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Centering Equity in Intermediary Relationships: An Opportunity for Funders

Times of mass mobilization like the uprisings for Black lives and global crises like the COVID pandemic broaden awareness of the work of organizations, collectives, and other groups of people working to transform harmful systems. Some of these groups turn to intermediaries—fiscal sponsors and donor intermediaries—to provide back-office support, grant funding, and other services to support their ongoing work and evolution. 

This report explores the ways in which the ecosystem of funders and intermediaries can better support these groups—which we’re calling “constituent-led groups”—who do their work without formal 501c3 status and are often led by and supporting historically oppressed communities. 

Today, many constituent-led groups, particularly those that are smaller and geographically isolated, struggle to find fiscal sponsors and other intermediaries that share their values and can provide services that are deeply rooted in racial equity. For a number of reasons, funders—who can’t otherwise support constituent-led groups—often prioritize partnering with intermediaries with a high capacity for scaling services and distributing resources and funds. Though equity values are important to funders in selecting intermediaries to partner with, many funders don’t know what equity-centered services look like or how to support intermediaries in deepening this work.

In this report, we share different ways fiscal sponsors and donor intermediaries have approached deepening equity in their work while meeting the volume of demand from constituent-led groups and funders. We also offer some pathways forward for funders seeking to strategically invest in intermediaries to strengthen their capacity in these areas so they might better serve constituent-led groups.  

We shared early findings from this report in this infographic. We hope this deeper report will…

  • Help funders better understand the role that intermediaries play in ensuring that constituent-led groups have the equity-aligned support and resources they need to thrive;
  • Showcase how intermediaries are building their equity capacity, deepening their equity practices, and developing sustainable business models to serve the growing demands of constituent-led groups in terms of number, budget size, and complexity of need;
  • Support the development of an equity-capable ecosystem of intermediaries that can meet the funders’ interest in moving a large volume of funding to many groups quickly; and
  • Offer some practical ways to build more mutually supportive relationships across funders, intermediaries, and constituent-led groups.
Photo Credit: API Equality - LA

To download the digital version of the report, click below.

To download the print version of the report, click below.