The Alfred and Mary Douty Foundation which, since 1968, has provided funding to organizations working to foster equitable opportunities for children and youth in Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties, announced this morning that it will cease to be a private foundation at the end of the 2012 calendar year.
“Sparked by our 50th anniversary, over the past two years, our leadership team has reflected on the foundation’s past, its mission and on its future,” the announcement stated. “Central to our conversation has been: Should the foundation continue in perpetuity as a private foundation or can our modest assets join with others to help amplify and accelerate aligned areas of interest and change?”
The announcement goes on to explain that as the conversations continued in 2020, “many of the issues that the foundation has sought to address through its grantmaking were thrust and exposed into the full public consciousness: equity and amplification of the voices of those most effected by inequitable systems.”
Earlier this year the foundation received kudos from across the sector for releasing 25% of its assets to meet the needs of its existing grantees, and low-wage workers excluded from COVID-19-related stimulus programs.
Additionally, the foundation has just issued its Fall 2020 Request for Proposals — with a September 15 deadline— that intends to fund organizations working on education equity, youth leadership or academic support (in Philadelphia and Montgomery counties) as well as organizations promoting justice and opportunities for those involved with the criminal legal system in the same two counties. These will be three-year awards, for up to $20,000 per year.
“I think the board is being responsible in spending more now in this moment,” Jennifer Leith, the foundation’s executive director, told Generocity via email.
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“It seems like so much is at a tipping point and the boulder is almost to the top of the hill on several justice issues … with Douty putting more funding on the streets now, it can hopefully accelerate the move to the ‘finish line’ in some aspect of issues and work. Then strategically putting its remaining resources where/how the fight will be amplified in the years to come is what happens in 2021.”
The plan is that at the end of 2021, the foundation will turn over any assets to an entity (or entities) aligned with the foundation’s mission which “actively embrace liberation philanthropy”. In 2015 — well before the foundation released its additional funding this year — Guidestar listed its total assets at $6,000,000.
Leith confirmed that the foundation has a short-list of entities it has identified as possible recipients of the assets remaining in 2021, but is not ready to make that public yet.
“If a funding entity receives remaining Douty assets, it is likely they have or do fund many of the same orgs as Douty,” Leith said. “Douty will also work to highlight and amplify the work of our funded organizations to other funders … over the next 12-16 months.”
As for Leith herself, it her intention, and the board’s, that she stay with Douty through 2021. Then after that, she said, who knows?
“So much need to continue to push for social change,” she said, “non-profit advocacy, direct service, public office?”-30-
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