Participatory Grantmaking

About this collection: 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").

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Essential resources on participatory grantmaking.

June 9, 2022

Participatory Grantmaking

What is participatory grantmaking, and why are funders utilizing this method of community-led grantmaking? What are some case studies of family-led philanthropies that have successfully used a participatory grantmaking approach? Learn how funders engage community members in the decision-making process and what strategies have been successful.     Find more…

Participatory Grantmaking: Has Its Time Come?

The paper synthesizes several existing participatory frameworks, identifies common components, and applies these to philanthropy as a “starter” framework that can, hopefully, be used as a springboard for ongoing discussion and development among grantmakers and non-grantmakers. The paper explores whether these existing frameworks—or at least key components of them—can be…

Democratizing Family Philanthropy: Shifting Practice to Share Power

Blog Post
“Nothing about us without us,” is commonly used by community activists when speaking about the changes they want to see in their communities. The idea is simple: those most affected by social problems—the intended beneficiaries of any program—should fully and meaningfully participate in decisions about programs, policies, and strategies that…

Dig Deeper

For those looking to learn more on the topic of participatory grantmaking.

Participatory Philanthropy Toolkit

The toolkit is based on the first-hand experiences of consultants working with funders and community members on the Fund for Shared Insight’s one-time grantmaking program, the Participatory Climate Initiative.

Deciding Together: Shifting Power and Resources Through Participatory Grantmaking

Deciding Together: Shifting Power and Resources Through Participatory Grantmaking looks at why and how funders are engaging in participatory grantmaking and shifting decision-making power to the very communities impacted by funding decisions. Through examples and insights from a diverse range of participatory grantmakers, the report explores the benefits, challenges, and…

Case Studies

How are organizations harnessing the power of participatory grantmaking?

Participatory Grantmaking Case Study: Durfee Foundation

Case Study
Questions addressed include: What are your grantmaking and/or strategic priorities (in terms of geographic focus, issue, etc.)? Who decides the grantmaking priorities? The overall strategy for the fund? What’s the process by which these decisions are made? Is the participatory decision-making process the same for all grant types and sizes?…

Additional Resources

Further reading on participatory grantmaking.

Practicing Participatory Philanthropy: Five Key Findings (NonProfit Quarterly, 2023): How can family foundations and donors stop perpetuating inequities within the communities and causes they serve? By centering community leadership, wisdom, and voices in grantmaking.

Participatory Grantmaking: What Practitioners Have to Say (NonProfit Quarterly, 2023): Participatory grantmaking is based on movement frameworks that have been around for centuries—and has roots in community distribution models that have been practiced for millennia. Even in today’s formal philanthropic sector, it has a considerable track record.

Participatory Grantmaking Is Your Future (Stanford Social Innovation Review, 2022): Funders must abandon top-down, one-sided funding approaches in favor of partnerships with the disability community.