The Case for Trust-Based Funding

A new film, UnCharitable, throws down the gauntlet, challenging preconceived notions of what “charity” should look like for nonprofits. Specifically, the film showcases the need for nonprofits to be trusted and empowered to make decisions, use resources creatively, and break free from the shackles of restrictive funding models to achieve greater impact.

CNM President and CEO Efrain Escobedo recently joined a panel discussion before a screening of the film hosted by Inclusive Action for the City (CEO Rudy Espinoza sits on CNM’s board) and they were joined by new California Community Foundation CEO Miguel Santana. This robust discussion highlighted a clear call to action: Now more than ever nonprofits need true partnership with government and philanthropy that values its impact and supports their health and sustainability to ensure a thriving social impact sector.

Nonprofits continue to face crippling roadblocks to meeting community needs due to inequitable funding and contracting processes. Financial sustainability remains a constant struggle, with 78% of LA nonprofits citing it as their top challenge. Nonprofits need full cost reimbursement from funders that makes the work impactful and sustainable.

Financial sustainability remains a constant struggle, with 78% of LA nonprofits citing it as their top challenge.

In the film, Espinoza highlighted how these challenges impede nonprofits’ ability to drive change: “Most of the time, I’m stressed about trying to figure it out, how I could just maintain what we’ve got. My colleagues are gifted thinkers and writers and strategists and are thinking about the bigger picture…You need to change these laws that perpetuate some of these systems.”

CNM envisions and advocates for a future social impact sector unburdened by bureaucratic hurdles, inequitable funding, and unjust compensation. By reimagining the role of nonprofits and dismantling harmful silos between philanthropy, business, and government, we can cultivate equitable communities and a thriving, inclusive economy.

Looking ahead to the New Year, CNM is focused on increasing its advocacy to call for more equitable funding and true partnership with funders. Share your ideas with us.

Sign up for CNM's eBlasts

Required *

Speak With an Expert

Need expert advice? We're only an email or phone call away. Use this form to get in touch or call the Nonprofit Answer Hotline at the number listed below. You can also schedule a free, 15-minute appointment and we’ll match you with an in-house expert.








To select more than one item, hold Command on Mac or Control on PC.



CNM Nonprofit Hotline

Need expert advice? We’re only an email or phone call away. Use this form to get in touch or call the Nonprofit Answer Hotline at the number listed below.

You can also schedule a free, 15-minute appointment and we’ll match you with an in-house expert.








To select more than one item, hold Command on Mac or Control on PC.