Small Grants Programs, Family Matters

Small Grants Programs, Family Matters

Because less is risked when smaller amounts of money are involved, the small grant format can be an especially innovative grantmaking tool, argues Durfee Foundation president Carrie Avery in the latest issue of Family Matters (8 pages, PDF), a quarterly publication from the Council on Foundations. Avery, who interviewed dozens of foundation officials engaged in making small grants for the Council's new book, The Guide to Successful Small Grants Programs: When a Little Goes a Long Way, believes that, far from being a diminished version of larger grants, small grants represent a unique opportunity for foundations to exercise creativity while serving community needs — a point illustrated in her essay by brief profiles of the Firelight Foundation, a $12 million family foundation that works to stem the AIDS epidemic in Africa; the Oakland-based Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, which has developed a speciality called "immediate response grantmaking"; and the New York City-based Albert Kunstadter Family Foundation, which, with an annual grants budget of roughly $500,000, awards 65 percent of its grants for international purposes.