Comment Philanthropie Communautaire bascule t-elle le pouvoir: Comment les donateurs peuvent contribuer à la réalisation de cela

Alors que des slogans tels que «think globally, act locally» (Refléchir globalement, agir localement) existent depuis des décennies, il y a tellement de fois encore que la décision sur la philanthropie et l’aide au développement se passe entre les intervenants extérieurs. Même les bailleurs de fonds qui tiennent véritablement à défendre le leadership et les initiatives locaux ont souvent du mal à renoncer au pouvoir. Ce document vise à aborder cette lutte avec des exemples concrets. Il a été commissioner par la Global Alliance for Community Philanthropy (l’Alliance mondiale pour la philanthropie communautaire) et le Global Fund for Community Foundations (Fonds mondial pour les fondations communautaires).

#ShiftThePower

Table des matières

  • Philanthropie communautaire: contexte pour partager et déléguer le pouvoir
  • Philanthropie communautaire, un concept: Historique et définitions
  • Quelques indications générales pour les donateurs
  • Les subventions pour accroitre la philanthropie communautaire et basculer le pouvoir
  • Aligner les valeurs et pratiques de la philanthropie communautaire au sein de votre institution de financement
  • Construire le secteur de philanthropie communautaire
  • Conclusion

About the author(s)

Executive Director
Global Fund for Community Foundations

Principal
Anna Pond Consulting

Investing in Indian Country: Bush Foundation Evaluates its Data

Any analysis of philanthropic funding is only as good as the coding and data behind it. But ask any program officer about their methodology, and their answers will likely be different.

“What we found when we actually dug into our data is that the numbers don’t always reflect reality—and it’s not necessarily intentional,” says Carly Bad Heart Bull, Native nations activities manager at the Bush Foundation. “For example, say we fund a school that checks all the boxes indicating that they serve every population group, but the school only has one or two Native students. Is this really an investment in Indian Country?”

Discrepancies like this are not new. Analyzing grants that can be identified as designated to benefit a specific community like Native Americans, either based on the grant description or the recipient organization’s mission, is seldom straightforward. Even for the Bush Foundation, which has a strategic focus on Native communities, it can be challenging to unpack which of its own grants serve Native Americans.

Understanding the Problem

The Bush Foundation serves Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. The foundation has a specific Native Nation Building strategic initiative, but their commitment to Indian Country extends beyond this one program area to essentially all their work. In 2017, the foundation decided to review and learn from their Native-focused work across all their program areas in order to better support Native communities moving forward.

Bad Heart Bull and Erica Orton, the foundation’s learning & evaluation manager, were tasked with the strategic priority to demonstrate the foundation’s commitment to Indian Country and to develop a report to make their investments in Native communities more transparent. To get there, they knew they’d have to go through an intensive process of re-examining their data to conduct a more accurate, thorough assessment of their funding. Bad Heart Bull and Orton began looking back—way back—at decades of grant memos, applications, and reports.

“We did not realize how big a lift it would be,” explained Bad Heart Bull. “Early on, we discovered there were many inconsistencies in how data had been collected and coded. In order to paint a clear picture of our funding over time, we had to understand how the work had been coded over time.”

With data going back as far as 1970, their research led them to the Minnesota Historical Society, which archives the foundation’s historical records. With the help of the society, they pulled boxes and found financial records, but in many cases, it was unclear if grants were serving the Native community. Orton had to cross-check records with hand-written notes and typed correspondences to determine if funding was truly serving Indian Country.

Even with more recent digitized data, they had a lot of information to clean through. Although they could divide the data by categories like geographic area served, racial/ethnic group served, and program area, some of these fields and the options within them changed over time, as did the way program officers interpreted the fields.

Looking to the past was an important step for the Bush Foundation to establish an understanding of how to move forward, smarter. “We went in knowing the older data might not be as clean, but we found that even in recent years there were inconsistencies stemming from differences in understanding and interpreting codes or due to staff turnover. While we expected to see issues historically, it also brought up a lot of insights about our current coding,” shared Orton.

Defining Intentionality

Looking at all the years of data together, Bad Heart Bull and Orton had to make a lot of judgment calls regarding intentional giving. They decided they would not just accept how something had been coded but would instead gather as much information as possible to decide if a grant was serving Native communities. They checked the coding against grant reports and grant proposals and decided that where it just wasn’t clear, or if there was not enough information, they would elect not to count the grant as explicit funding for Indian Country.

With the example of the school that marked that they served all populations, the Bush Foundation decided this information alone was not enough to code an organization as serving Native communities or people. Without more information to show such intentionality, they excluded those grants from their report.

