GEO’s New Strategic Direction

  • By Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, February 21, 2024

GEO’s New Strategic Direction

Dear GEO Community,

Today, GEO is thrilled to be sharing our new strategic direction as we continue the long-term work of transforming philanthropic culture and practice so that grantmakers work in service of thriving nonprofits and communities. This new strategy carries forward our unwavering commitment to advancing racial equity, addressing the root causes of injustice and transforming the philanthropic field.

I have immense gratitude for the countless people who have contributed to GEO as members, partners, volunteers, staff and advisors over the last 26 years. Together, we have developed a set of values grounded in our shared humanity. GEO’s organizational values of love, racial equity in practice, community-centered collaboration and trust and accountability allow us to establish a shared vision with our diverse community.

I take seriously the high level of accountability that comes with the institutional practice of philanthropy. The philanthropic sector operates from a place of power and privilege. And the GEO community teaches us that the most responsible way to be stewards of that power and privilege requires close partnership with people and communities.

GEO’s organizational strategy clarifies our commitment to being a community of practice rooted in racial equity. We acknowledge that racial equity work is systems change work, and inherently intersectional. Also, we understand that intersecting systems of oppression such as racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, xenophobia and others demand direct and comprehensive action. To this end, GEO believes that centering philanthropic practice in racial equity principles is the key to supporting thriving nonprofits and communities.

Our strategic direction outlines transformative goals in the interconnected areas of culture, practice, learning and community. These goals underscore the imperative of grounding philanthropic culture in the experiences of diverse communities, advancing responsive and equitable practices, fostering a learning mindset and effectively collaborating within a larger ecosystem to advance equity across sectors.

This work cannot be done alone. GEO is honored to complement the work of many sister organizations who are also working to change how our sector operates. We see ourselves as an essential part of a thriving ecosystem of changemakers. To this ecosystem, we contribute strengths in shifting philanthropic culture and practice among our far-reaching community of members and partners who share a commitment to building a just, connected and inclusive society where all can thrive.

In addition to our current programming, in the coming months and years, you can expect to see some key new elements to GEO’s offerings. At the individual level, we plan to deepen the support we offer to grantmakers to do the personal work necessary to embrace a learning mindset. At the institutional level we will increase our direct support engagements with grantmaking organizations to facilitate practice changes. At the field level, we will build deeper relationships and partnerships with organizations advancing equity across sectors.

We are eager to continue working with you on our collective efforts to transform philanthropic culture and practice. There is no shortage of ways to get involved and stay involved with GEO! Please join us at these upcoming opportunities to hear more about our strategy and engage with our programming.

In-Person Strategy Event

We will be celebrating in New York City with a presentation of our strategy, a rich discussion about our sector and a lunch reception.

Wednesday, February 28

11:00 AM – 2:00 PM ET 32 Old Slip

New York, NY 10005

Register for the event here.

Upcoming Strategy Webinars

We are mobilizing the full GEO community— our members, partners, board, staff and other stakeholders. Come learn about ways to get involved and celebrate our collective efforts!

– Thursday, March 21 – 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST. Register here.

– Monday, April 1 – 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST. Register here.

2024 GEO National Conference

  • Hosted in partnership with Philanthropy California, our conference offers grantmakers and other practitioners the opportunity to explore equity-centered and community-driven grantmaking practices that support transformational change.
  • The conference will be held in Los Angeles, CA on May 20 – 22, Los Angeles.
  • Register here by 2/26 for priority member registration. Nonmember registration opens on 2/27.

We invite you to view our full strategic direction and look forward to deeper connections at our many in person and virtual opportunities as we move forward on this path to transforming philanthropic culture and practice together.


Marcus Walton GEO President and CEO