New Resource Urges Foundations to Think Beyond Immediate Crisis Response

“Crisis as Catalyst” now available online as a free PDF download

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Philanthropy Active in Civic Education (PACE) and CSR Communications today released “Crisis as Catalyst: A Conversation Starter for Reimagining What’s Next.”  This resource is available as a free PDF download via this link.

This resource is meant to guide discussion of the role civil society institutions play in disasters and crises. With philanthropy as its primary audience, this guide helps funders:

  • consider how to sustain and elongate investments beyond initial disaster response;
  • explore how seemingly different crises can have ramifications on each other;
  • imagine how the future can look as a result of their investments and civic leadership; and
  • interrogate how structural racism and disparities show up within every disaster.

“In early April, Kristen and I had a serendipitous Zoom chat about our shared admiration — and concern — for philanthropy’s response to COVID-19. We admired the speed, flexibility and size of commitments, but were concerned that we’d once again miss the opportunity to reimagine what healthy and vibrant civic life can look like on the other side of any disaster or community crisis. And as George Floyd’s killing by police sparked another crisis, we knew we needed to do something about these concerns,” said CSR Communications Founder and President Nancy Murphy.

They, in partnership with PACE Fellow Decker Ngongang, authored “Crisis as Catalyst” with the intent to start conversations within and among philanthropic foundations, and between foundations and their grantees.

“PACE has a strong tradition of supporting active, participatory, and actionable learning for our members. We wanted a tool that leads with questions instead of prescribing answers, and encourages funders to engage in the creative and collaborative process of re-imagining a new reality for our future instead of feeling forced into a ‘new normal,’” said Kristen Cambell, Executive Director of PACE.

PACE and CSR Communications will host a virtual conversation and Q&A session about the guide on Thursday, August 6 at 3:00 p.m. EDT. To register, please click here.


PACE is a member-centric philanthropic laboratory for funders seeking to maximize their impact on democracy and civic life in the United States. Our members share a belief that America will be healthier and more successful, resilient, and productive, if democracy is strong and the office of citizen is treated as central to how it functions. We believe that American democracy will thrive when all of its people are informed and engaged in the process of creating it. More information at

CSR Communications helps intrapreneurs – leaders of big change within established organizations – get unstuck, create a clear vision and goals, and design a path to realize them. Our proprietary processes for strategy development (Goal Getter), message development and communication (Mine the Essence) and board development (Board Booster) ensure social change agents achieve their desired results. CSR Communications also is home to the SHIFT Change Leaders Lab that helps isolated individuals become influential intrapreneurs, especially in times of crisis. More information at