Barbara McDowell Foundation 2020 Year-End Summary Report

The Foundation’s efforts to accomplish social justice in 2020 included:

Selection of Its 2021 Grant Recipients

The Foundation’s 2021 grant recipients each received $50,000 for a total of $200,000 in grant awards. The 2021 grantees and their funded cases, which were chosen from a record 104 applicants, were as follows (by clicking on each grantee’s name you can read more about its funded case):

Receipt of 2020 Grantees’ Six-Month and Year-End Reports

The Foundation received from its 2020 grantees their six-month and year- end reports outlining their accomplishments stemming from their grant funded cases. The 2020 grantees and their cases were as follows (by clicking on each grantee’s name you can read more about each funded case):

Expansion of the Pro Bono High Impact Litigation Project

In order to coordinate additional high impact social justice cases on behalf of the poor and vulnerable, the Foundation expanded the Pro Bono High Impact Litigation Project in the following ways:

Further, the High Impact Litigation Project reported in 2020 the following successes from cases initiated in previous years:

Publication of Reports on the Foundation’s Progress

The Foundation published this year two reports outlining its activities and their impact. 

Fundraising and Marketing Efforts

The Foundation in 2019 embarked on its first-ever fundraising campaign. While the COVID pandemic slowed considerably those efforts in 2020, there were still several positive fundraising developments: 

The Foundation continued to expand its email marketing efforts by using the online service MailChimp, which hosts the Foundation’s email contact list, allows for the creation of email marketing templates, and the creation and statistical tracking of email marketing campaigns. 

Further, the Foundation’s marketing efforts in 2020 included:

Recruitment of New Board Members

The Foundation announced after approval by the Board of Directors of the addition of two new members on Thursday, November 19, 2020:

Financial Results

The Foundation’s portfolio began the year with $1,225,044 that was down to $1,023,095 at the end of March but rallied with the stock market to finish the year at $1,138,949. This final figure includes withdrawals from the portfolio of $200,000 in grant donations and $41,088 in expenses and the addition of $19,575 in donations. 

The Foundation’s new portfolio manager, Raffa Investments, took over management of the portfolio on June 26, 2020. Since then, the portfolio has gained 15.76%, or $163,045, driven by the portfolio's equity holdings in United States and foreign stocks.  

The portfolio has a conservative growth emphasis with an asset allocation target of 60% equities to 40% fixed income. The portfolio was in line with this target as of December 31, 2020, with a slight emphasis to equity given the stock rebound seen over the year.

Other Items of Note

Based on feedback from the Board at the 2020 Annual Meeting the Foundation has been working on updating the application process. The draft 2022 grant application and grant application process will be circulated for feedback and any further changes recommended by the Board before being finalized. 

The Foundation also began exploring the awarding of the Barbara McDowell Foundation Social Justice Award to an individual contributing to the attaining of social justice in the past year.  The announcement of this award would be in conjunction with a fundraising event.  There will be more about this project in the coming months.