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Participatory grantmaking encompasses a range of models, methods, challenges, and insights. At its core, this approach to funding cedes decision-making power about grants to the very communities impacted by funding decisions. This special collection gathers the experience and insights of funders who have shifted power and builds on the wisdom explored in the GrantCraft guide "Deciding Together: Shifting Power and Resources through Participatory Grantmaking".

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Featured

Letting Go of Power, Centering Community: The Share Fund’s Story of Incorporating Participatory Grantmaking in Family Philanthropy

August 1, 2023

This guide offers insights and inspiration for family philanthropists to consider how they can implement participatory grantmaking into their giving. It shares how one family, the Marklyns, established The Share Fund, a participatory giving model that is not funded with endowed funds, but by their deliberate, annual redistribution of their assets to their mission. Their experience is an offering — to the broader philanthropic community and families curious about the model — to learn about one family's journey to developing a participatory grantmaking model that is intentionally designed to shift power and redistribute wealth. As one of The Share Fund Group members expressed, their model is about "creating something new in a way that will be able to serve the community without strings attached."

Featured

Participatory Grantmaking: Building the Evidence

June 13, 2023

This report explores the state of evidence in participatory grantmaking (PGM). It investigates the benefits and challenges of PGM and provides recommendations for the sector on advancing practice and understanding in this emerging area.The report's objectives are (1) to synthesise evidence on whether PGM achieves its intended outcomes and to explore its benefits and challenges compared with traditional grantmaking, and (2) to make recommendations to build the evidence base to better answer these questions.It aims to shed light on whether and how PGM works, with a view to advancing sector practice and highlighting areas for further research. It is grounded in a review of literature and uses case studies to illustrate key insights with a particular, in-depth focus on the Peer-to-Peer Program funded in Australia by the Paul Ramsay Foundation.

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Safeguarding & participatory grant-making: An essential guide for funders

April 18, 2023

This document includes guidance on how to consider safeguarding in the planning, delivery, and review of participatory grant-making processes. Its primary focus is to ensure that those involved in participatory grant-making processes, whom we call decision makers, are kept safe from harm.Questions for decision makers to funders is a handout that these decision makers can use if they are considering getting involved in a participatory grant-making process. It includes questions they can ask funders to check if they have sufficiently considered safeguarding measures in their planning.

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Community Fund: A Participatory Grantmaking Case Study

January 26, 2023

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) Community team is committed to creating a more equitable, inclusive, and just California full of opportunity, where everyone and every community has the power to shape their future. Key to advancing this mission is CZI's Community Fund, which supports nonprofit organizations across San Mateo County, providing essential programming and acting as catalysts for social change in their communities.Since its inception in 2017, the Community Fund has supported 175 organizations with close to $26 million in grants. These grants empower local changemakers to tackle structural inequities in their communities, from the housing crisis to educational barriers. We hope that the fund — and its impact — will continue to grow, bettering the quality of life for people across San Mateo County and the Bay Area for generations to come.This report maps out the history and growth of the Community Fund, as well as the creation of the Fund's participatory grantmaking practice in the 2021 and 2022 grantmaking cycles, which propelled grants totaling $13 million to 139 organizations across San Mateo County. This collaborative funding approach engages directly impacted community members as part of the grant funding decision-making process in an effort to build trust and prioritize community voice.

Participatory Philanthropy Toolkit

May 19, 2023

Solidarity, dignity, power, and abundance. These are just some of the benefits that can accrue to the people and communities most impacted by philanthropy's decisions when they have a role in the decision making. That's according to Ciciley Moore, senior program officer at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, who represented Fund for Shared Insight in a participatory grantmaking program. Shared Insight ran this one-time program (which focused on involving people affected by climate change in funding decisions around the issue) so we could learn together with other funders committed to listening, participation, and more effective and equitable grantmaking.Based on the experiences of the participants, consultants, and funders involved, we created this toolkit to inform and inspire philanthropy's journey toward more participatory practices.Participatory Philanthropy is a term that can include a wide spectrum of participatory practices within philanthropy, and includes Participatory Grantmaking as one approach. This initiative went beyond sharing decision making about grants and centered participation in the design phase of the work. Participants worked on design and grantmaking teams, defining the program's purpose, parameters, and, through a participatory decision-making approach, where and how $2 million in grant money was disbursed. Participants were also involved with communicating grant decisions, developing knowledge products, and gathering in learning communities to deepen their connections and understand and share the impact of the initiative. 

Transparency & Accountability Initiative Participatory Strategy Resource Library

November 1, 2022

Many struggle to imagine how to bring elements of participation and power-sharing into the design of their strategies, both institutionally and programmatically.The Transparency and Accountability Initative (TAI) has built this library to illuminate what is (and isn't) a participatory strategy and describe how funders and nonprofits have designed and executed their participatory strategic processes. TAI encourages transparent, participatory, and accountable funding practices. 

