From Understanding to Impact

From Understanding to Impact

The investment of foundation resources and staff time in building a stronger understanding of grantees' work is crucial to effectiveness in grantmaking, a new report from the Center for Effective Philanthropy argues. The report, Lessons From the Field: From Understanding to Impact (16 pages, PDF), highlights lessons from three foundations that grantees rated in the top 5 percent for understanding their fields. Foundations singled out in the report are the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, for its work to develop the knowledge and leadership capacity of both its staff and grantees; the Energy Foundation, for its work to build relationships with local experts that bridge cultural differences and connect them with grantees; and the Wilburforce Foundation, which takes a holistic approach that emphasizes staff time in the field, alliances with key constituencies, and funding for research. The report concludes that listening to and sharing information with grantees as well as other stakeholders is criticial to maximizing impact.