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Risks In Grantmaking: A Study Of Australian Foundations, Daniel Archibald, Reza Tajaddini, Mary Dunkley Dec 2023

Risks In Grantmaking: A Study Of Australian Foundations, Daniel Archibald, Reza Tajaddini, Mary Dunkley

The Foundation Review

In the pursuit of more effective giving, the nonprofit sector has been increasingly advocating for foundations to take on more risk in their grantmaking. This article investigates the risk experience in the charitable funding process and the approaches taken to mitigate unwanted risks. Failure to adequately manage such risks can negatively influence the legacy of a foundation and the effectiveness of the programs and projects it funds.

Particularly, this article contributes to the improvement of managing the risks that arise in the grantmaking process by identifying those key risks faced by different types of foundations, thus helping to prioritize the …


Why Foundations? The Theory And Strategy Of The General-Purpose Foundation, Samsher (Sam) Singh Gill Dec 2023

Why Foundations? The Theory And Strategy Of The General-Purpose Foundation, Samsher (Sam) Singh Gill

The Foundation Review

As foundations increasingly grapple with the penetration of socioeconomic dissension into every facet of our country’s public culture, it has become difficult to evade the moral salience of whether philanthropic wealth aggregation and allocation reflect or even entrench the structures of material accumulation many now see at the root of declining support for liberalism across advanced economies.

This essay argues that contrary to growing internal and external anxieties about the role and legitimacy of general-purpose foundations in the United States, there is a sound theoretical expression of them as an essential institution in a liberal democracy. The core principle of …


Reconciling Philanthropy’S Role In Disruption And Revolution: Hard Lessons From A Community-Driven Power-Building Strategy To Achieve Health Equity, Kien S. Lee, Courtney Ricci, Mia Ramirez Dec 2023

Reconciling Philanthropy’S Role In Disruption And Revolution: Hard Lessons From A Community-Driven Power-Building Strategy To Achieve Health Equity, Kien S. Lee, Courtney Ricci, Mia Ramirez

The Foundation Review

This article shares The Colorado Trust’s experience with Community Partnerships for Health Equity (CPHE) after initiating a resident-led strategy for systems change and encountering the myriad challenges to its implementation that ultimately led to exiting the initiative.

The CPHE strategy intended to fund community members directly instead of working through the nonprofit sector in the state, and thereby shift power from nonprofit organizations to residents. It eventually involved more than 20 communities across Colorado and created change in certain communities — from filling service gaps and creating local partnerships to shifting local systems.

The Trust had good intentions in its …


Widening The Aperture: A Case Study Of Widening The Definition Of Evidence For Strategy, Jennifer James, Sandra Hilliard Dec 2023

Widening The Aperture: A Case Study Of Widening The Definition Of Evidence For Strategy, Jennifer James, Sandra Hilliard

The Foundation Review

The need to “widen the aperture” to consider different types and sources of evidence is paramount to sharpening grantmaking strategies that are in service of those we seek to serve. This article describes an underlying process of identifying and applying equity considerations in the evidence considered for strategy development in the context of a large, national foundation.

The aim was to develop a “common evidence base” — the core of which was a database library — and what was understood from the evidence was synthesized to bring together what was currently known, the edges of the foundation’s understanding, and emerging …


Philanthropy’S Uneasy Journey Into Mental Health Grantmaking, Mallet R. Reid, Robert J. (Bob) Reid, Ximena Murillo, Anna Bobb Dec 2023

Philanthropy’S Uneasy Journey Into Mental Health Grantmaking, Mallet R. Reid, Robert J. (Bob) Reid, Ximena Murillo, Anna Bobb

The Foundation Review

The increasing prevalence of mental illness and addiction in the United States has drawn considerable attention from grantmakers, which could catalyze the development and delivery of innovative approaches to these complex and difficult-to-treat behavioral health disorders. Relatively little is known, however, of the perspectives of these funders on how best to undertake this work.

