AL Advising

Philanthropic and Political Consulting

AL Advising works with progressive philanthropists to create a portfolio of civic engagement, policy, and advocacy investments including 501c3, 501c4, candidate, and related political giving. We also work with organizations to help them maximize their effectiveness.

Filtering by Tag: Inside Philanthropy

Giving by Women’s Funds Has Soared. And They’re Getting More Savvy and Strategic

A new study by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, “Women’s Foundations and Funds: A Landscape Study,” reveals the grantmaking practices and range of giving philosophies and principles among 209 American women’s foundations and funds that focus on giving to nonprofits that benefit women and girls.  It is the first study of its kind since 2009, when the Women’s Funding Network and Foundation Center issued the report “Accelerating Change for Women: The Role of Women’s Funds,” which studied 145 women’s funds in the Women’s Funding Network

Read more in Inside Philanthropy.

Women in Philanthropy

This article, with insights from the Women's Philanthropy Institute, is of particular interest to me, given my work with Progressive Women Silicon Valley, a political giving circle.

A key takeaway: "Pockets of very powerful women at the community and grassroots level are forming their own giving circles, their own collective giving models, their own modes of engaging in philanthropy, to make powerful changes in their own communities and across the globe," said Mesch.

501c3 "Political" Giving

A new article from Inside Philanthropy outlines some of the ways in which 501c3, or non-partisan money, can be used for political purposes. 

"Let's take the area of voter education, registration, and turnout as an example. It's no secret that who turns out to vote, and where, can make a big difference in determining which candidates win on Election Day. If more African Americans turn out in swing states like Florida or North Carolina, for instance, that's good news for Democrats. If the electorate tilts toward older and white voters, Republicans stand to gain."

In 2012 and 2014, I helped fund some of the groups mentioned through my work with the Youth Engagement Fund. These groups do amazing, non-partisan, little "d" democracy work year-in and year-out. Sadly, many constituencies DO register and vote at lower rates; sometimes it is the result of systemic disenfranchisement or purposeful efforts to undermine their power and sometimes it is a result of societal norms, like young people being less aware of the voting process, low-income workers with transportation issues, and the like. These facts have become part of our political football in unfortunate ways, demonizing well-intentioned efforts to increase all citizens access to the ballot as partisan politics. 

I believe if more funders gave in this space, and gave not only in presidential election years, we could both de-politicize ths work and truly help solve this ongoing problem.

Five Big Myths About Techies and Philanthropy

Inside Philanthropy has yet another good article out today, Five Big Myths About Techies and Philanthropy. I think the author, David Callahan, does a good job of pointing out common misconceptions about donors from the tech space. Give it a read.

My observations have been that these donors: a) like a big challenge -- "wicked problems" in philanthropy, if you will; b) are open to both traditional and disruptive giving and: c) are, as a whole, giving way under their weight.