Community Interest Funds 2022 Impact Report

October 13, 2022

The Omaha Community Foundation awarded 87 grants totaling $845,000 to local nonprofits and neighborhood groups through our five Community Interest Funds, which includes the:African American Unity FundLGBTQIA2S+ Equality FundFuturo Latino FundRefugee Community Grant FundOmaha Neighborhood Grants ProgramGrants made through our Community Interest Funds are strategic investments meant to increase access, equity, and opportunity. We engage everyday community members to lead grant processes, and we rely on them to exercise and apply their own power and understanding.Each committee is made up of residents who come from or identify with the population being served. They review proposals, and based on the needs they are seeing in their communities, they decide which projects will have the greatest impact.

Some Lessons from Participatory Grantmaking and Meditations on Power for the Field

July 26, 2022

In 2019, the Fund for Shared Insight, a national funder collaborative seeking to improve philanthropy by promoting high-quality listening and feedback in service of equity, created a participatory process of design, grantmaking, and implementation. The full initiative is still underway, but at this moment, we, Shared Insight's learning and evaluation partner, want to reflect on and share back what we are learning from extant data review, observations of meetings and events, conversations with staff, and data collected at up to three time points from those involved in the participatory processes. While there are many useful lessons to learn about how to do participatory grantmaking and what was learned specifically around issues of climate for people in the regions of focus, one of our unique areas of inquiry was to hear directly from those involved about how they felt about shifts in power through the process. We noticed some divergence in perspectives that we thought worthy of exploration. Given the focus on learning from this work, this report is less a full accounting of all lessons and outcomes and more a deeper look to help the funder collaborative and the field grapple with questions around power based on the lessons from this participatory grantmaking initiative.

Indigenous Women's Flow Fund: 2021 - 2022 Storytelling

July 7, 2022

The Indigenous Women's Flow Fund (IWFF) is an Indigenous-led grantmaking program that nourishes community-sourced initiatives and offers solutions and alternatives to systems in crisis. Grounded in trust-based philanthropic approaches, IWFF brings together five Indigenous women from across the United States, for a three-year period, to be decision-makers over grantmaking dollars and shape the program according to their vision.

INDIGENOUS WOMEN'S FLOW FUND: 2020 - 2021 Storytelling

May 1, 2021

The Indigenous Women's Flow Fund (IWFF) is an Indigenous-led grantmaking program that nourishes community-sourced initiatives and offers solutions and alternatives to systems in crisis. Grounded in trust-based philanthropic approaches, IWFF brings together five Indigenous women from across the United States, for a three-year period, to be decision-makers over grantmaking dollars and shape the program according to their vision.

YOUTH PARTICIPATORY GRANT-MAKING IN SIERRA LEONE: LESSONS FROM THE TAR KURA INITIATIVE

March 22, 2021

For nearly twenty years, the Fund for Global Human Rights has been a vocal champion of participatory philanthropy. We provide flexible general support that allows local groups to define and lead their own agendas. Fund grantees identify their priorities and approach and collaborate with program staff on defining measures of progress toward their intended outcomes.To us, participatory grant-making—which empowers affected communities to decide what and who to fund—is a further step in shifting power to grantees and movements.In 2019, the Fund partnered with Purposeful, a feminist movement-building hub for adolescent girls, to pilot a participatory grant-making initiative in Sierra Leone aimed at promoting youth leadership and amplifying the voices of young people.As our first foray into realizing the potential of participatory grant-making, this experience taught us many valuable lessons about how to foster genuine participation of children and young people.A targeted and intentional approach to reach a diverse group of children and youth is essential. This helps prevent a participatory process that only benefits young people in urban areas and those from higher socio-economic backgrounds.We also learned that true participation requires letting go of power while ensuring that young people have what they need to make meaningful and informed decisions. Support to child and youth-led groups should go beyond grant money to include a comprehensive package of grantee-led learning and accompaniment.The biggest lesson is about the need to be open and flexible throughout the process. Being willing to adapt as we went along allowed us to respond and make changes (almost) in real time. It also allowed us to learn from the young people about what it means to use your voice and make yourself heard in ways far beyond what we could have anticipated.

Grassroots Grantmaking: Embedding Participatory Approaches in Funding

February 1, 2020

For me some of the most interesting insights to come out of my research were around how traditional funders can move towards participatory models, and the fact that this is possible. As interest in participatory grantmaking (PGM) gathers momentum it is likely that one-off programmes will be designed and tested but will quickly fade as the next 'latest thing' arrives. This research has tried to identify and address some of the biggest barriers and things to think about, with examples from funders, grantmakers and foundations who are doing it well, in order to help others embed PGM. I have looked at risk factors or concerns that might stop a board or senior management supporting this approach and what resources and staff skills are required to operationalise it.