Contributions

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

Making Big Bets for Big Results

Posted on June 16, 2016 by Chris Addy, Denis Chicola, Jennie Lehua Watson, Matt Foreman

Bridgespan research reveals that 80% of the biggest donors aim for dramatic social change with their giving, yet only 20% of the biggest gifts (for research purposes, identified at $10M or above) over the past decade plus have gone to such causes. The Bridgespan Group identified a number of barriers and stories of how some donors were getting beyond them… Read More

Surdna Foundation: Be Fearless Spotlight Story

Posted on February 27, 2016 by Case Foundation

On the eve of its 100th anniversary, the Surdna Foundation is stronger, more nimble and more effective as a philanthropic organization than it has ever been. The secret to its success? Stakeholders who encourage failing forward, experimenting with new ideas and collaborating with others… Read More

Open Road Alliance: Be Fearless Spotlight Story

Posted on September 17, 2015

Whatever the catastrophe, Open Road Alliance (ORA) stands ready to help, able to offer grants of up to $100,000—with decisions made within two to six weeks of applying. Their average grant is $76,000 and, since 2012, it has awarded $3.5 million to groups including the Global Press Institute and the Grameen Foundation. Read the full spotlight story here. This Spotlight… Read More

Jacobs Family Foundation: Be Fearless Case Study

Posted on May 5, 2015

An abandoned lot, an experimental initial public offering (IPO) and a culture that believes that failure leads to learning inspired the Jacobs Family Foundation to transform its business model from traditional grantmaker to place-based funder to maximize impact without sacrificing its core values and mission. A Be Fearless case study, sponsored by the Case Foundation… Read More

The Beldon Fund: Final Impact Assessment

Posted on November 26, 2014

During its time-limited lifespan, the Beldon Fund sought to maximize its impact with focused investments in environmental advocacy and health. The Fund pursued three unique but interrelated strategies to advance positive change on the issues it cared about: 1) Build capacity and clout, 2) Support civic engagement, 3) Broaden the base of support. A fourth strategy, Giving more than grants,… Read More

The Power of Taking Stock: 5 Reasons to Conduct Evaluations

Posted on October 23, 2014 by Kris Putnam-Walkerly

Knowledge is power, as the saying goes, but I am not sure many foundations fully believe that. In the course of working with foundations across the country, I have made a somewhat surprising discovery: Many foundations grossly underestimate the importance of evaluating impact. This is unfortunate, because evaluation is both enlightening and empowering… Read More

Peer Skill Share Program (Pierce Family Foundation)

Posted on July 29, 2014 by Pierce Family Foundation

The Peer Skill Share program is designed to invest in the professional skills of nonprofit employees, building their individual capacity and by extension, the capacity of their organizations. The Pierce Family Foundation arranges for nonprofit employees to help each other via “skill share” sessions, where grantees can get one-on-one advice from peers on specific needs they identify. Since there is… Read More

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