Greater Good

The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) is a leading thinker in our business. Its research and commentary are evidence based and rigorous. CEP’s biannual meeting will be held in early May in Minneapolis, and I will attend along with two members of our Board of Directors. The pre-conference session will feature CEP’s most recent research paper, Greater Good: Lessons from those who have started major … Continue reading Greater Good

Evolution of Grant Making

With the Johnson Scholarship Foundation’s grant program convenings on this year’s horizon it is instructive to consider how the Foundation’s grant making has evolved since 1991. Our Founders’ plan was to use education as a vehicle to help people who hadn’t been as “lucky with money” as they had. To that end, they established some priorities for the first $3 million in grants and left … Continue reading Evolution of Grant Making

Listening and Understanding

At December’s Continuing Education presentation, “How to listen to grantees (and still find out what we need to know),” Bobby Krause of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation Board of Directors made the point that we must actively and empathically listen to our grantees. His presentation to his fellow Grant Program Committee members contained good communication and relationship building advice, namely, show up, shut up, engage and … Continue reading Listening and Understanding

Spending Time with Grantees

I recently visited with Sue Gillespie, CEO of Pathways to Education, and her team in Toronto. We are in the midst of a five-year grant agreement with Pathways, which is unfolding as we had hoped. Pathways asked for the meeting so that it could give us an update and discuss some longer term strategic issues that it is facing. Over the last couple of months … Continue reading Spending Time with Grantees

Doing Good

Sometimes it seems impossible to tell the difference between good grants and bad ones. If we feed the hungry and house the homeless, it feels good but the lasting result is to encourage dependency. If we fund groundbreaking research on how to address poverty, the connection between our grant and the end result is usually hard to see. Accepting accolades and congratulations from a grantee … Continue reading Doing Good