving racial equity, and engage two community foundations to crowdsource actions they have undertaken.

  • Ruben Orduna from San Francisco Foundation will share how their foundation is thinking about communicating its values around racial equity and its focus on Black and Indigenous communities to donors, how they are viewing leveraging funding to organizations working on racial equity as an important way the community foundation can have impact, and how changing to an open grantmaking cycle in COVID response helped the foundation connect with more community-based organizations and more organizations led by people of color.
  • Melissa Levesque from Coastal Community Foundation will discuss how their foundation/s rebranding last year emphasized the community leadership role the foundation plays, how an analysis of historic grants data led to changes in how the foundation funds and who the foundation funds, efforts the foundation is taking to engage deeply across the community it serves, and how these efforts on the program side connect to the way the foundation works with donors.


  • Lori Bartczak, she/her/hers, Community Wealth Partners
  • Piyush Tantia, he/him/his, Ideas42
  • Erinn Andrews, she/her/hers, Stanford's Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society
  • Ruben Orduna, he/him/his, San Francisco Foundation
  • Melissa Levesque, she/her/hers, Coastal Community Foundation