Letting Go of Power, Centering Community: The Share Fund

The Share Fund’s Story of Incorporating Participatory Grantmaking in Family Philanthropy

This guide offers insights and inspiration for family philanthropists to consider how they can implement participatory grantmaking into their giving. It shares how one family, the Marklyns, established The Share Fund, a participatory giving model that is not funded with endowed funds, but by their deliberate, annual redistribution of their assets to their mission. Their experience is an offering — to the broader philanthropic community and families curious about the model — to learn about one family’s journey to developing a participatory grantmaking model that is intentionally designed to shift power and redistribute wealth. As one of The Share Fund Group members expressed, their model is about “creating something new in a way that will be able to serve the community without strings attached.”

Participatory grantmaking is a flexible, iterative model that offers families an opportunity to democratize their private philanthropy by shifting decision-making power to the communities most adversely impacted by inequity. If families commit to their own learning and growth, participatory grantmaking can offer an expansive way to deepen their family legacy through the values alignment of granting out dollars with a community-centric, equitable process.