Category Archives: Grantmaking

What Drives Philanthropic Success?

Peter Frumkin is the author of Strategic Giving, an excellent book that I reviewed last year. Earlier this week, Peter wrote a post on the Philanthropy Central blog calling into question some of his own assumptions about what drivers are most important to successful philanthropy. Peter wrote: …I am increasingly troubled by a recurrent worry. […]

Social Innovation Fund Comments

On Friday, the Corporation for National & Community Service released a Draft Notice of Funds Available (NOFA) for the Social Innovation Fund. This document lays out the application process for the $50 million in grants to be available in 2010 from the Fund. The document is pretty user friendly and at 24 pages is certainly […]

Paul Brest & Paul Shoemaker Debate General Operating Support

In my last post, I profiled Paul Brest’s new annual letter about the merits, or lack thereof, of general operating support grants. In the weeks before the annual report was released, Paul emailed a copy of the essay to a group of people who work in philanthropy. Paul Shoemaker of Social Venture Partners replied with […]

Paul Brest on General Operating Support

The newly released William & Flora Hewlett Foundation’s annual report includes an essay about forms of philanthropic support from the foundation’s president Paul Brest. In the essay, Paul pushes back against groups such as Independent Sector, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, and the Nonprofit Finance Fund, who have advocated strongly for funders to provide nonprofits with […]

Fixing the Power Imbalance in Philanthropy

It is a recurring complaint in philanthropy that the huge power imbalance between funders and grantees skews the behavior of nonprofits in negative ways. This was one of the points made by reader Aaron Stiner in his critique of David Hunter’s essay on social investing: I still have some concerns that the model you are […]

Social Investing & The End of Charity

In my recent writing defining the difference between Tactical and Strategic Philanthropy, I’ve focused on the concept of the Strategic Philanthropist as a social problem solver and the Tactical Philanthropist as a social investor. So I’d like to draw your attention to an article by David Hunter in the brand new Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal […]

Can Increasing Payout Rates Save the Day?

One of the responses to my post on Friday, in which I argued that staffed foundations should share their knowledge to offset the decline in their investment assets, was from people suggesting that foundations should also increase their payout rate. As a general prescription, this is probably a bad idea. Foundations are required to pay […]

Why Would You Give Money to Bill Gates?

In June I wrote a post about Olivia, a 7-year-old girl who had given $35 to the Gates Foundation. Last year, the Gates Foundation received $10.4 million in gifts from donors like Olivia. In the post, I pointed to these unusual gifts as evidence that individual donors are focusing more and more on the impact […]

Investors & Researchers in Philanthropy

In his guest post, John MacIntosh of SeaChange Capital Partners made an important point: The tools for evaluating for “impact” and “performance” come from different disciplines. “Impact” is a concept from social science where ideally we define the treatment, develop measures of impact (wages, employment rates, test scores, etc.), identify a comparison or control group, […]

The Link Between Performance & Impact

In my first post on the topic of High Performance vs. High Impact, I stated that Impact was the holy grail of philanthropy. It was something to journey towards and High Performance organizations were the best way to get there. But to get to High Impact, we need to know not just that we have […]