Cross-post: An eye towards the future: Trust-based funding

  • By Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, December 16, 2019

This post originally appeared on the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy blog by Hannah Saeger Karnei, Inaugural Fellow at The Patterson Foundation. In this post, Hannah shares her experience learning about the Ford Foundation’s BUILD program. To read the complete post, please visit the original post here.

At The Patterson Foundation (TPF), philanthropy is approached as a tool to discover possibilities rather than solutions. TPF stands, as of today, quite unique in the independent foundation world in that there are no grant cycles, no requests for proposals, no timing limitations to its funding relationships.

Recently, I had the opportunity to learn about the Ford Foundation’s BUILD Program from the expert herself, Kathy Reich. If you’re unfamiliar with the BUILD Initiative, it is, in essence, a portfolio of longer-term, capacity building grants in a 1-4 model: one year of planning, four years of implementation.

On the surface, The Patterson Foundation and Ford Foundation may seem dissimilar in the extreme. TPF will celebrate 10 years of strengthening the community in 2020; Ford Foundation has been operating for over 80 years. The Patterson Foundation endowment is in the range of $230 million and Ford is one of the largest private foundations in the world with over $12 billion (with a B! as my dad says) in assets. The Patterson Foundation, while supporting some efforts on a national and global level, is primarily focused on the four-county region around Sarasota, FL, while Ford works extensively across the globe.

And yet the BUILD program is proof that there is common ground beyond tax classification. By strict definition, TPF only has one “capacity building” initiative, Margin & Mission Ignition. However, if you consider the purpose of capacity building and what it means in behavior, values, and attitude of philanthropy, TPF and the BUILD program are generally aligned.

Head over to the original post to continue reading.