As president and CEO of The Wright Center for Community Health and its affiliated entity, The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education, I’ve had the great privilege of voluntarily serving alongside 600 peer nonprofit CEOs on the Center for Effective Philanthropy’s nationally representative Grantee Voice Panel. As a member of the panel, I was surveyed as part of CEP’s data collection efforts that informed findings in its recent study, New Attitudes, Old Practices: The Provision of Multiyear General Operating Support.

Reading the report, I came away highly energized about new ways in which nonprofit organizations like The Wright Center can better collaborate with philanthropic foundations to increase the intentional formulation and distribution of multiyear general operating support (GOS) grants.

Without question, the study’s findings provide a wealth of helpful information about the benefits of multiyear GOS to grantees — as well as the barriers that seem to be preventing these grants from becoming more of a strategic priority for foundations. Given my position leading a community-governed nonprofit, the report’s first key finding that multiyear GOS grants can result in many benefits to the health of nonprofit organizations and, ultimately, increase the impact they can have on society, certainly resonated with me.

The Wright Center works to provide first-rate, nondiscriminatory, and comprehensive primary healthcare services to the residents of Northeast Pennsylvania, while also training the next generation of primary care physicians through The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education. The Center has grown substantially during the past decade. To continue responding to national and local community health needs through services delivery and workforce development efforts, we are constantly seeking new funding sources from philanthropic partners that share our goals and align with our purpose.

Our mission is especially critical now as the scope of our daily work has grown to integrate a multidimensional response to the COVID-19 pandemic. And yet the current wide-scale economic uncertainty related to the pandemic has simultaneously made fundraising for healthcare and medical education organizations like ours even more challenging than usual. As a result, these twin realities have made the opportunity for stabilizing and empowering multiyear GOS grants even more necessary.

Unfortunately, multiyear GOS grants make up a depressingly low percentage of nonprofit operating budgets, as CEP’s report shares. Only 41 percent of nonprofit leaders surveyed by CEP reported receiving multiyear GOS grants in the year before COVID-19, and most of those who did said it constituted less than 25 percent of their foundation funding.

Read the full article about multiyear general operating support by Linda Thomas-Hemak at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.