Grantmaking Strategy and Evaluation

Grantmaking is the central, most rewarding activity of a family foundation or donor advised fund and the reason for its existence. It is your family’s opportunity to make a difference in areas that matter most to you. As grantmakers, you move beyond just talking about societal problems to looking for ways to help solve them. Your task is to figure out how to turn your family’s concerns into a cohesive philanthropic vision and, from there, into grants that have impact.

But grants are not the only tool in your philanthropic toolbox. Remember that, despite the central role of grants for much philanthropy, you should not overlook the variety of other options that philanthropic institutions have for achieving change. Impact investments, community investments, and shareholder advocacy can make a positive difference. You can advocate, volunteer, provide in-kind donations and technical assistance, serve as a community convener and more. Grants are not all you have to give.

Learn more about how today’s giving families are developing creative and impactful grantmaking strategies through the resources below.

Contributions

Deciding Together: Shifting Power and Resources Through Participatory Grantmaking

Posted on August 24, 2020 by Cynthia Gibson

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 models of participatory grantmaking… Read More

Bridging The Gap: A Review of Foundation Listening Practices

Posted on August 24, 2020 by Ekouté

While much has been written about how funders can pursue direct listening at the local scale, comparatively less has been written about how larger systems-level funders working across multiple geographies can approach this work in meaningful ways. Based on their research, the authors recommend the following as particularly promising and relevant practices. Advisory committees, if structured correctly, can be powerful… Read More

Resiliency Guide

Posted on August 17, 2020 by S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

This Guide is designed to help deepen thinking about where, when, and how to invest in capacity building, while also helping funders to explore the dimensions of resiliency and help their grantee organizations prepare for eventual independence from grant funding… Read More

Balancing Purpose, Payout, and Permanence

Posted on August 14, 2020 by Peter F. Bird, Jr., Liz Sak, George Suttles, Nicholas A. Tedesco, Tony Macklin

“How much should we spend?” It’s an essential question for all funders, and an especially complex one for endowed private foundations. The answer of “around 5%” was never universal as foundations sought creative means of ensuring that assets would serve mission rather than the other way around. In recent times, the pressure to revisit payout has increased. Endowed foundations have… Read More

Leading with Love and Gratitude: The David Rockefeller Fund at 30

Posted on August 4, 2020 by David Rockefeller Fund

The David Rockefeller Fund charts its history with a fascinating look into the evolution of the family and its philanthropy. The Fund’s history reflects the fact that change is inevitable and necessary, but must be rooted in the values and legacy of the family. The family’s recognition of this positions them for long-term success, encouraging them to remain flexible and… Read More

Trust-based Family Philanthropy

Posted on July 23, 2020 by Sarah Walczyk, Shaady Salehi, Ellen Friedman, Hanh Le

Trust-based philanthropy is being embraced by a growing number of family foundations as a way to alleviate power imbalances between funders and grantees while fostering more productive and informative relationships. Driven by the central philosophy that funders should approach grantee relationships as learning partnerships, a trust-based approach encourages multi-year unrestricted funding, streamlined reporting, and transparent and responsive communication. In this… Read More

Families Funding Advocacy and Policy Change

Posted on July 17, 2020 by Julie Fernandes, Sara Watson, David Addams

Hands in air_protesting_advocacy
Advocacy is an important tool for funders seeking to address systemic inequalities ingrained in our policies and practices, and it can be the sole focus of an organization or an additional strategy employed to create lasting change. Many families pursue advocacy because of a founder’s interest or legacy, while others have introduced advocacy into their grantmaking portfolio after listening to… Read More

How Family Foundations Can Listen4Good

Posted on July 16, 2020 by Valerie Threlfall, Lisa Sobrato Sonsini, Fay Twersky, Nicholas A. Tedesco, Melinda Tuan

Philanthropy is an ever-evolving practice. It’s clear that partnering with and listening to the people and communities family foundations seek to serve are instrumental to realizing positive and enduring impact over time. Join us for an informational webinar on how Fund for Shared Insight’s Listen4Good feedback initiative can help you and your grantees collect feedback to make agile and informed decisions during… Read More

Catalytic Change: Lessons Learned from the Racial Justice Grantmaking Assessment

Posted on June 11, 2020

The Applied Research Center (ARC) and the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE) developed the Racial Justice Grantmaking Assessment following ARC’s 2004 publication of Short Changed: Foundation Giving in Communities of Color. That report documented, as recent reports have confirmed, decreasing grantmaking with clear racial justice impacts, as well as decreasing support for organizations led by people of color. As… Read More

Grantmaking with a Racial Justice Lens: A Practical Guide

Posted on June 11, 2020 by Rinku Sen, Lori Villarosa

Movements have grown in their intersectionality, their sophistication and reach and many nonprofits and organizers have been actively contributing to their gains as well as being pushed themselves. Many funders and philanthropic infrastructure organizations have taken on the language and principles of racial equity in their changing practices. Yet so much work remains, so many inequities continue to be exacerbated… Read More

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