the gilliam foundation - NEW, IMPROVED AND RESOLUTE
The road out of poverty can be especially difficult for many African Americans and other people of color. Many grow up in single family households and economic instability, are exposed to racism and bias, live in crime-infested neighborhoods and attend under-resourced schools - all of which singularly or collectively impact lifelong achievement, health and well-being. "A study released July 22, 2014 in the Journal of Social Science health and Medicine by the University of Southern California Davis School of Gerontology indicated that African Americans are aging at a greater rate and have a lower life expectancy than their white counterparts. Researchers like University of Michigan Professor Arline Geronimus and others now estimate that the cause of this phenomena is exposure to racism and certain high level environmental risk factors that their white counterparts do not experience" (http://cbmnational.org./news/is-toxic-stress-killing-black-academic-achievement/).
While the researchers and statistics regarding the plight of African Americans is substantial and provocative, rather than looking at the disadvantages and risk factors it is also important to look forward toward opportunities that can change the trajectory of the lives of this segment of the population. The Gilliam Foundation is eager to support opportunities of this nature and realizes that such efforts require the creation of promising programs, activities and approaches aimed at achievement and resiliency, collaborative community interest and resources, and an assessment of what works well in meeting the needs of these individuals.
Based on years of experience and financial support The Gilliam Foundation is moving to another phase of development with the intent of increasing its impact in the Delaware community. For example, instead of small financial support of a multiplicity of projects, programs and approaches that impact the African American community in Delaware, The Gilliam Foundation will now look to more substantively support fewer projects, programs and approaches that foster growth, opportunity and resilience for African American Delaware residents. We will take into consideration:
1. Partnerships/Collaborations that maximize impact.
- In this instance, The Gilliam Foundation will be looking for and funding partnerships and collaborations between two (2) or more non-profits who get together to work towards common goals. Joint efforts of this nature are beneficial, because they increase their reach and impact, increase potential for project sustainability, enhance access to resources, minimize duplication of services, and improve communication within and between organizations. While collaborations between non-profits who share similar missions is encouraged, it has been found that some of the most interesting and successful collaborations are often established between organizations whose ideologies are orthogonal to one another's - neither aligned nor opposed (Parkinson, 2006). "In fact, this sort of collaboration, through difficult, can be superior in terms of efficacy, as agencies with closely aligned visions, sometimes find themselves in competition for resources, both monetary and otherwise, which can foster problems and delays in implementation or in consensus-building as the collaboration unfolds." (Parkinson, p.6)
- With collaboration being a funding factor in future Gilliam Foundation decisions, the Foundation will do its part to assist in the collaboration process. The Gilliam Foundation will rely on its knowledge of non-profit organizations, their mission and needs to proffer collaborative opportunities to include meaningful dialogue within the non-profit sector. It is expected that befitting funding will be an outcome for relevant, collaborative partnerships that are established.
2. Board diversity that maximizes impact.
- The Gilliam Foundation believes that board diversity even for non-profits is profitable - not necessarily from an economic sense, but from a practical one. Organizations led by diverse boards that reflect the breadth of their constituencies and communities from which these constituencies come will result in more successful organizations. These types of organizations are more in touch with their clients' needs and have a forum in the board room where client needs can be fully appreciated when agency service and funding strategies are being devised.
- While diversity may be viewed as having to do with gender, age, religion, etc., The Gilliam Foundation is intently committed to racial/ethnic parity on non-profit boards. Since we are primarily committed to funding projects that focus on African Americans it stands to reason that we believe that racially/ethnically diverse boards are better suited for building robust and sustainable agencies that meet the needs of their diverse client base over the long haul.
3. Outcome/Impact analysis
- Metrics are becoming more and more important in the non-profit world and The Gilliam Foundation will focus more on funding non-profits that strategically plan for programmatic impact and ways to measure it. While measuring social impact may be difficult and requires sustained effort for many non-profits, it keeps organizations' on task and everyone alert to the aims of the project. As a funder, it is important for the Foundation to know both what agencies do and how well they are doing it. If done well, it helps organizations tell their story and gives them reason to celebrate their accomplishments.
The Gilliam Foundation remains committed to the work that has been done and for the work that lies ahead. We anticipate that as communities and the organizations that serve them are made more aware of the resolute design by which we will continue to work, we will collectively improve the lives of those who are experiencing the greatest need.