Participatory Grantmaking

Sharing Decision Making with Communities

NCFP believes that one of the core tenets of enlightened philanthropy is listening to end beneficiaries and being regularly informed by the people donors seek to serve. Participatory grantmaking takes listening one step further to engage community members in the decision-making process around grants. This Content Collection features research, case studies, discussion guides, and other articles and blog posts on the practice of participatory grantmaking (also sometimes referred to as “community led grantmaking”).

Please also see the following NCFP Content Collections for additional information and resources on topics related to this collection:

Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Board Composition, Diversity, and Recruitment

Power Dynamics in Family Philanthropy


Research and Reports

Case Studies and Foundation Profiles

Toolkits and Guides

Additional Posts and Perspectives

Getting Your Board on Board with Participatory Grantmaking: Addresses some of the most common concerns of embedding participatory grantmaking approaches.

Who Owns Philanthropy? A Look through an Antiracist Lens: Questions the uses, effects, and basic ownership rights of philanthropy in a democratic and racialized context, applying it to disaster philanthropy.

The Historical Case for Participatory Grantmaking: Makes the case that participation has always been part of philanthropy as a value, ethos, and practice.

Big Philanthropy Faces a Reckoning, Too: It’s time to challenge philanthropists and their foundations to open up their grantmaking decisions to those who’ve been marginalized.

A Funder Collaborative’s Promising, Participatory Model for Diversifying Arts Funding: Housed at the New York Community Trust and guided by funders and arts practitioners, the Mosaic Network and Fund serves as a promising and potentially replicable model for foundations looking to better engage historically underrepresented communities.

Not Just Cute Faces: Youth Grantmakers Are Strengthening Philanthropy: Youth are driving grant dollars to organizations that are changing communities through more than 800 programs around the world.

How Youth Are Advising a Foundation Leader and Guiding a Major California Grantmaker: The California Endowment’s President’s Youth Council is one of many examples of the far-reaching potential of getting young people involved at the highest levels of philanthropy.

Participatory Design Approaches to Impact Investing: Identifies four key stages in which a participatory approach can make a difference in your foundation’s impact investing strategy.

Additional Resources on Participatory Grantmaking: GrantCraft’s comprehensive collection of blog posts, articles, and other online media produced on the topic.

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