When the information was ambiguous, the Bush Foundation decided this likely meant that there wasn’t intentionality around serving Native people. On the other hand, it was very clear when grants did focus on Native communities. As a result of making decisions like this, the Bush Foundation realized the pool of funding could end up being smaller than they previously assumed. However, it was well-understood within the foundation that the purpose of the report was to paint the most accurate picture of funding that was possible. They also knew they could explain that funding amounts may not be exact because of historical record-keeping and human error.

Another consideration was how the information would be interpreted once publicly reported. “If a community sees from our report that a large amount of funding was directed toward them, but they haven’t actually felt that funding, it could damage our relationship with them,” said Bad Heart Bull. Ultimately decided that they “wanted to avoid ‘padding’ the numbers in any way.”

Having given structure and methodology to cleaning and assessing the data, the Bush Foundation published its findings in the 2018 report, Native Nations Investments. Data was gathered from the Bush Foundation’s internal database: grant data available since 1970, and grant payments and amounts available since 1982. Then, grants were categorized by current program areas since 2012.

What they found was that intentional investment for Native peoples existed across most program areas. For some programs, Native funding fluctuated or decreased, while in others funding went up over the years. They were interested in learning how much money was going toward Indian Country, both within and outside of their Native Nation Building initiative which had begun in 2010. “By cleaning the data, we knew that some of the figures would be smaller than what had been reported. Still, we were glad to see significant investments happening across program areas, as well as areas note where we could improve.”

“This proved to us that a specific Native program is not always necessary in order to intentionally serve Native communities. We hear funders say they wish they had a specific program for Native peoples—but you can be intentional in targeting Native communities within any number of existing program areas like education, environment, or health,” said Bad Heart Bull.

Improving Practice

Looking back at data from the 1970s, the foundation was able to learn a lot about its history that stretched beyond their work in Indian Country. They learned about their data, recording processes, and priorities that had shifted as the foundation changed over the years. As the Bush Foundation continues to evolve, they are using the findings from this research to improve how they track demographic information (for all groups) and the processes by which they code grants moving forward.

“We’ve changed how we train staff in determining whether a grant is serving Indian Country,” said Bad Heart Bull. The Foundation initiated annual coding trainings in 2017 and has since incorporated a lens-specific to coding for Native communities.

Their first step was to develop a document that clearly defined terminology, and then to walk program officers through examples of how to code grants. After the initial training, they found that, overall, the foundation staff did a much better job of identifying funding, but creating definitions also opened new questions—not just about improving coding but also how to establish a deeper understanding of the programs. “By doing this we’ve figured out where we need to tighten up our codes in different areas. We are continuing to iterate and improve. We need to keep asking ourselves, ‘If we aren’t sure about this coding, why is that? How do we need to change the language to make sure we’re all coding things the same way?’ We need to keep going back, encouraging staff to ask questions when they aren’t sure, and reviewing our work,” said Orton.

The Bush Foundation is unique in that it does not require tribes to self-identify as existing within U.S. states. For example, even if a tribe is located within South Dakota’s borders, they do not have to select South Dakota as the geographic area they serve. This can lead to inconsistencies and potential data gaps when pulling data for South Dakota. While the data can still be pulled by state, staff must be intentional about including the codes for each individual Nation located within the geographic area, rather than solely relying on state codes. The foundation is still iterating on their processes to allow nuance in how grantees identify within socially-constructed borders.

“A lot of the nuance has to do with staff not coming from Native communities themselves and not understanding what it means to live on a reservation, live around a reservation, have tribal membership, or live in an urban area as a Native person. These experiences are felt so uniquely,” elaborates Bad Heart Bull.

“How people consider the place they live, whether by zip code, native nation, city, neighborhood, or state, shows the diversity and complexity of identity and the world we live in. The reality is it is not easy or simple, but we can start by educating ourselves about the complexity.”

Bad Heart Bull, a proud member of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, notes that this work does not have to be done by Native people alone. Native people will understand nuances that others may not, but the work can still happen by non-Native people who are willing to ask questions and take the initiative to be better informed about the communities they work with. “The better informed you can be about that community, the better data you’re going to get,” said Bad Heart Bull.

The most helpful thing in this process has been creating a culture within the foundation where staff are able to express that they don’t know how to code something and are willing to have a conversation about it.

“An unexpected benefit of this has been internal education around Native communities and what it means to serve Native communities,” shares Orton. “There is humility involved and we are able to talk about where we make mistakes.”

Moving Forward

The Bush Foundation plans to produce a second report in 2020. Building from the initial report, which was in part a historical analysis, they are determining how a regularly updated reporting process might help them continue to better serve Native communities. “We’ve come a long way, but we recognize that we’ll need to keep revisiting this topic, engaging in conversation, and that is okay,” says Bad Heart Bull.

