Can Grantmakers and Nonprofits Work Together? Can Anyone See These Indicators of Success?

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Can grantmakers and nonprofits work together? What could that even look like?   Signs of a growing trend could look like this: 

  • More communication between those with financial resources (grantmakers) and those with the muscle, spirit, and willingness to translate those resources into progress. 
  • More affirmation of common purposes, less on expressions of mistrust. 
  • More demand from both quarters that our public systems and private markets produce more fair and equitable outcomes. 
  • More communication of real progress and real problems, less on “community relations” or chest-thumping.
  • More support for sustained effort and helpful assistance, less on shutting down efforts that don’t pan out immediately.
  • More funding to go deeper, less for one-shot skin-deep projects. 
  • Less enforcement of the dysfunctional business model.
  • More spine from grantmakers, less self-protection and less avoidance of real opportunities to serve the greater good.
  • More spine from nonprofits, less self-protection and less avoidance of real opportunities to serve the greater good.
  • More support from grantmakers to grow nonprofits’ capabilities, less on projects that don’t help to develop organizational capacity.
  • More resources to educate the community and engage it in a kind of activism that can energize even while it’s reeling from the effects of all the current crises.
  • More intention to fix our social systems, with support “moving the needle” in those arenas that are clearly not working.
  • More support for generosity, inclusion, and engagement.

For two good examples of grantmakers and nonprofits working together see these posts on this site: Supporting Low-Income Neighborhood Organizations: A Guide for Community Foundations (sponsored by the C.S. Mott Foundation) and Building Community Capacity: The Potential of Community Foundations (sponsored by the Ford Foundation).

Steven E. Mayer, Ph.D. / Effective Communities Project 

Originally posted to this site June 28, 2011 / Most recently revised April 1, 2022