To assist foundations in meaningful engagement with the field of behavioral health, this article shares the responses of 17 highly experienced behavioral health grantmakers to two research questions: What are the experiences of foundations that have funded behavioral health initiatives? What issues should be considered by …


A Journey Into Equitable Practice: Doing More, Doing Differently, And Doing Better, Bree Bode, Sarah Panken, Annie Murphy, Marci Scott Sep 2023

A Journey Into Equitable Practice: Doing More, Doing Differently, And Doing Better, Bree Bode, Sarah Panken, Annie Murphy, Marci Scott

The Foundation Review

The mission of the Michigan Fitness Foundation is to encourage and facilitate active lifestyles and healthy food choices through education, environmental awareness, community participation, and policy leadership. The article shares how a three-year engagement with the Equitable Evaluation Initiative led the foundation to see its grantmaking, programming, and evaluation practices anew through an equity lens.

Through naming and noticing the ways in which traditional grantmaking has contributed to the inequities that philanthropy seeks to address, the foundation was able to change its own way of working — specifically by going beyond the standard written grant proposal to actually sit with …


In Conversation: Two Community Foundations In Dialogue About Their Equitable Evaluation Framework™ Practice, Madeline Brandt, Kelly Casey, Jean-Marie Callan, Joel Hicks-Rivera, Kim Leonard, Madeline Nguyen, Elena Tamanas Ragusa, Cierra Stancil, Kimberlee Salmond, Becky Seel, Kate Szczerbacki Sep 2023

In Conversation: Two Community Foundations In Dialogue About Their Equitable Evaluation Framework™ Practice, Madeline Brandt, Kelly Casey, Jean-Marie Callan, Joel Hicks-Rivera, Kim Leonard, Madeline Nguyen, Elena Tamanas Ragusa, Cierra Stancil, Kimberlee Salmond, Becky Seel, Kate Szczerbacki

The Foundation Review

This conversation between staff at the Oregon Community Foundation and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving shares how we are infusing the Equitable Evaluation Framework™ into our practice as we aim to be less extractive, shift power, and honor all ways of knowing and being as valid. In sharing this conversation, we want to pull the curtain back and offer a behind-the-scenes view into the conversations, realities, and challenges involved in doing this kind of work.

We sat down together for 90 minutes on a Wednesday afternoon, and the following is a rough transcript of our time together. The intention …


A Promising Place-Based Collaborative Impact Investing Fund Strengthens Community And Informs Philanthropic Practice, Benjamin Kerman, Clara Miller Dec 2022

A Promising Place-Based Collaborative Impact Investing Fund Strengthens Community And Informs Philanthropic Practice, Benjamin Kerman, Clara Miller

The Foundation Review

A recent evaluation of the Western New York Impact Investment Fund adds to the proof-of-concept literature regarding “doing good and doing well” while pointing to experience-based best practices in philanthropic impact investing. Born of a collaboration between regional and national philanthropies, the fund brings together corporate, individual, and philanthropic investors to deliver an inclusive impact investment mechanism. Founded in 2017, the fund evolved from concept to operating entity, focusing on mitigating capital gaps, longterm economic decline, and wealth divides.

Evaluation at Year 5 describes how the professionally managed, collaboratively governed fund has attracted and deployed capital, contributing to ecosystem improvements …


Out Of Crisis, Learnings Shape Future Grantmaking, Stacie S. Cherner Jun 2022

Out Of Crisis, Learnings Shape Future Grantmaking, Stacie S. Cherner

The Foundation Review

Like other philanthropic organizations during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jim Joseph Foundation took steps to loosen grant requirements, support CEOs and leadership teams, and provide funding for emergencies and innovations.

The foundation, which strives to bring consistent expertise with evaluation and research in untroubled times and whose mission is to foster effective Jewish learning experiences for young Jews, has a unique perspective when reflecting on learning. So another area that required flexibility was in the re-examination of learning plans to take advantage of the “forced experimentation” imposed by the pandemic lockdown.

