Bang for Buck: the value of social change grantmaking

By Thomas J. Sugrue, Board Co-Chair

For 35 years, Bread & Roses Community Fund has given out more than $10 million in support of grassroots community organizations working for social change. It’s an investment that has paid off .

Earlier this year, the National Committee on Responsible Philanthropy (NCRP) singled out Bread & Roses in a study of grantmakers and advocacy organizations across Pennsylvania. The findings were striking. Every dollar invested in local activism returned $122 to communities. Of the grassroots groups heralded for their success, we have supported more than half.

  • Here are just a few success stories:
    Women’s Community Revitalization Project of North Philadelphia organized for a Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund, worth $15 million.
  • Youth United for Change forced the School District of Philadelphia to break Kensington High School into pieces including the new Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School , worth $44 million.
  • Philadelphia Unemployment Project fought for an increase to the minimum wage, which resulted in $1 billion in additional funds for low-income workers.

Just as important, NCRP pointed to nonmonetary successes, especially efforts in training grassroots activists and promoting civic engagement in marginalized communities.

Those gains, however, are fragile. NCRP’s report showed that Pennsylvania ‘s nonprofit infrastructure is in jeopardy, with many groups struggling to meet greater community needs with fewer resources. In the current economic crisis and amid escalating need, Bread & Roses has a vital role to play and your ongoing support is crucial.