Giving Compass’ Take:
• In this story, Etan Vlessing interviews Cecilia Conrad of the MacArthur Foundation about how to improve the grantmaking process.
• Conrad claims that there are philanthropists who “can’t give away their money fast enough,” yet there are still so many underfunded organizations. How can organizations improve their pitch and outreach to become connected with these philanthropists?
• To learn more about how to make every dollar count in philanthropy, check out this book review.
The way Cecilia Conrad of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation tells it, there are many philanthropists with untold wealth on the sidelines while worthy charitable organizations striving for social change go unnoticed or under-resourced.
Samaritanmag talked to Conrad about taking big bets on charitable organizations and matching them with wealthy philanthropists willing to tackle social issues radically different in scale, scope, and complexity — and how to do all that through a rigorous, open and transparent process.
You mention there are philanthropists who can’t give away their money fast enough. Which means so much wealth is being kept on the sidelines as worthy charities without proper messaging or scale struggle to achieve social change. So are you really in the match-making business?
We’re asking philanthropists who have become our partners to make a minimum commitment of $10 million, and to make that as a multi-year grant, because we do want to give organizations the ability to think bigger than they have been able to do in the past. And then we’re prepared to support them as they consider how to think bigger. Because if you’ve always had to do with $1 million here and $1 million there, you’ve not been able to step back and come up with, “What if I had $10 million, or $15 million or $100 million? How would I deploy that and how would I implement that?” So we’re providing support to the organizations and we’re matching organizations with funders who are willing to step up.
What are the questions to weigh when pursuing scale for social impact?
There’s scaling where the single organization gets larger. There’s scaling where you bring on other partners. There’s scaling where you need to consider how to adapt what you’re doing to a new population … The space and opportunity to [ask these questions] is important. And you need patience to be able to work with organizations to define interim milestones that a philanthropist or a donor feels comfortable with to measure progress over time.
Read the full article about long term grantmaking by Etan Vlessing at Samaritan Mag.
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