In March 2020, the foundation …


Youth And The Juvenile Court System: A Community Foundation’S Commitment To Integrating Voice And Community Expertise, Michael A. Yonas, Jennifer C. Sloan, Anna Hollis, Tiffany Sizemore, Kathi Elliott, Michelle Mcmurray, Jeanne Pearlman Jun 2021

Youth And The Juvenile Court System: A Community Foundation’S Commitment To Integrating Voice And Community Expertise, Michael A. Yonas, Jennifer C. Sloan, Anna Hollis, Tiffany Sizemore, Kathi Elliott, Michelle Mcmurray, Jeanne Pearlman

The Foundation Review

The staggeringly disproportionate numbers of youth of color in the juvenile court system in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, compelled the Pittsburgh Foundation to launch the Youth Voices Juvenile Justice Pilot project. The initiative sought to learn from youth who have firsthand knowledge of the juvenile court system and from those at risk of such an experience in order to inform the foundation’s efforts to improve outcomes for youth.

This article outlines the foundation’s process for engaging youth and stakeholders in a meaningful way to improve its grantmaking and to better support systems change that leads to reducing youth court involvement through …


Moving The Needle Or Spinning Our Wheels? A Framework For Long-Lasting, Equitable Change In Education, Heather Mccambly, Eleanor R. Anderson Sep 2020

Moving The Needle Or Spinning Our Wheels? A Framework For Long-Lasting, Equitable Change In Education, Heather Mccambly, Eleanor R. Anderson

The Foundation Review

In the quest for equitable and lasting reform in postsecondary education, philanthropy’s great strength is its flexibility to make use of multiple strategies. However, as most grantmakers know firsthand, not all strategy combinations lead to lasting systemic change.

This article offers an actionable approach for designing and analyzing philanthropically funded movements in order to remake an area of educational policy or practice. It begins with a review of philanthropic literature that identifies the primary change strategies used by funders in the education sector. It then introduces a tool, rooted in organizational research, to understand and predict the circumstances under which …


Investing In Mission-Driven Advocacy, Raymond Alqaisi, Carrie Warick Aug 2020

Investing In Mission-Driven Advocacy, Raymond Alqaisi, Carrie Warick

The Foundation Review

Philanthropy has a significant role to play in public policy advocacy, both in involving the individuals they support in advocacy and ensuring that advocates have the tools to be successful — not only in funding, but also in robust capacity-building assistance.

Looking at the work of the National College Attainment Network, this article explores how philanthropic investments can impact advocacy, in both financial and capacity-building support, through a recounting of a recent advocacy grantmaking initiative. It also details the key conditions conducive to policy change and the supports that were provided to grantees during the funding period.

As philanthropic leaders …


The Experiences Of A Foundation With A Limited Life: Benefits And Challenges, Lynda Mansson Jun 2020

The Experiences Of A Foundation With A Limited Life: Benefits And Challenges, Lynda Mansson

The Foundation Review

This article discusses the benefits and drawbacks of a limited-life foundation’s philanthropy practice. The strengths, including a sharpened strategic focus and sense of urgency, and the challenges, such as ensuring impact and dealing with grantee dependency, are also relevant when closing a program.

Drawing on reflections from the director general of the MAVA Foundation and learnings from foundations that have recently closed, this article also discusses how to prepare for the end date of a limited-life foundation. MAVA, a Swiss-based grantmaking foundation for 25 years, has a planned end date of 2022.

The article features key lessons for foundations considering …


Sustainable Development Goals: Exploring A Foundation’S Contribution Through Text Analysis, Filippo Candela, Marco Demarie, Paolo Mulassano Mar 2020

Sustainable Development Goals: Exploring A Foundation’S Contribution Through Text Analysis, Filippo Candela, Marco Demarie, Paolo Mulassano

The Foundation Review

Compagnia di San Paolo, an Italian grantmaking foundation, conducted a text analysis using a set of keywords extracted from grantees’ project descriptions to measure how successfully its work aligned with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and to identify interrelationships among the goals themselves.

