Effective Philanthropy

Effective Philanthropy

Organizational Success through Deep Diversity and Gender Equality

By Mary Ellen S. Capek and Molly Mead





In Effective Philanthropy, Mary Ellen Capek and Molly Mead offer strategies for strengthening organizations through a commitment to diversity and gender equality. Capek and Mead's research shows that institutionalizing a more nuanced understanding of what they call "deep diversity" allows organizations to make full use of all the resources they have available, both inside and outside their doors. The authors show how foundations have used "differences that divide us"—race, class, gender, sexual orientation, geography, age, religion, physical ability, and others—to become learning organizations, a proven strategy for organizational effectiveness.

By virtue of their "power of the purse" and more subtle forms of influence, foundations are key players in US social, economic, and public policy and are increasingly influential internationally. When foundations function effectively, there is potential for tremendous public benefit, and Capek and Mead argue that goals for equity in philanthropy are similar to goals for any effective organization. Offering demographics, case studies, strategic funding initiatives, theoretical analyses, and original research, Effective Philanthropy describes models for building effective foundations that can be applied to all kinds of institutions—large and small, public and private, national and regional, bureaucratic and entrepreneurial—including colleges and universities, nonprofits, government agencies, and multinational corporations.The diverse case studies and funding initiatives highlighted in the book include California Wellness, the Otto Bremer Foundation, the Philadelphia Foundation, the Ms. Foundation for Women's Collaborative Fund for Women's Economic Development, and programs for women and girls funded by the United Way of Massachusetts Bay.

Supported by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and Women & Philanthropy.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262033374 424 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


$25.00 X ISBN: 9780262532969 424 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


  • This book brings new research to bear on an important topic: philanthropic work related to women and girls, and how deep diversity is a critical next step to achieving a higher level of effectiveness. Moving beyond merely identifying the problem, it provides real examples of strategies and approaches that organizations have taken to address it.

    Louis Delgado

    Graduate Program Director, Philanthropy & Nonprofit Sector Program, Loyola University Chicago

  • This is the strongest and best-organized argument I have seen for placing gender front and center in all considerations of diversity, for including the female half of humanity in policy decisions, for removing gender from 'special interest' analysis, and for funding women and girls.

    Mark Dowie

    author of American Foundations: An Investigative History

  • This book will be significant in bringing the need for diversity and democractic grantmaking practices front and center. The scholarship is groundbreaking and thorough. Altogether, the book is creative, innovative, and in many ways unique.

    Teresa Odendahl

    author of Charity Begins at Home: Generosity and Self-Interest Among the Philanthropic Elite