A Balancing Act: Navigating Power in Our Capacity Building Efforts

Host Organization: The Educational Foundation of America, The J.M. Kaplan Fund, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Philanthropy New York


As funders, we are committed to funding programs as well as strengthening the organizations that deliver these programs. Strategies to strengthening organizations can include general operating support and multi-year commitments as well as additional funding for capacity building work such as strategic or succession planning.

But how do we know if organizations are stronger or more effective as a result? And how do we navigate the power dynamics between funders and grantees when looking at capacity? Are we helping or hindering organizational strengthening through our practices? What indicators of progress can we look for to understand if the organization is building more resiliency? And how do we measure change over time? What role, if any, should third-party “ratings” or “assessments” play in the process?

Join us for an interactive discussion during which we will reflect upon these and other questions.


  • Current progress indicators that are used to look at nonprofit capacity and growth over time
  • Funder practices that help and hinder organizational strengthening
  • How to examine capacity building through an equity lens
  • Unintended consequences and the power dynamics at play between grantmakers and grantees
  • A number of tools, indicators, performance measures and programs that speak to nonprofit capacity
  • What data we are collecting today around nonprofit performance and what is likely in the future
  • What steps funders can take to support organizational capacity as well as the tracking of strength and resiliency


  • Casey Castaneda, National Head of Private Foundation Services and Executive Director, JP Morgan Chase Bank
  • Bill Falahee, Director of Finance & Administration, The J.M. Kaplan Fund
  • Mohammad Razvi, Executive Director, Council of Peoples Organization
  • Keith Timko, Executive Director and CEO, Support Center
  • Ronald Tompkins, Executive Director, 82nd Street Academics
  • Melissa Beck (Moderator), Executive Director, The Educational Foundation of America

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