They are focusing on moving forward with continued intentionality. “A real breakthrough for us as a foundation was understanding the intentionality behind our funding and accepting that it is not wrong to say something is or isn’t serving Native people depending on whether the work is truly trying to effect change within a specific population,” says Orton. The Bush Foundation now uses a similar test about intentionality when it comes to grants and work serving people of color. For example, if someone says they’re serving the Latinx community, they take similar steps to ensure support is meaningfully directed for that community.

The Native Nations Investments report helped to highlight how other communities can also benefit from this type of analysis. “We’re going to continue to think about this for other population groups, including non-racial categories like gender identity, veterans, people with disabilities, and the people experiencing homelessness,” continued Orton.

The Bush Foundation hopes this work encourages other practitioners to engage in a culture of intentionality with data. Not everyone needs to conduct a historical analysis. A starting place for any organization could be to “look at how you collect your data moving forward and how that can make a difference. Have conversations with staff and grantees about definitions and be open to flexibility,” recommends Bad Heart Bull.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • What from the Bush Foundation’s story resonates with what we have learned from our analysis of grantee data? What is something we might consider doing differently based on this approach?
  • How do we share our narrative about giving and how might this impact the communities we work with? What are the ways we can support greater alignment in data collection and sharing across the field?
  • How is our funding strategy informed by our data collection? What are the barriers to engaging in consistent data collection and analysis and how might we address them?
  • How do we ensure that there is a common understanding of what terms mean in our data collection efforts? How adequate are our definitions, trainings, and support?
  • How can our organization engage in cross-cultural learning? How can that impact our organization’s methods of coding and analyzing data?
  • Is our foundation keeping track of how much of our grantmaking dollars are going into Native communities? If not, why not? If so, how?

About the author(s)

Global Partnerships and Projects Associate
Candid

Advancing Racial Equity Through Capacity Building: The Kresge Foundation’s Talent and Leadership Development Efforts

Editor's Note: This case study is one of five in a suite of case studies focused on building grantee capacity using the support of consultants. Each case study has been developed in partnership Community Wealth Partners, drawing on their capacity-building work with various funders and grantees. The case studies showcase varied approaches taken to address the long-term capacity needs of grantees, giving insight to the philanthropy landscape and strategies for foundations, consultants, and practitioners. 

Many nonprofits work to create more equitable outcomes in communities. They are tackling complex, systemic issues, often with little to no dedicated resources to build their own capacity to do this work. The Kresge Foundation is trying to address this gap in support through a capacity-building program focusing specifically on leadership development through a racial equity lens.

The Kresge Foundation works to expand opportunities in America’s cities. Through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development in Detroit, the foundation collaborates with partners to create pathways for low-income people to improve their life circumstances.

For the foundation, a key strategy for achieving equitable outcomes in communities is investing in the talent and leadership capacity of its grantees. This investment better equips nonprofits to advance racial equity and achieve better outcomes in their organizations and in communities.

Designing a Program to Meet a Wide Array of Needs

In 2016, the foundation decided to run a one-year pilot program, named the Fostering Urban Equitable Leadership program (FUEL). The pilot was the first time The Kresge Foundation made an investment in the leadership of grantees across all six of the foundation’s program areas in a coordinated way and the first time the foundation made investments in leadership with an intentional focus on racial equity.

The FUEL pilot expanded on a history of investment in leadership at the foundation. Kresge’s Leadership and Infrastructure Funding Team (LIFT), a cross-functional team of staff from across the foundation overseeing grantmaking in leadership and nonprofit and philanthropic infrastructure, developed the FUEL initiative. To inform its approach, LIFT looked to other foundations that invest in leadership and organizations that champion investments in leadership. Key influencers included the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, and Fund the People.

The team knew it would need to hire a partner to help design and implement the program. Team members did not have the capacity to properly manage this program in addition to their workload, and they also wanted to benefit from external expertise in cohort program design and implementation. Kresge selected Community Wealth Partners, a consulting firm that partners with nonprofits and foundations to address issues related to poverty and social justice, based on their experience designing and running cohort programs, their experience with capacity building, and their point of view about the importance of focusing on racial equity.

Kresge and Community Wealth Partners sought grantee input on program design through a survey of a representative sample of about 50 grantees and in-depth interviews with about 10 grantees.

Kresge also knew it would need to select a focus for a more intentional capacity-building effort across the foundation. “We wanted to be as strategic as possible with the resources we had and pick a need to narrow in on instead of trying to cover the waterfront,” said Caroline Altman Smith, deputy director for Kresge’s education program and leader of LIFT.

Download the case study to view a table of FUEL program services.

Feedback from the grantee survey led the team to focus on talent and leadership development through a racial equity lens. Based on grantee input, Kresge formed partnerships with six service providers to offer a range of services to grantees touching on different topics critical to advancing racial equity inside organizations and aligned with grantees’ needs.

