The Rasmuson Foundation in Anchorage, Alaska, has announced changes to its grant programs in response to the results of a grantee perception report prepared for it by the Center for Effective Philanthropy.
Conducted during February and March 2011, the survey by Cambridge-based CEP sought input from 272 Rasmuson grantees about, among other things, the foundation's impact on grantees' fields of interest and communities, the foundation's grant application process, and the kind and level of assistance provided by the foundation "beyond the check." Overall, grantees reported that the foundation had "significant positive impact" in local communities (more so than 87 percent of all funders), that it was perceived as influential, and that its staff were more "helpful" than staff at many of its peers. In addition, respondents said the foundation's non-monetary assistance — which includes strategic planning advice, facilitation and convenings, and training opportunities — was rated among the highest relative to all other funders in the CEP dataset.
At the same time, the foundation ranked below its peers in terms of the "responsiveness of staff" — a finding the foundation attributes in part to program staff transition over the past three years and its failure to notify grantees about staff changes affecting their projects and key contacts.
In response, the foundation announced that it will simplify its grant programs, reducing the number of grant types it administers by collapsing a number of existing programs into two programs. In the future, the foundation's Tier 1 grants will support requests for less than $25,000, while its Tier 2 grants will support requests over $25,000. The foundation also will allow Tier 1 applications to be completed online and will accept proposals for needs beyond capital such as technology upgrades, capacity-building initiatives, program expansion, and creative works.