This article describes the foundation’s research methods and shares the results of its analysis, which found significant contributions to the goals in a number of areas funded by the Compagnia and less alignment in others. The analysis is particularly noteworthy in its identification of an unintentional pattern of convergence between the foundation’s activities and the …


Making Health Equity Real: Implementing A Commitment To Engage The Community Through Fellowships, Saphira M. Baker, Mark D. Constantine Dec 2019

Making Health Equity Real: Implementing A Commitment To Engage The Community Through Fellowships, Saphira M. Baker, Mark D. Constantine

The Foundation Review

Between 2016 and 2019, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation jumpstarted its transformation from a health legacy foundation committed to increasing access to health care to one promoting regional health equity through a racial and ethnic lens. A central component of this new focus was the trustees’ decision to invite community members to inform and advance the health equity strategy through two distinct community fellowship programs — the Equity + Health Fellowships. These programs ultimately provided the foundation with a new language, benchmarks, and structure for welcoming broader community engagement.

This article highlights the outcomes of both programs, how the experience with …


Growth Of Community-Based Giving Days In The United States: The Landscape And Effects, Catherine Humphries Brown, Abhishek Bhati Sep 2019

Growth Of Community-Based Giving Days In The United States: The Landscape And Effects, Catherine Humphries Brown, Abhishek Bhati

The Foundation Review

Over the past decade, local and regional community foundations across the United States have adopted “giving days” as a means to build awareness, bolster community pride, and raise money for local nonprofit organizations. Despite the increasing prevalence of giving days, little scholarly research has empirically examined this phenomenon and its impact, particularly at the local and regional levels.

To address these gaps, this article shares the findings of a study that examined similarities and differences across communities’ giving days and sought to evaluate the extent to which those days led to more giving at the community level.

While the study …


Leveraging Effective Consulting To Advance Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion In Philanthropy, Stephanie Clohesy, Jara Dean-Coffey, Lisa Mcgill Sep 2019

Leveraging Effective Consulting To Advance Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion In Philanthropy, Stephanie Clohesy, Jara Dean-Coffey, Lisa Mcgill

The Foundation Review

In 2018, the National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers launched an initiative to sharpen the impact of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work in grantmaking by increasing the capacity of consultants and grantmakers engaged in these efforts. Network researchers used a systematic protocol to interview consultant members about their most effective partnerships with grantmakers. Case studies drawn from those interviews yielded valuable lessons for advancing DEI in philanthropy.

In sharing some of these lessons, this article advises consultants to be prepared to help grantmakers define or refine the meaning of DEI and understand where equity fits into their values and …


Strengthening Support For Grantees: Four Lessons For Foundations, Anna J. Bettis, Susan Pepin Sep 2019

Strengthening Support For Grantees: Four Lessons For Foundations, Anna J. Bettis, Susan Pepin

The Foundation Review

As society becomes more interconnected, the problems nonprofits are tasked with addressing require systems work. It is imperative for funders to adapt not only to the challenges faced by the organizations they fund, but also to the dynamic social systems within which they aim to effect change. This requires new approaches that are responsive to community needs and address the known challenges in grantor-grantee relationships.

This article offers a new perspective on the role of private foundations and four key lessons for strengthening funder support. These learnings build upon existing research and were gleaned from a qualitative analysis of data …


Publicness And The Identity Of Public Foundations, Alexandra Williamson, Belinda Luke Sep 2019

Publicness And The Identity Of Public Foundations, Alexandra Williamson, Belinda Luke

The Foundation Review

This article investigates understandings of publicness in the context of public foundations in Australia by examining how perceptions of publicness inform and influence the practice and conduct of those grantmaking foundations. As part of a broader study on perceptions of accountability and identity in Australian foundations, the article provides empirical evidence from interviews with managers and trustees from a diverse group of public foundations suggesting that understandings and applications of two dimensions of publicness were significant: donations, or public money; and grantmaking, or public benefit. Further elements of publicness were expressed around foundations’ visibility and the transparency of their operations. …


Below The Waterline: Developing A Transformational Learning Collaborative For Foundation Program Officers, Annie Martinie, Jaime Love, Michael Kelly, Kirsten Dueck, Sarah Strunk Jun 2019

Below The Waterline: Developing A Transformational Learning Collaborative For Foundation Program Officers, Annie Martinie, Jaime Love, Michael Kelly, Kirsten Dueck, Sarah Strunk

The Foundation Review

Learning from fellow grantmakers is imperative in today’s ever-changing world. In late 2016, four health legacy foundations partnered to launch the Health Legacy Collaborative Learning Circle, creating an opportunity to understand not just the participating foundations’ visible investments and programs, but also the underlying behaviors, structures, and mindsets that ultimately explain why certain results were or were not achieved.