“Curating a selection of high-quality services was hopefully seen as another value-add for our grantees,” said Neesha Modi, program officer for Detroit and a member of LIFT. “Determining what services were available and vetting different providers meant that our grantees wouldn’t have to spend time identifying and evaluating options.”

Input from grantees and service providers informed the goals of the program:

  1. stronger senior teams,
  2. stronger mid-level staff,
  3. more diverse talent, and
  4. more equitable organizations.

Grantees then were invited to apply and select from among seven services being offered. Everyone who decided to apply was accepted into the program, and Kresge, Community Wealth Partners, and the service providers worked together to match grantees with the services they requested.

Because grantees had diverse needs and varying capacity to devote time to internal work, the services ranged in format, duration and intensity (see sidebar). Recognizing that grantees are more likely to apply learning back at their organizations if they have a partner to support them, most offerings required participation from more than one person inside each organization.

The $1.6 million program budget included service fees, a $25,000 capacity-building grant for each service provider, consulting costs and travel stipends for participants. In the first round of the pilot, Kresge reached 10 percent of its grantees: 286 individuals from 115 grantee organizations participated. LIFT selected existing foundation grantees they thought were the most “mission critical” for the mission of each of the foundation’s program areas and invited them to apply for the first round.

Assessing Impact

While the goals of the FUEL program could take years for grantee organizations to achieve, the program’s theory of change articulated the outputs and early outcomes the team hoped to see. For the second round of the program, the team updated the theory of change and revised one of the goals to shift from “more equitable organizations” to “more equitable practices” to make that goal more right-sized to the level of investment organizations are receiving from the program.

“We went in with eyes wide open that many of our grantees are already doing significant internal work on equity. While we’re aiming to contribute to steps grantees are making on this path, we know the resources Kresge is providing are small compared to the overall need,” Altman Smith said. “We wanted to keep our expectations about impact commensurate with that. In the short term, we are comfortable with results such as changing the nature of conversations and dynamics in the organizations.”

The cadre of consultants and service providers collected data to help assess impact as well as identify opportunities to improve future iterations of the program. Evaluation data showed outcomes related to all four of the program goals, such as strengthening board systems, structure, and approach; mastering general management and modeling equity best practices; effectively recruiting, hiring, and retaining diverse talent; and increasing awareness of racism and equity within organizations. Testimonials from grantees showed evidence of the early outcomes in the theory of change and progress toward the program goals.

Download the case study to view a chart on LIFT's Theory of Change.

“The Building the Board of Your Dreams program (from Management Assistance Group) has changed my approach to governance and provided me with tools, resources, and skills that I now use continuously,” said Susan Danish who is board chair of National Human Services Assembly Board, CEO/executive director of The Association of Junior Leagues International, and a member of another national board. “It has made me a much better leader and contributed to the improved effectiveness of the three organizations I touch.”

Renée Branch Canady, CEO of MPHI, a Michigan-based health institute, found participating in Race Forward’s program helped her see how she can advance equity in her organization. “Participation in the cohort was an opportunity for us to turn a critical eye on how we are leading for equity within our organization, both as individuals and as a team,” Canady said. “Our interactions with others in the cohort led us to rethink the demands we put on ourselves as leaders and the expectations we have of our colleagues. The result is we now have a clearer understanding of how our culture should evolve to fully live our commitment to health equity and social justice.”

Participants’ suggestions for improvement fell into three categories:

  1. Give grantees more time to learn about the program and consider whether they want to apply. In the first round, Kresge announced the program and offerings available and gave grantees three weeks to consider whether they wanted to apply. For some grantees that was not enough time to consider the options, secure the necessary buy-in, and plan for the time commitment participation would require. The second round of the program builds in more time between the announcement of the program and the deadline to apply.
  2. Provide more guidance to help grantees determine which service among the offerings is the best fit for them. The second round of the program includes improved communication about the service offerings available as well as questions for reflection to help grantees assess which offering would be the best
    fit for them. Community Wealth Partners hosted an informational webinar to give grantees an opportunity to interact with service providers to better understand the options available to them and ask questions.
  3. Continue to be mindful of participants’ diverse needs and offer services that range from low-touch to high-touch. Feedback from participants varied in this regard: some wished for more low-touch or online offerings, others wished for more in-depth time with service providers and other participants. In round two the consultants and service providers are working to design program offerings that meet grantees where they are, recognize the time and capacity constraints they may be under, and allow them to participate in meaningful ways.

After incorporating a focus on continuous learning throughout the pilot year, reflecting on feedback and seeing early signs of progress toward the program’s goals, Kresge is repeating the FUEL program for a second round with upgrades in response to feedback and replicating a similar program for grantees in the foundation’s environment program to be able to reach more grantees of that program.

