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Demystifying Trust-Based Philanthropy Session 2: Does Unrestricted Funding Automatically Make a Funder Trust-Based?

Series Description

The Trust-Based Philanthropy Project is pleased to announce a six-part webinar series addressing common questions, clarifying misconceptions, and exploring ways to overcome obstacles in implementing trust-based philanthropy.

Trust-based philanthropy is a philosophy and approach rooted in values of relationship-building, mutual learning, and systemic equity – with a vision of advancing a healthier and more impactful nonprofit sector. While this approach is generally associated with six core grantmaking practices such as multi-year unrestricted funding and streamlined paperwork, the day-to-day work of trust-based philanthropy is very nuanced and dynamic. In fact, funders who have embraced this approach are finding that it requires ongoing self-reflection and rigor with regards to how they think about – and evolve – many of the deeply embedded practices and assumptions of traditional philanthropy.

Given these nuances, it is not surprising that there are many questions and occasional misperceptions about what it actually means to embody trust-based philanthropy in practice. In this 6-part webinar series, the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project will explore some of the most commonly asked questions and the underlying misperceptions that may be roadblocks to understanding and operationalizing trust-based philanthropy.

Each session in the series will focus on a frequently asked question from the field, and will feature perspectives from foundation leaders and others who have grappled with similar or related questions. At the end of each session, participants will walk away with: 1) a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the underlying cultural philosophy of trust-based philanthropy; 2) tips for how to think about and approach these nuances in their own work; and 3) talking points for how to answer these FAQs when they come up from colleagues or peers. Each session will also provide dedicated space for small-group peer dialogue about ways to implement these practices into your grantmaking.

Who should attend: Anyone in a grantmaking role that is curious about understanding the nuances of trust-based philanthropy and how it applies to your work. This series will be ideal for those who have some baseline familiarity with trust-based philanthropy and have questions about how it manifests in practice.

Session 2: Description

Does Unrestricted Funding Automatically Make a Funder Trust-Based?

There is a misperception that giving unrestricted funding is an automatic qualifier to being a trust-based funder. There is a distinction between the two, and it is possible to give unrestricted funding in a way that is inconsistent with trust-based values. Likewise, it is inaccurate to reduce trust-based philanthropy to unrestricted funding alone. A truly trust-based approach to grantmaking is about being mindful and responsive to grantee needs, and deploying resources in a way that supports their long-term health and success.

In this session, we’ll unpack the difference between unrestricted funding that is deployed in a trust-based way, and what it looks like when it’s not. We’ll also share case studies from funders who have shifted from project-specific to majority unrestricted funding, as well as those who have embedded trust-based values within semi-restricted grants. Participants can expect to gain greater clarity on the philosophy behind unrestricted funding in a trust-based context, and strategies for aligning trust-based values with the way grants are structured and deployed.

To learn more about the other sessions in this series, click the links below. 

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