Of its $4.1 trillion fiscal year 2016 budget, the U.S. federal government and its grantmaking agencies will give out billions of dollars in the form of grants to states, localities, and individuals, supporting a dizzying array of activities, from scientific research and economic development to arts, culture, and education.
Grantmaking, in short, plays a vital role in helping our government, our researchers, and our communities confront 21st-century challenges. Despite grantmaking's importance, we have a decidedly 20th-century system in place for deciding how we make these billions of dollars of crucial public investments. To make the most of limited funding—and help build confidence in the ability of public investments to make a positive difference—it is essential for our government agencies to try more innovative approaches to designing, awarding, and measuring their grantmaking activities.
Innovations in Open Grantmaking seeks to provide inspiration and early proof of concept regarding innovative practices at every stage of the grantmaking process. The examples and lessons included can act as suggested guidelines for future research and experimentation around more openly and effectively providing access to public money.
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This paper seeks to provide inspiration and early proof of concept regarding innovative practices at every stage of the grantmaking process. Certainly, not every innovation is appropriate for every agency or every grant. But all grantmaking agencies could benefit by taking a long, hard look at their existing procedures and determining how best to modernize and improve them. This publication will provide practitioners throughout government a menu of options to learn from — and some important issues to consider — as they decide how to do so.