Sharpening the Vision for Leadership Development through a Racial Equity Lens

Community Wealth Partners facilitated a meeting with the Kresge team, service providers, and grantees to reflect on evaluation findings and highlight insights to inform the design of the program’s second round. Two key takeaways were especially influential in refining the program’s theory of change.

The first takeaway was the power an initial investment of any size can have in catalyzing grantees’ sustained investment in leadership development through a racial equity lens.

Kresge’s grantees are all working to dismantle inequities in America’s cities in some fashion, yet many of them lack sufficient resources to invest in their own leadership and racial equity work. By providing tailored support to meet nonprofit leaders where they are, FUEL served as a catalyst for grantees to continue their equity journey. Many of the grantees participating in year one of the program walked away with a commitment to continue the work and find ways to invest in it. For Sherita Smith, who recently became executive director of Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC), participating in the program allowed her to work with her board to create a board development plan that will help them stay focused on equity.

“As a woman of color stepping into leadership of an organization that had been led by a white male for over 25 years, I am keenly aware of equity issues. My leadership represents a significant change for the organization and the community,” Smith said. “To aid with this transition, we created a board development plan to help GRDC develop a high functioning, strategic, and diverse board.  As we implement the plan, we are looking to ensure a governance structure that is reflective of the community—diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender and age—promotes racial equity, and embodies the skills and characteristics needed for  high performance.”

While a limited number of grantees from the first-round program will participate in a second round to go deeper in their equity work, Kresge anticipates that 80 percent of the participants in year two will be new to the program. Kresge staff will select grantees they think will most benefit from continued support, with input from the service providers they worked with, to invite to participate in a second round, but the emphasis will be on trying to reach as many grantees as possible over multiple rounds of the program. Through this broad approach, Kresge aims to serve as a catalyst for sustained investments in leadership and racial equity over time across the foundation’s portfolio of grantees.

The second key takeaway was the value the service providers got from the program and ideas of how to extend that value further.

“In the current climate, many service providers are being asked to support numerous equity-related initiatives,” said ramesh kathanadhi, manager of client engagement at Race Forward. “It’s both relieving and exciting to receive support focused on our own professional development.” Race Forward used their $25,000 professional development grant to support their own strategic planning.

While Kresge anticipated that the professional development grants for service providers would be useful, an unexpected result was the degree to which service providers found value in the opportunity to work with and learn from one another. They benefited from sharing best practices that influenced service delivery, identifying opportunities to expand or continue their work, and creating new relationships and opportunities for their own professional development.

Kad Smith and Shannon Ellis of CompassPoint Nonprofit Services offered one example of the sharing and learning that took place. Smith and Ellis had both been involved in revising CompassPoint’s compensation framework to be more equitable, and they appreciated the chance to reflect and exchange ideas with the cohort of other service providers. “The cohort gave us an opportunity to learn with others who are undertaking similar structural and cultural shifts,” Ellis said. “In the spirit of transparency and co-learning, we shared our revised compensation framework with several people in the program.”

Attendees at Kresge Foundation's first FUEL convening.

In year two, building the field of service providers with expertise on talent and leadership development through a racial equity lens will continue to be an explicit program goal. To help meet this goal, the program will allow for service providers to spend more time together, so they can share their offerings with one another and explore opportunities for coordination and partnership.

“The relationships and camaraderie built in the provider cohort was a bonus outcome of the program design,” said Isabelle Moses, director with Community Wealth Partners. “We’re excited about the possibility of collaborating more intentionally with providers so that we can continue to imagine how we might deepen alignment around shared language and approaches, especially those focused on racial equity. Kresge’s investment in the service provider cohort has huge potential for ripple effects in the broader sector given the number of organizations these providers collectively serve.”

Looking Internally at Equitable and Inclusive Practices

In addition to takeaways that helped refine the foundation’s goals related to advancing practice and building the field of service providers, the Kresge and Community Wealth Partners teams also learned valuable lessons about how a funder and consultant can operate with greater equity and inclusiveness in a philanthropic program where power dynamics are inherent.

The first lesson was to create a timeline that did not place an undue burden on participants. Feedback from grantees and providers helped LIFT and Community Wealth Partners recognize times when they were inadvertently driving a false sense of urgency. One example was the application process for grantees, which felt short to a number of participants. In response, organizers extended the deadline to apply and iterated the second round to include adjustments that set a pace that is more amenable for participants and providers.

Embedded power dynamics also yielded a valuable lesson. As the funder, Kresge held—and was aware of—significant power in the program. Kresge staff learned the importance of being intentional about when the foundation was using its voice and when it was more appropriate to stand back. In the announcement of the program, LIFT members personally reached out to grantees, invited them to apply, and communicated that participation was optional. “Even though we tried to be sensitive about the language upfront, we heard from a couple of grantees after the fact that they hadn’t really felt it was optional to participate,” Modi said. “When people get a letter from a foundation inviting them to do something, they may feel like there are hidden strings attached or that turning down the opportunity could imperil future funding.”

