The most effective nonprofits leverage the support of a wide range of community stakeholders to drive sustainable, systemic change. While many organizations are moving in this direction, Los Angeles-based Liberty Hill has always recognized that bringing communities together around the biggest issues they face is the only way to catalyze long-term social progress.
Liberty Hill is focused on forging partnerships with grantors, community organizers, and other nonprofits in and around Los Angeles. Because Liberty Hill addresses huge issues – from racial and economic injustice to environmental degradation and climate change – it knows deep collaboration and trust between a wide range of community stakeholders is vital.
Liberty Hill serves as a convener and facilitator
It simply isn’t possible to address the most entrenched systemic social, political, and economic problems without large-scale collaboration. The shift toward greater collaboration has been a trend in the nonprofit sector for the past several years, and Liberty Hill is a paradigmatic example of how it should be done.
A survey by the Bridgespan Group and the Lodestar Foundation found that 91 percent of nonprofits were engaged in one of the following types of collaboration: associations, joint programs, shared support functions, and mergers. Three-quarters of grantors and nonprofit leaders say their collaborations have been largely successful, and they want more collaboration in the future.
By building a diverse ecosystem of community partners, Liberty Hill hasn’t just cultivated in-depth institutional knowledge about social movements in Los Angeles – it has also built trust and served as an accelerator for those movements. Because the organization believes sustainable social change can only be secured when communities are galvanized at the grassroots level, it has put community organizing and campaigning at the center of its collaborative efforts.
An innovative approach to philanthropy
Liberty Hill describes itself as a “laboratory for social change philanthropy,” which is a reflection of its unique approach to scaling impact as broadly and strategically as possible. For example, it prioritizes donor activism and engagement, which is a way to help donors maximize their impact while getting them directly involved with the issues that concern them.
There was a dramatic surge in contributions to donor-advised funds in 2020, largely attributable to the devastating economic and social effects of COVID-19. This is a reminder that donors across the country are interested in addressing the most fundamental issues their communities face, and Liberty Hill’s donor-advised funds are flexible vehicles to help them maximize their impact. However, Liberty Hill’s donor activist services go well beyond the establishment and management of these funds.
For example, Liberty Hill gives donors an opportunity to multiply their impact by joining giving circles where they can collaborate, learn about strategic grantmaking, and connect with like-minded philanthropists who are focused on social justice. Liberty Hill also shows donors how to use their platforms to advocate for causes they care about and get involved directly in their communities.
Securing sustainable change
Everything Liberty Hill does is focused on sustainable social change, from its emphasis on grassroots organizing and training to its role as a facilitator of community partnerships. Another core element of Liberty Hill’s work is capacity-building, which helps nonprofits streamline operations, invest in staff, improve fundraising efforts, and develop the infrastructure necessary to scale impact as widely and effectively as possible.
There’s a reason 82 percent of nonprofit leaders who’ve received capacity-building support say it’s “very or extremely helpful” – it directly addresses the operational challenges that can prevent organizations from reaching their full potential. By helping nonprofits operate efficiently and giving them the resources they need to scale impact over the long term (from training to direct funding), Liberty Hill makes them stronger organizations and partners.
It’s an exciting time for the nonprofit sector, especially organizations focused on large-scale social change. There has never been more concern about the systemic inequalities and other injustices many communities face across the country, and nonprofits, grantors, and community stakeholders are increasingly recognizing that they’ll be in a much stronger position to address these issues if they work together.