The Loadstar Foundation

Grants to Build Philanthropy Organizations

Connecting Business and Social Entrepreneurs Worldwide
Recognizing that social entrepreneurs often lack business acumen and that successful business professionals are often frustrated with traditional philanthropic options, Ashoka, the largest association of social entrepreneurs (Ashoka Fellows) in the world, created, as a pilot project, the Ashoka Support Network (ASN). ASN matches Ashoka Fellows in one-to-one and group-mentor partnerships with successful small and medium-sized business entrepreneurs to introduce and engage a new generation of businesspeople in philanthropy, to leverage resources from the business community for social entrepreneurship, and to support Ashoka Fellows in a sustainable, mutually beneficial and systematic manner. Lodestar first provided funds to support the pilot project in Europe, where more than 200 business/social entrepreneur partnerships have so far been created, and, because of that initial success, Lodestar has recently supported the expansion of ASN in Singapore and India. ($265,000+)

Capacity-Building of International Philanthropy-Building Network
Although like-minded nonprofits may recognize the value of creating an umbrella organization to help sustain and support their common activities, they often don’t have the necessary resources. Social Venture Partners International was formed to brand, support, expand and enhance the work of the individual Social Venture Partner (“SVP”) groups around the world. Lodestar funds have supported annual SVP conferences and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the SVP model, the results of which are being used by the SVP network members (currently in the US, Canada and Japan) to increase effectiveness and demonstrate the impact of the model on their respective communities. ($225,000)

Philanthropy Education in Eastern Europe
After the fall of the Soviet Union, former communist countries lacked a culture of philanthropy because the government, rather than an independent social sector, was supposed to provide for the social needs of citizens. In 2009, Lodestar, supported by the Eurasia Foundation, the Institute for Philanthropy (UK) and Synergos Institute, coordinated a series of philanthropy workshops in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia for local corporate leaders and potential philanthropists. The workshops included speakers on community foundations, corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship/business partnerships and other methods of philanthropic involvement. Plans are underway for funding similar programs in Romania and Bulgaria. ($76,000)

Advancement of Philanthropy in the Southwestern US
Arizona State University (ASU) is America’s second largest university. Its Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Management had been functioning well as a local and national nonprofit resource, with over 1,000 students enrolled in its programs and hundreds of nonprofits taking advantage of its offerings. Research, education, nonprofit assistance and community programs, all managed through the center, bolster the nonprofit sector and allow for assessment and knowledge sharing in the community.

However, because there was no central location for philanthropy scholarship and education in the region, Lodestar entered into a partnership with ASU to incorporate into the Center a local and regional resource for philanthropy. The enhanced center - The Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation - has the means and vision to become the premier resource for community and sector collaboration with grantmakers and the public. Because of the Center’s already preeminent position in the industry, it has the tools to grow into a hub for research, scholarship and promotion of philanthropy nationwide, while catapulting Arizona into a leading role in the growth of philanthropy. Over the course of five years, the Center will use the grant to add a director of philanthropy and four new faculty positions, as well as to implement programs closely tied to Lodestar’s mission of promoting philanthropy. ($5,000,000)

Jewish Youth Philanthropy program

The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix (JCF) created a program, B’nai Tzedek, to educate and train teenagers to be philanthropic. The participants contribute to a special fund, then study philanthropy and local nonprofits, then make site visits and collectively discuss and award grants. Lodestar was an initial funder and has continued to support the program. ($79,000 + $25,000)

Establishment of Philanthropy-Building Venture Philanthropy Organization in Phoenix
The recent increase in wealth of young professionals and baby boomers has not been accompanied by a corresponding increase in philanthropy. Social Venture Partners (“SVP”), a philanthropic giving circle with the dual mission of encouraging and teaching strategic philanthropy and supporting emerging non-profits, was initiated in Seattle in 1997. Lodestar founded the second SVP group, Social Venture Partners Arizona (“SVPAZ”) in 1999 and was instrumental in creating the network that now includes 25 SVP affiliates in three countries. SVPAZ partners pool their money to invest in innovative nonprofits and then actively nurture their investments by providing hands-on technical assistance, business expertise and strategic guidance. Since inception, SVPAZ has (1) invested $4 million in community nonprofits serving children and education, (2) contributed thousands of hours of professional services to its investees, (3) initiated a venture philanthropy program for teenagers, and (4) recruited and trained more than 300 financially successful individuals (SVPAZ partners) to become strategic philanthropists. ($728,557)

Grants to Develop Philanthropy-Building Tools

Portfolio Management Tool for Social Investors
Lodestar, along with the Skoll, Kellogg and Rockefeller Foundations and, provided seed money to Acumen Fund to develop the PULSE platform, a portfolio management tool for the sector that allows individual social investors to track performance against targets on financial, operational, social and environmental metrics. Beyond providing a more effective means of tracking performance data, PULSE has helped small and growing businesses (“SGBs”) manage their business by identifying inefficiencies and reallocating resources to maximize impact. Lodestar and Kellogg made a second grant to support marketing of the new tool. ($120,000)

Philanthropy Organization Evaluation Project
The Association of Small Foundations (ASF), the largest foundation support organization in the United States, provides programs and services to small-staff foundations across the country. As part of its continuing effort to refine programs, ASF wanted to evaluate the impact of its work on the sector. Lodestar provided a grant to support ASF’s evaluation efforts, which will enable ASF to become a more effective provider of philanthropic services. ($59,250)

Expansion of Platform for Nonprofit Ratings
Increasingly, people turn to web-based services to find, review, and discuss nonprofits. Recognizing that tools such as online reviews and ratings posted by people who have volunteered or donated to nonprofits, as well as stories of people who have benefited from their services, help prospective donors and volunteers make informed choices, GreatNonprofits sought funding to increase the capacity of their web-based platform to facilitate partnerships with other online nonprofit databases. Lodestar issued a challenge grant to enable GreatNonprofits to expand its online capabilities to permit users to rate more than 1.2 million nonprofits on their website or those of partner sites such as GuideStar. ($55,000)


Click here to view additional philanthropy-building grants

The grants highlighted here were awarded for specific purposes. We also provide general capacity-building support to various organizations and institutions that encourage, advance and support philanthropy.