As a result, for round two of the program, Community Wealth Partners is handling more of the communications with grantees as they consider participation.

Community Wealth Partners, as program manager, sometimes had to serve as a bridge between grantees, providers, and the foundation. While this sometimes enabled them to help mitigate the power differential between Kresge and their grantees—an unanticipated benefit in partnering with them—the consultants also held considerable power and needed to be mindful of that.

The Community Wealth Partners team learned some lessons about how they can be more equitable and inclusive in his role. In the first few months of the program, there was a conflict between a grantee and a service provider. The Community Wealth Partners team—out of a sense of responsibility to please the grantee and the funder (their client)—went straight to the provider with some feedback on what to do differently. It turned out that Community Wealth Partners didn’t have the full story of what happened between the grantee and service provider. The provider shared their side of the story and also offered feedback about how Community Wealth Partners could have been more equitable in resolving the conflict.

“The provider was incredibly generous in helping us see the privilege we held and how we could have acted differently to try to resolve the conflict,” said Claire Fiser, senior consultant at Community Wealth Partners. “So much of the role of an intermediary is about elevating the voices of everyone involved. An intermediary can help diffuse some of the power dynamics at play. And by lifting the voices of everyone involved, we will be able to make better decisions.”

Next Steps in the Journey

Kresge is planning to run a second year of the FUEL program, and its environmental program is also offering a program focused on building equity capacity among grantees that is modeled on FUEL. The program has led to other ripple effects through the foundation as well. “A number of program officers are now having broader conversations with grantees about their capacity-building needs, which is great,” Modi said. “These conversations weren’t always happening before.”

“Conversation is a necessity moving forward,” said Rip Rapson, president of The Kresge Foundation. “If we hope to fashion a more equitable society, we have to learn to have ongoing, frank and inherently difficult discussions about the needs of organizations facing up to this challenge. FUEL gives us an important tool for advancing this work.”

At a time when a number of funders are making similar investments in leadership development and equity, Kresge sees a window for progress. “There is interest from other funders who want to learn more about the program, which is exciting,” Altman Smith said. “Ultimately what we hope to see is that more funders are not only talking about these issues but also devoting funding to them.”

Delshan Baker, vice president of investment at Thread and a participant in the program, hopes to see more funding to support leadership in the nonprofit sector as well.

“I’ve been working for nonprofits for 15 years, and most of the organizations I’ve worked for—with the exception of Thread—have been funded almost entirely with programmatic grants or contracts that set caps on overhead at anywhere from two percent to 10 percent,” Baker said. “There is value in foundations funding nonprogrammatic work. It is essential to the growth and development of organizations and staff, so they can continue to provide quality work. Funding leadership and other types of infrastructure support can go a long way to avoiding  burnout and turnover among nonprofit leaders.”

Discussion Questions: Use these questions to spark discussion within your own foundation to explore ways you might be able to support your grantees’ leadership and racial equity efforts.

  • What from Kresge’s story resonates with what we have learned from our work with grantees? What about their approach is different from what we have done in the past? What is something we might consider trying based on this approach?
  • What are our grantees’ needs related to talent and leadership development, and how do we know? What are we already doing to support them, and how might we ramp up those efforts?
  • Where are our grantees in their work related to racial equity? How might we tailor support to meet grantees where they are and help them take their next steps in this work?
  • Who are the service providers we rely on to help build capacity among grantees, and where are the gaps? What are their capacity needs and how might we support them?
  • Do the service providers we work with have space and time to learn about one another’s work? Is there a role we could play to help foster alignment and collaboration to strengthen the service offerings available to our grantees?
  • What are the barriers to increasing investment in this type of work within our foundation, and how might we address them? To whom do we need to make the case, and what arguments would they find most compelling?​

About the author(s)

Senior Director of Knowledge and Content
Community Wealth Partners

Deciding Together Shifting Power and Resources Through Participatory Grantmaking

Funders are increasingly looking to engage the communities they serve in the grantmaking process, but there are few resources about how to do so. In this guide, we explore how funders can engage in participatory grantmaking and cede decision-making power about funding decisions to the very communities they aim to serve. Deciding Together: Shifting Power and Resources Through Participatory Grantmaking illustrates why and how funders around the world are engaging in this practice that is shifting traditional power dynamics in philanthropy. Created with input from a number of participatory grantmakers, the guide shares challenges, lessons learned, and best practices for engaging in inclusive grantmaking.

Funding for this guide was generously provided by the Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundations. This guide is part of GrantCraft's content series on participatory grantmaking. Help us get the word out on Twitter and beyond, and follow the conversation using the hashtag #ShiftThePower. You can also read our press release here.

