The Libra Foundation

2016 Year in Review


Overview The year is ended on a note of dire uncertainty, for the country and for so many of Libra’s grantees. Between the general election outcomes, the super majority in Washington, DC and the bitter divide we are seeing in the starkest light, we find ourselves in a position of needing to organize, be vigilant and strategic, and be mindful of the potential challenges facing progressive activism. The Libra Foundation is well positioned to support that activism with its resources and as a leader in the donor community. The year ahead will present many challenges and opportunities to engage with grantees as they anticipate and mobilize for change. As 2016 ended, we can find the accomplishments and progress made by many of our grantee partners encouraging. We have highlighted several of these below. A significant focus for 2016 was the planning and carrying out of the Libra partner convening, held at Cavallo Point in Sausalito, CA September 21-23. Libra staff were responsible for designing and planning the event, which brought together 150 grantees, partners, staff and Board members. It was an exciting and rewarding experience. The team worked diligently throughout the year to fulfill The Foundation’s mission and support our commitment to aligning with human rights and social justice principles. We hope you enjoy reading about the Foundation’s and our partners’ accomplishments.

Happy New Year,

Betsy, Joan, and Andrew


Grantmaking Performance

Grantmaking Performance This past year, we increased our support to many of our grantees and significantly deepened our relationship with a number of partners, including: Asian Law Caucus, Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, Center for Neighborhood Technology, Children and Family Justice Center, Climate Justice Alliance, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Immigrant Defense Project, International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, International Development Exchange, International Indian Treaty Council, Movement Generation, Pesticide Action Network North America, Transform Finance, Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, and Washington Office on Latin America. We also provided first time support to several new organizations, including: Center for Story-Based Strategy, Common Justice, Enlace, Grassroots Global Justice, and The Working World. Libra moved three board directed grantees to the general cycle: Community Works West, Our Children’s Trust, and Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth. Finally, we made final tie-off grants to International Planned Parenthood Federation and Physicians for Human Rights, and will move Chicago Foundation for Women to Board Directed for the 2017 Spring Cycle. In 2016, Libra funded 69 organizations through general grants, 45 through board directed grants and made 22 out-of-cycle grants. One capacity building grant that warrants mention is the $75,000 grant to the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in support of the Restore Oakland project. In total, the Foundation awarded $9,063,837, with 80% dedicated to the main priority areas (general grants) and 20% dedicated to board directed and out of cycle grants. This year we introduced an alternative final reporting option, providing grantees with the freedom to provide a range of documents/media in lieu of a written narrative report, which has been our standard practice to date. This decision was based on a recognition that grantees often produce tools, publications, op-eds, training materials, etc. that clearly demonstrate the content of their work. By providing this option, we sought to have the process be less onerous and more reflective of their programming work. Another goal of this strategy was to gather materials that would be more interesting to review by the Board. We received videos, vimeos, interviews, infographics, op. eds, publications, fact sheets, photos and more. Approximately 30% of the final reports submitted in 2016 were alternative reports, and we received many appreciative comments from our grantees for integrating this option into our reporting requirements. We will continue to provide this option to grantees in the coming year.