Year in Review 2021
Year in Review 2021
We’re excited about what we accomplished in 2021 and are confident this path will result in greater and more impactful philanthropic efforts in Puerto Rico, that will ultimately help spur the systemic changes we so urgently need to have a more just and equitable society.
You will find below a summary of the major accomplishments of the last year.
We were able to connect new and established grantmakers, their trustees, and staff to each other, to their communities, and to emerging and relevant issues in Puerto Rico. We were honored to serve a diverse and vibrant membership. Even though creating a membership organization during a pandemic was challenging, we grew our membership 50% in 2021 and we are projecting to have an 11% increase in membership for 2022.
During 2021, we strengthened the infrastructure for our Action Dialogues framework. We had 36 action dialogues meetings. Member engagement continues to expand. Several initiatives with the Department of Education (Local and US) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) were ignited by these groups.
Public policy efforts led by members who participated in the action dialogues included:
We hosted our Annual Convening in October, and had an increase in member participation. Even though we pivoted last minute to a virtual meeting, this did not deter us from having in-depth conversations about how philanthropy can have a positive or negative impact on the resolution of issues impacting Puerto Rico. It is noticeable that our collective continues to mature.
Themes discussed in the annual convening included:
- Exploring diversity to lead change
- Addressing Gender Violence
- Wielding Power (in Education)
- Let’s talk about Filantropía Puerto Rico
- Supporting Civic Participation
We hosted quarterly networking events for our members.
The themes (that interlaced with our projects and action dialogues) were the following:
- Q1: Exploring the transformative principles of dignity, justice, and belonging.
- Q2: Exploring Gender and Identity
- Q3: Who Wants to be a Millionaire Arts Edition
- Q4: Impact of the Forward Fund
We hosted 6 webinars this year promoting the work of local non-profit organizations.
- 100-day Plan: Agenda to Reduce Child Poverty by Incentivizing Economic Mobility in Puerto Rico
- Results of the Puerto Rico Distributed Energy Resource Integration Modeling Study
- Contratos en Ley – Promoting Public Procurement that is Transparent, Efficient, Just and Inclusive
- Lack of Information: The Emergency after the Hurricane
- Puerto Rico’s Public School Closures – Community Effects and Future Paths
- Evidence the violence: a citizen’s database against police abuse
Virtual Member Community
We created a member-only virtual platform to strengthen engagement within members. Almost 50 members have joined, allowing them to share knowledge, news, achievements, job postings, resources, and promoting connections.
A collection of key investments and noteworthy news from grantmakers working in Puerto Rico.
In 2021, FiPR committed all funds available and will continue managing grants until the end of 2024. As the Fund’s activities come to an end, we are creating structures and systems to swiftly organize collaborative funds and accommodate funding strategies among our members or serve as intermediary funders for specific purposes as opportunities arise.
- Strengthening NGOs’ infrastructure to hold effective programs for communities
- NGOs producing policy-relevant data to inform actions that promote equity and fairness
- Growing civic demand for government transparency and accountability
- Increasing donor’s knowledge of and commitment to Puerto Rico
Learning to Listen
This two-year project was an experimental lab in which FiPR and its members learned and explored new philanthropic practices rooted in equity, and building new relationships with peer organizations in the US with whom we hope to expand our support network.
As part of Learning to Listen, FiPR is developing (Q1 2022) a toolkit with best practices for foundation staff and key decision makers to work with communities. Some of these best practices include strategies to receive feedback and develop listening practices that are community based and culturally competent. During the first half of 2021, we successfully completed the first phase of our Learning to Listen project where 36 participants met virtually during six weeks to learn about participatory grantmaking practices and design the process to award $900k from the FORWARD Fund in areas of education, environment, transparency, and governance.
Engagement and participation on all sessions was inspiring, evidencing the deep interest from community leaders, activists, nonprofits and funders that joined us in rethinking power balances in philanthropic practices. Conversations were honest, intense, and thought-provoking. These resulted in three grant designs striving for grantmaking processes that are more attuned to the operational realities and programmatic needs of organizations and communities, while leveraging their invaluable, on-the-ground expertise.
For further details of the objectives selected by the groups visit the calls for proposal and objectives blog. And for selected organizations check out our Action Summary September 2021.
We also launched a survey to learn how equity is integrated within grantmaker operations in Puerto Rico and how each organization listens to and incorporates Yeathe voices and perspectives of those served. Those results will be shared in early 2022.
Robusteciendo la Justicia Social
Strengthening Social Justice is a newly launched project supporting long-term sustainability for seven organizations focused on social justice issues related to housing, land use, the environment and civic engagement.
The cohort was created with the intention of enabling the field-changing impact that organizations working on individual projects in isolation are unlikely to have. This cohort is supported by over $2.62 million in grants and designed to engage these seven organizations and their teams with a shared mission through a process of collective learning.
A key component of the Strengthening Social Justice project is the self-diagnostics that participants must perform in order to better understand their organizations’ weaknesses, needs and opportunities. With this knowledge, this cohort will begin three years of grant deployment to develop & improve their organizations. Click here to read more about the importance of these self diagnostics.
With this project, along with other projects like Learning to Listen and Colección de Voces y Datos, we continue testing and exploring the evolution of philanthropic practices to include flexible funding, multi-annual grant support, peer learnings, high quality feedback and self-diagnostic tools.
Operations, Financials & Governance
We continue making our webpage a central resource page for grantmakers in Puerto Rico, where they can see what other funders are working on, get a pulse on the nonprofits working on the island, and access tools that support their objectives or those of the ecosystem.
We report back our progress to our membership once a month, sharing our actions and lessons on our member services, special projects, collaborative funds and other initiatives.
Fellow Philanthropy Support Organizations (PSO)
We furthered relationships with other PSOs. We were very engaged being a part of the planning committee for the Grantmakers in the Arts annual conference and supported the presentation of local organizations within the programming.
Feedback Incentives Learning Group
FiPR participated in a working group with six other organizations facilitated by Feedback Labs. We undertook experiments aimed at encouraging nonprofits or foundations to improve how they listen to the people meant to ultimately benefit from their mission. FiPR’s purpose in this project was two-fold: develop a high-quality feedback culture within the organization and plant the seeds to develop it on the island’s philanthropic sector.
Learnings from this project informed our Learning to Listen project and vice versa. We saw both opportunities as a means to advance our mission of connecting and amplifying philanthropic efforts in Puerto Rico through a deep sense of equity among all players in the sector.
Internally we completed an exercise for organizational development. We created an organizational map to identify our strengths and areas to improve. We used the Ford Foundation framework.
Our main areas of improvement in 2022 are the following:
- External Communications: A clearly outlined strategy for communications with targeted and distinct messages to prioritized audiences that are regularly revised in light of changing contexts.
- Fundraising and Donor Relations: Highly developed long term fundraising strategy that leads to sustainable and diverse support for core work, including institutional and individual donors. Outreach to new potential resources for funding will be on-going.
- Learning and Evaluation: All programs are well defined and fully aligned with mission and goals; programs are integrated with one another and operate in consultation with one another to maximize effectiveness.
We hold 5 successful Board of Directors meetings where we worked closely with the directors to continue to have representation and policies that enhance diversity and inclusion amongst the board, our membership and the staff.
Last year we reviewed and approved documents to amplify our governance culture, policies and procedures. Also, to demonstrate our financial integrity, we completed our annual 2020 Audited Financials.
As we continue our day to day operations remotely we’ve created a balanced work environment and our FiPR team keeps growing to continue focusing on our mission. We welcome 2 new members to our team: Grants Officer and Operations Coordinator.