At last month’s closing retreat for the Change Incubator, participants reflected on their own learning journeys, and we lifted up some common themes across the teams. While we learned a lot about grantee inclusion, we learned perhaps even more about change management and leadership. Here are five key lessons learned from our pilot program, along with examples from our participating foundations.
Justin Laing—program officer at The Heinz Endowments, a cohort participant of GEO’s Change Incubator—shares grantee inclusion practices co-created with two members of its Transformative Arts Process (TAP) Advisory Board.
“Better solutions are created when organizational leaders spend the time to better understand the voice of community members and partner with their community members to address the problems.” Troy Bush-DiDonato, community engagement officer at Episcopal Health Foundation—a GEO Change Incubator cohort participant—explains how the foundation is building the capacity of its grantees and partners to […]
Grantmakers and nonprofits can face today’s pressing social issues only if we break down the walls between us and see each other as partners on the same side. Read the full article here.
Grantee inclusion can help correct the power imbalance not only between foundations and nonprofits, but also between marginalized communities and the broader power structures that perpetuate inequity. Read the full article here.
True grantee-funder partnerships are based on a shared vision of the future. Creating a strategy to achieve that vision requires listening and clearly defining roles. Read the full article here.
It’s critical to test different approaches to grantee inclusion and to incorporate new learning along the way. Read the full article here.
Three practices successful social sector partnerships can adopt to improve their alignment and generate better results. Read the full article here.
Grantee inclusion is not sufficiently powerful to transform grantee-funder relationships, but it might present a vision for a sector that more evenly shares power. Read the full article here.
Grantee inclusion requires learning, risk-taking, and letting go of cherished behaviors and ways of working to make progress.
By actively moving into the roles of advocate and partner for grantees, grantmakers can cultivate trusting, transparent relationships that ultimately translate into social impact.
As grassroots and “grass-tops” groups come together to create collective impact, funders have the power to foster truly authentic engagement and co-ownership among all.
Relationships take work—and those between grantees and grantmakers are no exception. Read the full article here.
Now, more than ever, grantmakers are asking questions and working to learn with and from their grantees. But whatever grantmakers learn from grantees, the lessons matter only if they inform future action and if grantmakers report back to grantees about the impact of their input.
It’s time to recognize how inequity shapes funders’ choice of partners. Read the full article here.
Including grantees in decision-making, program-building, and strategy is critical to effective social impact. While the things grantmakers “do” are important, authentic inclusion also requires that they embrace a new mindset.
When he declared July 8, 2016 “Get a Beer and Undo Nonprofit Power Dynamics” Day, Vu Le tapped into something really important. Many trustees, program officers and nonprofit leaders are pretty terrible at having real conversations with each other. Imagine how powerful it would be if we could sit together over a beer and discuss the real challenges at hand.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation faces a significant reduction in its annual grantmaking dollars. In light of this shift, the foundation feels it is critical to hear from its grantees about what the foundation can do to remain a key partner and further the nonprofits’ work despite a smaller annual budget.
When GEO launched the Change Incubator last year, we were making three big bets. Six months into the first cohort, we have plenty to feel good about, but we are very much in the “messy middle” and many questions remain.
The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation is one of four Change Incubator participants, and six months into the program, Brad Cameron lost his job. But he got a new one! Brad transitioned to a "mirror holder" role, managing the foundation’s data and holding it up as a reflection, sharing what WRF is learning and trying out with its grantee partners and communities, as well as gathering feedback from them.
A critical insight is the importance of understanding the difference between adaptive and technical challenges. While technical work happens in the head, adaptive work takes place in the heart and in the gut, and understanding this difference is especially important in the context of strengthening relationships with grantees.