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2020 New Grantmakers Institute | Grantmaking for the 21st Century

Sessions begin October 22, 2020!

If you're new to philanthropy, or interested in sharpening your skills, NCG's signature program, the New Grantmakers Institute (NGI): Grantmaking for the 21st Century, helps build your understanding of best practices for ethical and effective grantmaking, and helps you place yourself within the ecosystem that you are now a part of.

In this six-week series of weekly trainings, participants will get a 101-level introduction to the art and craft of grantmaking. You will have the opportunity to hear directly from seasoned philanthropic leaders and become familiar with the opportunities facing philanthropy today. In addition to top-notch faculty, participants will begin to develop a network of peers as we grapple with what it means to practice effective and equitable grantmaking in the context of a global pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and climate change. This series of workshops will also guide you towards resources available to support your continued professional development as you get started in the field. 


Have any questions about applying for what's in store? Contact Kate Seely at

Hear from Past Participants

Interested in the benefits of participating? Hear from last year's attendees about where their job search began and what excites them about working in philanthropy now.

Executive Director | General Service Foundation


Executive Director | Walter & Elise Haas Fund


Program Officer, Marine Conservation Initiative | The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation


Senior Program Officer | The Libra Foundation


Chief Stretegy Officer | Akonadi Foundation


Vice President of Program Implementation | The James Irvine Foundation


Senior Advocacy Officer | Conrad N. Hilton Foundation


Executive Director, All Stars Helping Kids


Co-Executive Director | The Whitman Institute


Executive Director | Somos Mayfair


Executive Director | Ella Baker Center for Human Rights


Director | Trust-Based Philanthropy Project


Executive Director | Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area

Monika Kalra Varma, Esq.

Senior Manager, Corporate Citizenship | Genentech


Session Dates:

All trainings are two and a half hour sessions and take place between 10:00 am - 12:30 pm. 

Sessions Topics

Session 1: The State of the Sector | Thursday, October 22, 2020
The State of the Sectoris a panel of seasoned and opinionated (!) experts who will share their experiences of the field of philanthropy today. Members of this panel will reflect on the state of the sector and its evolution over the past several years, as well as how they grapple with equity, humility, accountability, and power dynamics. They will comment on how they see the rest of the field grappling with the challenges that philanthropy is trying to positively impact, and share where we are living up to the intentions we set for ourselves, and where we still have some growing to do.  The content of this conversation, given our current reality, will be set against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the social uprisings associated with the pervasive injustice of racism in our country. 
Session 2: Your Roles in Developing Equitable Relationships with Grantee Partners | Thursday, October 29, 2020 
In this session we’ll explore how to develop authentic and generative relationships with grantee partners, working to disrupt embedded power dynamics and practices, in the context of grant sourcing, proposals, and reporting. We’ll also explore what a matchmaker and talent scout have in common, or a strategist and an administrator. In other words, we’ll think about the different roles we all can play in the philanthropic process, including how those roles translate into effective and equitable relationships with grantee partners. 
Session 3: Full Cost, Equity, and Impact | Thursday, November 5, 2020
Across the nation, there has been an increased focus on supporting equity, inclusive economies, and opportunity for all.  For grantmakers that means moving beyond outdated fundraising practices that focus solely on programs, neglect investments in infrastructure, and undermine scale.  When funding doesn't cover the full cost of doing business, nonprofits close the gap through sweat equity – they overwork and underpay their people. Staff are asked to deliver on a wide range of funder, government, and board expectations while using outdated computer systems, with poor internet service and leaking offices. Aiming for "opportunity for all" through exploiting the employees of nonprofits is no path to success.
Supporting equity and economic opportunity is not just about what you fund but how you fund. By better understanding what it really costs your grantees to deliver on mission, grantmakers can better leverage their resources to support a more just, equitable, and sustainable society. 
Session 4: VEEP, House of Cards, or the West Wing: Public Policy, and Transformation in the Civic Landscape | Thursday, November 12, 2020 
Philanthropy operates within a complex, interconnected civic landscape—working alongside business, government, nonprofit institutions, and academia. These other sectors can seem foreign to many of us, none more so than government entities, most of whom spend more money on any given issue than all of philanthropy combined. Public policy, politics, and advocacy have simultaneously earned a bleak image of ineffectiveness and corruption, or a comedic cynical view of government. Reality, however, paints a vastly different picture. Through this interactive session, learn the rules of engagement for effectively moving your foundations’ agenda forward. We will explore the fundamentals of advocacy and its critical function in advancing the goals of philanthropy in public policy through a discussion of the importance of public policy, communicating your policy preferences, and collaborating with government.
We will also connect the work of philanthropy within the larger civic landscape, and the transformation that can occur when we connect our work as grantmakers, relationship builders, and responsible brokers of social influence to the power, urgency, challenge, and opportunity that comes from working in the wider civic context.
Session 5: Meet our Community Leaders | Thursday, November 19, 2020
In this session, we'll bring all of our learning together, hearing from nonprofit leaders about their most successful relationships with funder partners. Moderated by Shaady Salehi of the Trust-Based Philanthropy project, three nonprofit leaders will share their best (and worst) stories as they've worked to create financial sustainability within their organizations while advancing towards their missions as well. We'll hear what it means to go beyond the grant, and what behaviors funders can practice that most support their grantee partners to achieve their goals. 
Session 6: Navigating Your Journey in Philanthropy | Thursday, December 3, 2020
In this session, you will hear from two individuals who have both been in the field for 15+ years, and who met at the beginning of their journeys in philanthropy. They both began in junior positions and have advanced to some of the most senior roles in their foundations. They will share stories and lessons that have shaped their careers, and reflect on what they feel has made it possible for them to be successful in philanthropy.

Thursday, October 22, 2020 - 10:00am to Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 12:30pm PDT
Virtual Training Series
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Target Audience 

Members or nonmembers who are new to their role in the field of philanthropy are welcome to apply. 


Members and nonmembers must log in to register. If you do not already have an account, you can learn more about creating one here

Questions or trouble registering? Contact the registrar.


  • Members: $400 
  • Nonmembers: $650
Opt-In to an Additional Learning Group
After registering, you will receive your confirmation email. You will then have the opportunity to opt-in to an additional small learning group. The group will support relationship-building with your fellow participants, create space to grapple and discuss both learnings and questions from the sessions, and discuss more deeply what it means to be a grantmaker in this moment.  
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