Applying it in Your Own Organization: Making a Gender Lens Visible

How does a grantmaking institution communicate its commitment to gender analysis — and to diversity and equity, more broadly — to the public and to potential grantees? Where do those commitments manifest themselves?

  • In the foundation’s website and annual report. The website is the first point of contact for many prospective grantees, and it communicates a lot about a foundation’s values and priorities. The annual report serves a similar function by highlighting past accomplishments that the foundation views as especially important. What policies and commitments do grantees see reflected in the mission statement and other text? What images represent the foundation and its grantees?
  • In standard application forms and information to grantees. Grant guidelines and application requirements can attract and encourage grantees who share a foundation’s values. One grantmaker noted that applicants often call her with questions about the “nuts and bolts” of completing the diversity table, then work their way into “a deeper conversation about the values and focus of the foundation.”
  • In projects and evaluations. The most important evidence, of course, is in the actual grantmaking. Who receives grants, and for what projects? Do evaluations employ gender, race, and other analytic lenses?
  • In site visits. A site visit is a good opportunity to observe a grantee organization and give helpful feedback. “We can observe dynamics,” explained one program officer, “such as who attends the meeting, who speaks, and their level of engagement during the conversation.”
  • In public and professional meetings. A grantmaker at a regional foundation said that she and her colleagues make it a regular practice to raise issues of race and gender in public meetings. They often present on those topics during grantmakers’ gatherings.
  • In alliances. One way to learn more about using a gender lens and signal a commitment to women’s issues is to collaborate on a project with a local women’s fund. See for a list of these organizations.

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Grantmaking with a Gender Lens.