This article describes the yearlong process of creating the collaborative, and presents a new learning framework — based on the iceberg metaphor — that can be used to create learning environments that test and expand assumptions about promising approaches to common …


Evaluators As Conduits And Supports For Foundation Learning, Clare Nolan, Meg Long, Debra Joy Perez Mar 2019

Evaluators As Conduits And Supports For Foundation Learning, Clare Nolan, Meg Long, Debra Joy Perez

The Foundation Review

Evaluators play a critical role in supporting philanthropic learning, programming, and strategy, but evaluation and learning in philanthropy is often limited in ways that impede deeper resonance and impact.

Most philanthropic evaluation is focused on the needs of individual foundations, knowledge sharing with the broader field is limited, and foundations struggle to integrate evaluation and learning as a management tool. This article makes the case that evaluators and funders can do more to build the collective capacity of evaluators working in philanthropy in order to enhance their contributions to community change.

This article also examines the ways that evaluation in …


Cricket Island Foundation: A Case Study Of A Small Foundation’S Impact Assessment, Anna Pond, Seema Shah, Elizabeth Sak Jun 2018

Cricket Island Foundation: A Case Study Of A Small Foundation’S Impact Assessment, Anna Pond, Seema Shah, Elizabeth Sak

The Foundation Review

In 2015, the Cricket Island Foundation conducted a multimethod assessment of its grantmaking portfolio to examine its impact and inform future decision-making and strategy. The foundation, which supports youth-led social change using a cohort-based model, focuses on emerging and medium-sized organizations and provides capacity-building supports to help organizations achieve greater organizational sustainability.

The assessment focused on two of the foundation's three cohorts and found positive trends in five key areas of desired impact: organizational capacity, youth leadership, nonprofit executive leadership, grantee collaboration and learning, and funder policy and practice. The assessment also identified areas for improvement to strengthen future impact, …


Family Foundation Development In China: Two Case Studies, Shuang Lu, Chien-Chung Huang Mar 2018

Family Foundation Development In China: Two Case Studies, Shuang Lu, Chien-Chung Huang

The Foundation Review

Amid the accumulation of private wealth in China, family foundations have begun to emerge in recent decades. Little research, however, has explored this nascent phenomenon. This article examines the development of two Chinese family foundations — the Lao Niu Foundation and the Lu Jiaxiang Foundation — using document analyses and semi-structured interviews with foundation leaders.

While detailed data on program effectiveness and efficiency is lacking because of underdeveloped methods of evaluation, it is evident that both foundations have generated positive impacts on social development despite an overall lack of support for the foundation sector from Chinese government policy.

The case …


Looking In The Mirror: Equity In Practice For Philanthropy, Ashlee Young, Jaime Love, Nancy Csuti, Christopher J. King Dec 2017

Looking In The Mirror: Equity In Practice For Philanthropy, Ashlee Young, Jaime Love, Nancy Csuti, Christopher J. King

The Foundation Review

Philanthropy still needs to be reminded that there is no such thing as a post-racial America, and that systemic racism continues to underlie the problems foundation funding attempts to address. While many foundations have found it challenging to address equity in their grantmaking, they have found that process far more comfortable than addressing equity within their own organizations.

This article will describe the efforts of three foundations in various stages of seeing themselves through an equity lens: the Consumer Health Foundation, The Colorado Trust, and Interact for Health. This article will discuss why these foundations are on this journey, what …


Community Foundation-Led Giving Days: Understanding Donor Satisfaction And Philanthropic Patterns, Benjamin S. Bingle Dec 2017

Community Foundation-Led Giving Days: Understanding Donor Satisfaction And Philanthropic Patterns, Benjamin S. Bingle

The Foundation Review

This article examines Give Local America 2016, a giving day beset by a technology failure that created challenges for donors and community foundations throughout the United States, and explores the experiences of donors as giving day participants.

