Resources for A Grantmaking New Year’s Resolution: A Values-Based Grantmaking Practice

Publication date: 
February, 2019

Values-aligned grantmaking is becoming every day parlance in our field, with good reason: foundation professionals are increasingly conscious of the role they play in social change. Similarly, the challenges we face seem ever more difficult to solve, and the injustices individuals, communities, and the planet face are heartbreaking. Making highly effective grants across a portfolio and even across an entire foundation is the nut we are all trying to crack. Given the current moment in philanthropy, in our country, and across the world, grantmakers are looking more intentionally at their own practices and how those practices not only support them in, or inhibit them from, achieving their intended goals, but also engage and empower the communities that they serve. 

Many foundations and grantmaking funds have spent the last few years identifying or codifying their values and analyzing or changing how their practices relate to their values. This is not easy work to do – analyzing and shifting grant practice – and often, it is easier done in dialogue with others, rather than in one's own head. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, Christensen Fund, and Disability Rights Fund are all looking at tying values to practice in different aspects of their work and have some insights and lessons learned to share. If you feel like your own foundation is grappling with some of these questions, come join us for this interactive, dialogue-based workshop where you can explore your own inquiries related to values-based grantmaking with others, and gain some practical steps you can take to reach your next values-aligned grantmaking milestone. 

At this program:

  • We learned about findings from the Hewlett Foundation’s grant practice analysis and how they view the relationship between their grantmaking practices and their guiding principles, as well as where they got stuck
  • We heard about how the Moore Foundation, Christensen Fund, and Disability Rights Fund are working to align their values and practices and how they’ve solved some of the big questions that come from this work (e.g., through grantee financial review and staff training, trust-based philanthropy or participatory grantmaking)
  • We illuminated how you might take the next step at your foundation