Culture Resource Guide

Culture Resource Guide

As part of our work on productive foundation culture, GEO developed a resource guide to assist grantmakers in identifying, discussing and improving organizational culture. This resource guide incorporates GEO’s existing work on foundation culture as well as new resources for grantmakers. This guide will allow grantmakers to quickly access the resources that needed to address organizational culture.

Overview

After 20 years of promoting grantmaker practices that support nonprofit results, GEO is convinced that a strong culture inside foundations is critical for effective philanthropy. This section provides an overview of the importance of organizational culture and introduces the four phases of the culture journey: understand, assess, shift and tend.

Understand

A productive internal culture aligned with a foundation’s mission and goals is essential to support nonprofit resilience and success. In other words, if we are striving to have more impact, we should look not just at our external strategies and theories of change, but also at the ingrained behaviors, assumptions and values that drive our daily work and our interactions with grantees and other partners. This section explores what it means to understand culture.

Overview

Readings and Resources

Culture in Action

Assess

Once we have gained a good understanding of the culture of our organizations, it’s time to assess the degree to which that culture supports our values, goals, mission and vision. This means asking tough questions about which aspects of our current culture reflect and reinforce the values and strategies at the heart of our work, and which aspects do not.

Overview

Readings and Resources

Culture in Action

Shift

Shifting culture doesn’t simply mean developing a fresh values statement or identifying three or four cultural attributes that we want to define us. Rather, we need to back up these actions with real work to create a culture that will make our organization and our grantees more successful.

Overview

Readings and Resources

Culture in Action

Tend

Creating a productive foundation culture — one that accelerates impact and supports nonprofits to be successful — is the result of intentionality and constant tending. Tending culture means understanding what we’re trying to achieve and then continually aligning strategy, operations, talent and culture in that direction.

Overview

  • Read more about Culture Resource Guide: Tend

    Culture Resource Guide: Tend

    Creating a productive foundation culture — one that accelerates impact and supports nonprofits to be successful — is the result of intention...

Readings and Resources

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