Download a Word version of the guide here.

What's in the guide?

  • Nothing About Us Without Us. This vignette shares an example of why and how participatory grantmaking became the approach for an international effort to fund persons with disabilities.
  • Participatory Grantmaking: What Is It? There is no formal definition for participatory grantmaking, but there are agreed-upon tenets that distinguish this approach. We begin this guide by providing context about the practice and defining the underlying values.
  • The Core Elements of Participatory Grantmaking. This section outlines the core elements of participatory grantmaking and describes the ethos and values that support this approach.
  • The Benefits of Participatory Grantmaking. Here, we explore the rationale leading funders to embrace this practice. For many, the values and core elements are a part of the benefits.
  • The Challenges of Participatory Grantmaking. All philanthropic approaches have challenges, and participatory grantmaking is no exception. Recognizing and iterating on these challenges is part of the approach itself.
  • Who Decides and How? This section presents the decisions that are made along the way and shares how different participatory grantmakers assign roles and determine who has power over what.
  • The Mechanics. No two foundations look exactly the same—take a look at a few models of participatory grantmaking and review questions to guide conversation about structure.
  • Evaluation. Participatory grantmaking is process-oriented, iterative, and difficult to codify. Yet, participatory grantmakers seek to achieve and evaluate outcomes. This section outlines the hurdles and approaches that exist.
  • Walking the Talk: Embedding Participation Internally. This section explains why a participatory ethos should be embedded in processes beyond just grantmaking decisions.
  • Getting Started. Funders can begin their journey to embracing the values and practice of participatory grantmaking through a variety of strategies, touched on here.
  • Appendix and Endnotes. These resources support information found throughout the guide and can be used to explore in greater depth.

About the author(s)

Principal
Cynthesis Consulting

Director of Stakeholder Engagement
Candid

About the author(s)

Principal
Cynthesis Consulting

Director of Stakeholder Engagement
Candid

Decidiendo Juntos Transferencia de poder y recursos mediante el proceso participativo de otorgamiento de donativos

En este documento titulado “Decidiendo juntos: Transferencia de poder y recursos mediante el proceso participativo de otorgamiento de donativos”, examinamos por qué y cómo implementan los donantes la asignación participativa de donativos y transfieren el poder a las comunidades que reciben el impacto de sus decisiones de financiamiento. Con ejemplos y reflexiones de un grupo diverso de donantes, exploramos los beneficios, los desafíos y los modelos del enfoque participativo de financiamiento.

El financiamiento para esta guía fue otorgado generosamente por la Fundación Ford y la Iniciativa Open Society para Europa. Twitter: #ShiftThePower.

  • ¿En qué consiste el proceso participativo de otorgamiento de donativos? No existe una definición formal de asignación participativa de donativos, pero sí algunos principios consensuados que distinguen dicho enfoque. La guía empieza por presentar el contexto de la práctica y por definir los valores subyacentes.
  • Elementos medulares del otorgamiento participativo de donativos. En esta sección se plantean los elementos centrales del proceso participativo de entrega de donativos y se describen el espíritu y los valores que fundamentan el enfoque.
  • Beneficios del proceso participativo de otorgamiento de donativos. En esta sección exploramos la lógica que lleva a los donantes a adoptar esta práctica. Para muchos de ellos, los valores y los elementos medulares forman parte de los beneficios.
  • Desafíos del proceso participativo de otorgamiento de donativos. Todo enfoque filantrópico plantea retos y el proceso participativo de financiamiento no es la excepción. Reconocer los desafíos y efectuar los ajustes correspondientes forma parte del proceso en sí.
  • ¿Quién decide y de qué manera? Esta sección presenta las decisiones que se toman durante el proceso y ofrece detalles sobre la manera en que los distintos donantes participativos asignan roles y determinan quién tiene poder y sobre qué.
  • La mecánica. Ninguna fundación es exactamente igual a otra. Analice los modelos de financiamiento participativo aquí presentados y revise las preguntas dirigidas a orientar la conversación en materia de estructuras.
  • Evaluación. La entrega participativa de donativos se basa en un proceso, es iterativa y difícil de codificar. Sin embargo, los donantes que utilizan dicho enfoque desean lograr resultados y evaluarlos. En esta sección describimos los obstáculos y perspectivas existentes.
  • Pasar del dicho al hecho: Incorporar la participación a nivel interno. Esta sección explica por qué se debe incorporar un espíritu participativo a los procesos, no solamente a las decisiones sobre entrega de financiamiento.
  • Cómo empezar​. Los donantes pueden iniciar el proceso de adopción de valores y prácticas de un enfoque participativo de asignación de donativos por medio de las distintas estrategias aquí mencionadas.
  • Apéndice y notas al final. Los recursos presentados en estas secciones refuerzan la información presentada a lo largo de toda la guía y se pueden emplear para explorar los temas con mayor profundidad.

