I’m thrilled to share today, the launch of our new GrantCraft guide Deciding Together: Shifting Power and Resources through Participatory Grantmaking. This body of work has been a labor of love for the past two years. In partnership with extraordinary researcher/writer Cynthia Gibson, we explored how foundations around the world are ceding their decision-making power to the very communities they aim to serve.
Participatory grantmaking is an alternative approach to the typical staff-recommended, board-approved model of grantmaking common in most foundations. It’s time-tested and increasingly explored, especially by foundations eager to be more inclusive in their practice. The approach introduces many benefits and challenges, and requires shifts not only in practice, but in ethos as well. Our guide explores both the why and the how of participatory grantmaking, and I hope that all funders—even those for whom this approach doesn’t feel viable—can dig in and learn from their peers. Wherever you are in the participatory grantmaking process—learner, experimenter, or experienced practitioner—you’ll find useful information in this guide, as well as in related videos and resources online at grantcraft.org/participatorygrantmaking. In fact, I believe that every grantmaker can benefit from being more participatory in their work; these resources will inspire you to push your boundaries and try.
One aspect I’m particularly excited about is that many of the examples in this guide are from not-your-usual-household-name-foundations; they come from many human rights grantmakers, and in particular many based or working outside the United States. Many are small and operate with small budgets. It highlights how everyone in this sector stands to learn from others, even if they fund at a different scale, across different borders, or within different populations. To this end, our official in-person launch of this resource will be in two weeks at the Human Rights Funders Network conference, where, together with our FABULOUS project advisors who all are participatory grantmakers, we will lead a participatory grantmaking institute.
THANK YOU to everyone who played a part in the development of this resource; your thoughtfulness and willingness to share knew no bounds, and our team is extremely grateful.
As always, we invite and encourage your reactions and additional examples of participatory grantmaking. Help us get out the word on Twitter (follow the conversation using the hashtag #ShiftThePower) and beyond, and please reach out to us at email@example.com to be a guest blogger or to otherwise share your thoughts.
This letter originally appeared in GrantCraft's newsletter. To stay updated with our newsletter and special alerts, sign up here.