SDG Podcast: America’s Most Generous City?

Monday, November 20, 2017

In the first episode of San Diego Grantmakers new podcast, President & CEO Nancy Jamison is joined by Dr. Emily Young from the University of San Diego’s Nonprofit Institute, where they share their own philanthropic journeys and also discuss the significance of the newly bestowed accolade for San Diego - America’s Most Charitable City. Does the criteria used by Charity Navigator stack up or does it cover up the unique pressures our local nonprofits face?

SDG Podcast: America’s Most Generous City?

Welcome to the pilot episode of America's finest funders a podcast that provides expert insight inspiration and practical ways you can make a difference in your community through philanthropy.

San Diego is a generous region with 48% of households making monetary donations to charity and so it’s no surprise that charity watchdog Charity Navigator named San Diego America’s Most Charitable City. What was a surprise was the notion that the strongest charities are those that spend minimally on overhead while maximizing dollars to programs. Nancy and Emily both strongly believe that a more balanced approach focused on positive impact is a far better adjudicator of nonprofit practices.

“Our dream is that in five to ten years we won't be talking about funding overhead expenses but how we want to invest in organizations so they can have the greatest impact” Dr. Emily Young

A growing number of nonprofit and philanthropic leaders in San Diego County and elsewhere across the state and nation have identified the fact that many nonprofits operate with just enough funding in hand to operate for less than two months — a tenuous proposition for the long-term viability of these organizations and the communities they serve.

That’s why SDG & USD’s Nonprofit Institute teamed up locally as part of a statewide initiative to increase the number of funders and nonprofits that work together on the Full Cost Project. When grantmaking decisions are informed by all of the costs necessary for nonprofits to deliver on their missions and be sustainable over time, our community will be stronger. Instead of focusing on nonprofit "overhead," the Full Cost Project encourages a focus on outcomes and the role  grant dollars can best play in achieving those outcomes.

Also on the podcast, SDG’s Megan Thomas, VP of Collaboration and Special Projects along with the Director of Funders Together to End Homelessness San Diego Amy Denhart, discuss how meaningful collaboration must take place in philanthropy to ensure the best outcomes and share stories of success in their current work.

Many hands make for lighter work and greater impact. That’s why San Diego Grantmakers (SDG) helps funders work together and with other stakeholders to address important community issues. Whether they’re engaged in shared learning or combining resources for action, SDG provides the support and facilitation necessary to make collaborative work possible. This segment showcases the local role of Funders Together to End Homelessness, the regional giving and collaborative funding strategies of the STEAM Funders group (staff, trustees, and donors of SDG member organizations and eligible guests who are interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) education) and the recent $820,000 funding round from the Social Equity Collaborative Funders. which awarded to six local projects, representing 30 organizations and groups of residents working collaboratively to achieve racial and economic justice in the San Diego region.

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