The NoVo Foundation & a Long-Term Partnership
Our partnership with the NoVo Foundation is based, in part, on similar orientations. We’re both philanthropic groups with trustees who are family members. We both prefer a small-staff model – we have no interest in building big institutions or big staffs. We’re willing to take risks. We’re both interested in empowering women and girls through economic advancement.
There’s another reason for our successful partnership: We took the time to get to know each other. We met over a period of several months, building clear agreement on the critical issues and on questions of scale. This agreement is essential because it allows us to run at full speed in implementing and supporting programs funded by the NoVo Foundation.
The NoVo Foundation has made more than $2 million in grants to RFF, with funds used in part to help change state and federal policies to ease the conflict between work and family responsibilities – one of the biggest reasons for women’s economic inequality in America today. We help set strategy for coordinated efforts – the conversations often occur daily – and can be the fiscal sponsor for complicated initiatives.
In 2009, the partners funded a viral video that helped a relatively new group – Moms Rising – grow its membership from 100,000 to 800,000 in a few short weeks. That group is now a leading national voice for social change, and is able to deliver large crowds to press for that change.
NoVo’s founders have a deep and direct connection to these issues, and are willing to engage publicly. We’ve helped them play a visible role in multiple communities; they’ve helped us with counsel, connections and experience. We stay in regular contact, using informal communication channels much more than formal ones. From our perspective, the relationship is gratifying – and effective.
- Timely funding to seize an opportunity can have a huge impact.
- Long-term relationships with trusted partners give us the confidence to take chances.