Philanthropic giving days have gained popularity as opportunities for community foundations to engage new donors, create excitement about organized philanthropy, and democratize charitable giving. This article, examining survey data collected after a giving day led by a community foundation in northern Illinois, provides unique insight into donor satisfaction levels, opinions, and giving patterns.

Data suggest that giving days are not crowding out donations …


Philanthropy: Evidence In Favor Of A Profession, Heather L. Carpenter Dec 2017

Philanthropy: Evidence In Favor Of A Profession, Heather L. Carpenter

The Foundation Review

Philanthropic employees have been cautious in implying that they are pursuing a career in philanthropy. Karl Stauber (2010) presented an argument in support of such caution: that philanthropy failed to meet all seven standards posited by Burton J. Bledstein, that when met, define a profession.

This article presents a literature review and findings from a survey of 500 members of the Council on Foundations that offer evidence for the counterargument that philanthropic work requires specialized education and training to master a set of core competencies.

While this article does not argue for or against the question, determining whether philanthropy as …


Building Vietnamese Community Philanthropy: Understanding The Experiences And Expectations Of Donors To The Lin Center For Community Development, Dana Doan Sep 2017

Building Vietnamese Community Philanthropy: Understanding The Experiences And Expectations Of Donors To The Lin Center For Community Development, Dana Doan

The Foundation Review

Vietnam’s steady economic growth over the past two decades interacted with existing patterns of inequity, social exclusion, and geographic disparities to widen the gap between those who can and cannot obtain quality education, a stable income, and access to quality basic services. Meanwhile, after the World Bank classified Vietnam as a lower middle-income country in 2010, several international and bilateral donors announced plans to gradually decrease their development assistance.

It was under these circumstances that Vietnam’s first community foundation, the LIN Center for Community Development, was established in Ho Chi Minh City in 2009. Its mission is to build a …


Who Benefits From Giving Circles In The U.S. And The U.K.?, Angela M. Eikenberry Sep 2017

Who Benefits From Giving Circles In The U.S. And The U.K.?, Angela M. Eikenberry

The Foundation Review

Giving circles have emerged around the world as an alternative to mainstream, bureaucratic philanthropy. This article examines the types of organizations that benefit from giving circles in the U.S. and the U.K., drawing on data from interviews, surveys, observations, and documentation collected in both countries.

The findings show that giving circles tend to fund certain types of organizations — often those that are small and locally based, startups and newer organizations that are reorganizing or transitioning, those that have a business orientation, and those that can engage members or show significant impact in relation to their size.

While some populations, …


Community Philanthropy In Russian Remote Areas, Julia Khodorova, Larisa Avrorina Sep 2017

Community Philanthropy In Russian Remote Areas, Julia Khodorova, Larisa Avrorina

The Foundation Review

Russia’s “back country” — remote, nonindustrial areas that are home to almost 40 percent of the population — was largely excluded from the changes brought about by perestroika. People who live in these areas, where NGOs are almost never present, are often unaware of the resources available to address local issues. These regions require new development models that focus on fostering community engagement, and the community foundation model has proven to be the most useful and adaptable.

This article is based on the results of research conducted by CAF Russia in 2016 on the development of community foundations in remote, …


Marguerite Casey Foundation: Reflecting On 15 Years Of Philanthropic Leadership Through A Summative Evaluation, Mavis Sanders, Claudia Galindo, Luz Vega-Marquis, Cheryl Milloy Jun 2017

Marguerite Casey Foundation: Reflecting On 15 Years Of Philanthropic Leadership Through A Summative Evaluation, Mavis Sanders, Claudia Galindo, Luz Vega-Marquis, Cheryl Milloy

The Foundation Review

This article presents the findings of a summative evaluation of the Marguerite Casey Foundation that was conducted on the occasion of its 15th anniversary. The evaluation was designed to gauge stakeholders’ perceptions of the foundation’s operations to facilitate organizational learning. In sharing these results, the authors seek to elucidate the role of evaluation as a learning practice within the field of philanthropy.

The article describes the foundation’s organizational elements and evolution and discusses key themes that emerged from qualitative data collected from foundation leaders and staff, as well as findings from a survey of current grantees.

The article presents a …