Fund the People works to maximize investment in the nonprofit workforce. We envision a nonprofit sector that is equitable, effective, and enduring. Because it is driven by powerful professionals who have the support they need to make and sustain significant social change.

  • Equitable:  Nonprofit workplace conditions that are fair, accessible, viable, welcoming, and supportive for all Americans who wish to serve their communities, across class, race, gender, national origin, ability, age, generation, and other forms of diversity and inclusion.
  • Effective: Practices that respect nonprofit workers as the primary human force that creates, sustains, and increases organizational capacity, powerful programs and services, and the social impact of organizations and causes.
  • Enduring: The systems needed to support the wellbeing, economic realities, retention, advancement, and sustainability of nonprofit leaders and workers -- individually and collectively, for the present and for the long-haul.   

We influence the attitudes and behaviors of funders and fundraisers, in order to ensure widespread adoption of talent-investing  across the sector. Talent-investing is the intentional deployment of capital to support and develop nonprofit leaders and workers.

We achieve these changes through our three-part strategy of making the case, equipping for action, and organizing for widespread adoption of talent-investing.

  • Making the Case: Providing cogent logic, cold hard numbers, and compelling stories that demonstrate the urgent need for and significant value of investing in the nonprofit workforce.
  • Equipping for Action: Offering guidance, intellectual resources, and peer-support to help leaders implement talent-investing practices in new and preexisting organizations.
  • Organizing: Building a network of relationships among champions who are willing to support one another and are able to mobilize individually and collectively for the cause of talent-investing.

Since Fund the People began, we’ve laid the groundwork for a transformation of the field changes through the following deliverables:

  • Thought-Leadership: Through both public and behind-the-scenes influence activities, we've driven a reframing of the problem facing the nonprofit sector. For decades the problem was framed as a deficit of leaders. We reframed. the problem as a chronic deficit of investment in the nonprofit workforce. Moving from problem to solutions, we've developed actionable ideas, practical tools, and innovative practices. We've delivered these through our unique podcast, speaking engagements, and other platforms. 
  • Tools: We've built a robust toolkit of original, freely-available resources to help funders and nonprofits make the case and test-out talent-investing practices.
  • Consulting: Our consulting practice helps funders and nonprofits to integrate talent-investing into their work to advance existing priorities in grantmaking, fundraising, and other dimensions of organizational life.
  • Research: Our original research has established baseline data on how much foundation funding goest toward supporting grantee staff; examined how funders and nonprofits can invest in intersectional racial equity in the nonprofit workforce; and gathered data on the value that foundations can create by investing in grantee staff.  
  • Education and Training: We help social sector leaders understand why and how to invest in the nonprofit workforce through our conference presentations, workshops,  funder briefings, retreats, and other vehicles. We've piloted a set of original online courses that will anchor our Funding that Works Academy (coming late 2023). 

Fund the People was launched by Rusty Stahl in 2014 with support from The Kresge Foundation, well before the Great Resignation made recruitment, burnout, and retention a more visible crisis in the sector. Our launch took place after nearly two years of research and development (R&D) supported by a residency at NYU Wagner School of Public Service and a Tides Fellowship. This R&D period was during Fall 2012 - Summer 2014. The impetus to begin R&D, in turn, was inspired by Generating Change, a research and framing effort led by Rusty at Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) in partnership with Putnam Consulting. Further, our work was inspired by participation in the Obama Administration's 2011 White House Forum on Nonprofit Leadership, and the Nonprofit Workforce Coalition that led to the Forum.


Fund the People is headquartered in the historic City of Beacon in New York's stunning Hudson Valley, where we are part of the BeaHive co-working space. With this as our base, we work remotely with staff, consultants, and colleagues across the U.S. 

Parent Organization

Fund the People is a project of Community Partners, a Los Angeles-based 501(c)(3) organization that acts as a fiscal sponsor for us and many other nonprofit and civic projects. Click here to view Fund the People's profile in Community Partners website.


Click here to find financial information for Community Partners, including audited financials. (Note: In the most recent available audited financials from 2021, search the PDF for "Talent Philanthropy Project", the original name of Fund the People).


Rusty Stahl is Founder, President and CEO of Fund the People, where he stewards our vision and mobilizes resources for our mission. He previously served as founding Executive Director of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP), the national association of young and new foundation professionals.

Click Rusty's name for a complete bio.

Portrait of Erin Giunta

Erin Giunta is the Project and Operations Manager for Fund the People, where she supports programmatic work, such as our podcast and forthcoming Funding that Works Academy. 


Meenakshi Abbi, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
Caroline Altman Smith,
The Kresge Foundation
Stephanie Andrews,
Bush Foundation
Lucy Bernholz,
Stanford Center on Philanthropy + Civil Society
John Brothers,
T. Rowe Price Foundation
Lisa Brown Alexander,
Nonprofit HR
Gali Cooks,
Leading Edge
Colleen Cruikshank, Schusterman Family Philanthropies
Meghan Duffy,
Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
Terry Edwards,
Kathleen Enright,
Council on Foundations
Russ Finkelstein,
Coach and Consultant
Tom Fuechtmann,
Community Memorial Foundation
John Gershman,
New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
Lupita González,
The Thrive Advisory
Wanda Jackson,
National Urban League
Monisha Kapila,
Emily Kessler,
ER Kessler Consulting
Dr. Max Klau,
New Politics Leadership Academy
Gara LaMarche, 
Colin Powell School, City College of New York
Libbie Landles-Cobb,
The Bridgespan Group
Philip Li,
Robert Sterling Clark Foundation
Seth Linden,
Gather Consulting, LLC
Daphne Logan,
Start Early
Sonia BasSheva Manjon, PhD
LeaderSpring Center
Jasmine McGinnis Johnson,
The George Washington University
Michael Moody,
Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy
Sonia Ospina,
New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
Anita Patel,
Bush Foundation
Claire Peeps,
Durfee Foundation
Maria Pignataro Neilsen,
Chief HR Officer
Vincent Robinson,
The 360 Group
Kristen Ruff,
Philanthropy New York
Pratichi Shah,
Flourish Talent Management Solutions, LLC
George Suttles,
Commonfund Institute at Commonfund
Alexis Terry,
ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership
Sean Thomas-Breitfeld,
Building Movement Project

As of December 2022


Our work has been supported by generous supporters by various foundations over the years. Our current supporters are the Barr Foundation, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

In addition, our work is supported by generous gifts from individuals who care about equity, effectiveness, and endurance in the nonprofit workforce. We invite you to become part of our community of financial supporters today. Thank you!