Introducing NEO’s New Strategic Plan

By: Michele Lord, President of NEO Philanthropy

Since NEO Philanthropy’s founding more than 40 years ago, our approach has been guided by the strong partnerships with grassroots organizations closest to the challenges impacting their communities.

As we plan for the future with a new strategic plan, I’m proud to say that our path ahead is once again informed and influenced by the robust network of individuals and organizations that power movements of transformation.

The new strategic plan is a roadmap for NEO to advance our vision of a just, democratic, and equitable world where social justice movements are powerful, connected, and resourced to achieve their vision for change. We recognize this moment in time as particularly consequential in the effort to advance the rights and freedoms of those who have been the most historically marginalized groups in the United States-Black people, indigenous people, people of color, women, LGBTQI people, immigrants, and people with disabilities.

We know that progress is made in fits and starts, but that it is always the presence of strong movements that accompany the pressing forward and advancement of necessary change and greater equity. This journey to progress is frequently contested and often accompanied by setbacks along the way, but our approach is unwavering: connecting changemakers and funders, supporting emerging leaders and movements, and driving resources to groups accelerating change.

Our new strategic plan is a reflection of the lessons we have learned as part of a community dedicated to advancing movements toward justice. NEO Philanthropy has committed to five pillars in the new strategic plan: Sustainability; Infrastructure; Culture; Collaboration; and Impact.

The strategic plan process was an opportunity to not only define where we want to go but to clearly lay out our strategies for getting there. The four strategies outlined in our final strategic plan document are not new to NEO or to our philanthropic partners. In fact, we have been following many of these strategies since our founding in 1983. In this unique and challenging time, we are more committed than ever to our vision and mission.

NEO Philanthropy’s Core Strategies

1. Shift Philanthropy to Center Equity

2. Connect Funders and Changemakers

3. Drive Resources to the Most Impacted

4. Support Emerging Groups and Leaders

I am proud that NEO’s core strategies align with our direction and with our values. Taken together, the new strategic plan with all of its elements, including a sharper focus on participatory grantmaking, represents a clear and purposeful way forward for NEO and our partners through the uncertain times that we all face.

We are extremely proud of the work we have partnered on during the lifetime of NEO Philanthropy and we also understand the breadth and depth of the challenges we face in the near future. The issues that we will focus on given the enormity of the stakes are: immigration, voting rights, reproductive justice, racial justice, climate justice, and LGBTQ rights. When we work together to build and strengthen movements of justice there is nothing we can’t accomplish.

Please take a closer look at the new strategic plan to learn more about our priorities and values.

To our partners and friends in this effort who have inspired us with your courage, tenacity, and brilliance: A sincere thank you.


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