The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) describes itself as an "independent, nonprofit" philanthropic advocacy organization that works "to provide nonprofit organizations with essential resources and opportunities to work toward social and economic justice for disadvantaged and disenfranchised populations and communities." NCRP overwhelmingly promotes grant-makers and grantees with leftist agendas, while criticizing their conservative counterparts. Its stated goal is to boost "social justice philanthropic grantmaking" to members of the political left.
Founded in 1976 by an assemblage of leftists and radical scholars, NCRP is not a grant-making entity but rather a research organization that conducts its own studies, whose findings it then disseminates to "funders, policymakers, and nonprofit activists for philanthropic reform."
In 1997, the NCRP published a study titled Moving a Public Policy Agenda: The Strategic Philanthropy of Conservative Foundations, which it later elaborated upon and re-titled Axis of Ideology: Conservative Foundations and Public Policy. This report asserts that "conservative public policy institutions and their philanthropic supporters have had a tremendous impact on Congress' and the [Bush] administration's penchant for waging war, curtailing civil liberties, and slashing taxes and social spending." "Over the past four years," said NCRP in 2006, "conservative policy organizations … and their foundation supporters have reenergized efforts to enforce backwards-looking social policies, most notably attacks on civil rights, gay and lesbian marriages, and affirmative action."
NCRP depicts the United States as a nation in need of dramatic structural change financed by philanthropic organizations. Giving voice to this perspective, a founding tenet of NCRP states, "We view the issues of private philanthropy and public needs in the context of a society in which power and resources are grossly misallocated. Ours is a society in which racial, ethnic, sexual, and other forms of discrimination deny many the political, economic and social advantages enjoyed by other Americans. … To remedy these evils, philanthropy must live up to the ideal of an innovative fearless agent of social change."
Focusing heavily on "social justice philanthropy," NCRP literature seeks to "encourage the philanthropic and nonprofit sector to promote economic empowerment and structural changes as a way to rectify social injustices." The NCRP social justice philanthropic agenda includes:
"Documenting the array of groups engaged in social and economic justice advocacy at the state level and the foundations that support them"
"Continuing and expanding our research on the strategies and impacts of conservative foundations' public policy grantmaking"
"Working to promote models of desirable foundation policy and behavior on social justice grantmaking"
"Conducting new research on the challenges for inner city and rural groups in accessing sufficient philanthropic capital"
"Publishing new reports on the status of social action and environmental funds in workplace fundraising campaigns and focusing on an analysis of the organizations benefiting from alternative funds and federations"
"Maintaining and updating a database of both domestic and international funders' networks committed to promoting social justice"
Aaron Dorfman has been NCRP's Executive Director since 2007. Prior to joining NCRP, he was a community organizer for 15 years, including 10 years as Executive Director of People Acting for Community Together (based in Miami, Florida) and 5 years as a head organizer for the Minneapolis and Miami chapters of ACORN.