En este documento titulado “Decidiendo juntos: Transferencia de poder y recursos mediante el proceso participativo de otorgamiento de donativos”, examinamos por qué y cómo implementan los donantes la asignación participativa de donativos y transfieren el poder a las comunidades que reciben el impacto de sus decisiones de financiamiento. Con ejemplos y reflexiones de un grupo diverso de donantes, exploramos los beneficios, los desafíos y los modelos del enfoque participativo de financiamiento.

El financiamiento para esta guía fue otorgado generosamente por la Fundación Ford y la Iniciativa Open Society para Europa. Twitter: #ShiftThePower.

  • ¿En qué consiste el proceso participativo de otorgamiento de donativos? No existe una definición formal de asignación participativa de donativos, pero sí algunos principios consensuados que distinguen dicho enfoque. La guía empieza por presentar el contexto de la práctica y por definir los valores subyacentes.
  • Elementos medulares del otorgamiento participativo de donativos. En esta sección se plantean los elementos centrales del proceso participativo de entrega de donativos y se describen el espíritu y los valores que fundamentan el enfoque.
  • Beneficios del proceso participativo de otorgamiento de donativos. En esta sección exploramos la lógica que lleva a los donantes a adoptar esta práctica. Para muchos de ellos, los valores y los elementos medulares forman parte de los beneficios.
  • Desafíos del proceso participativo de otorgamiento de donativos. Todo enfoque filantrópico plantea retos y el proceso participativo de financiamiento no es la excepción. Reconocer los desafíos y efectuar los ajustes correspondientes forma parte del proceso en sí.
  • ¿Quién decide y de qué manera? Esta sección presenta las decisiones que se toman durante el proceso y ofrece detalles sobre la manera en que los distintos donantes participativos asignan roles y determinan quién tiene poder y sobre qué.
  • La mecánica. Ninguna fundación es exactamente igual a otra. Analice los modelos de financiamiento participativo aquí presentados y revise las preguntas dirigidas a orientar la conversación en materia de estructuras.
  • Evaluación. La entrega participativa de donativos se basa en un proceso, es iterativa y difícil de codificar. Sin embargo, los donantes que utilizan dicho enfoque desean lograr resultados y evaluarlos. En esta sección describimos los obstáculos y perspectivas existentes.
  • Pasar del dicho al hecho: Incorporar la participación a nivel interno. Esta sección explica por qué se debe incorporar un espíritu participativo a los procesos, no solamente a las decisiones sobre entrega de financiamiento.
  • Cómo empezar​. Los donantes pueden iniciar el proceso de adopción de valores y prácticas de un enfoque participativo de asignación de donativos por medio de las distintas estrategias aquí mencionadas.
  • Apéndice y notas al final. Los recursos presentados en estas secciones refuerzan la información presentada a lo largo de toda la guía y se pueden emplear para explorar los temas con mayor profundidad.
 

Insight on Participatory Grantmaking: Romy Krämer, FundAction and Guerrilla Foundation

In this video, Romy digs into two very practical challenges one may come across when designing and implementing a new participatory fund. She talks about how to address issues of time and commitment, as well as how to ensure diversity and inclusiveness for those involved.

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Insight on Participatory Grantmaking: Wanja Muguongo, UHAI EASHRI

Wanja Muguongo breaks down why UHAI is an activist-led and managed fund and the benefits of this practice. Wanja also talks about the type of structure and flexibility incorporated into the grantmaking criteria.
 

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Insight On Participatory Grantmaking: Patricia Eng, New York Women’s Foundation

In this video, Patricia breaks down why the New York Women's Foundation does participatory grantmaking. Further, she shares about their program that involves young girls in the process and describes the value of including young people in decisionmaking.
 

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Insight on Participatory Grantmaking: Diana Samarasan, Disability Rights Fund

Diana Samarasan talks about why funders should give up decision-making power to those impacted by grants, rather than just getting their input and making the final call yourself. She talks about why this form of grantmaking is necessary for the disability rights movement.

(Check out a detailed breakdown of how the Disability Rights Fund engages in this work here. For the full repository of mechanics, click here.)

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Insight on Participatory Grantmaking: Mutisya Leonard, UHAI EASHRI

Mutisya Leonard from UHAI EASHRI, an LGBT and sex-worker fund based in East Africa, answers two questions related to participatory grantmaking: What led to the formation of your participatory fund? What structure and flexibility do you incorporate into your granting criteria?

(Check out a detailed breakdown of how the UHAI EASHRI engages in this work here. For the full repository of mechanics, click here.) 

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