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What We Care About


No organization has the resources to address the complex issues facing our communities. Working together gives us an opportunity to create real change.


of grantmakers believe it is important to coordinate resources and actions with other funders

Collaboration takes place in many forms (like networks, movements, collective impact) and in many funding possibilities (such as co-funding or pooled funds). But regardless of the specific details, one thing is always true — if we want to go far, we have to go together.

Collaboration requires everyone to be honest, trusting and humble. It means being open about what our strengths are as well as what knowledge and expertise our partners bring to the table. And once we understand what role we should play, solving complex challenges together becomes possible. Funding collaboration successfully and being productive partners requires that we do the hard work to set ourselves up for success. But doing so means we’re able to make faster progress on the issues we care about most.

For us, collaboration is about joining with others to try to move the needle, whether on issues such as improving the social, emotional and physical well-being of our youth or ensuring that more kids graduate and go to college.

Cheryl Walker, board chair of the Deaconess Foundation

Helpful Tools and Resources

Stay informed of the emerging trends and promising practices from the field of philanthropy through GEO’s publications and research.

  • Perspective

    Findings from GEO’s Language Survey

    In 2018 and 2019, GEO is developing a publication, workshop and conference to help grantmakers think through what it takes to do this work well. As we embarked on the development of these programs, the language around these topics proved tricky. Nonprofit partners told us that phrases like “grantee inclusion” are frustrating because they reinforce power dynamics and define nonprofits by their relationship to a funder. In addition, language that doesn’t encompass both nonprofits and community members doesn’t reflect the entirety of our goals. Other organizations working on similar issues shared their own struggles with the lexicon. So, we reached out to our contacts, including members, other grantmakers and nonprofits, to help inform the language we use moving forward. Here is a summary of the key results of that survey.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • November 2018
  • Perspective

    Complex Problems Require Collaborative Solutions

    After 17 successful years of inspiring and nurturing people with innovative, grassroots ideas to positively impact their communities, The Sprout Fund has decided to sunset in 2018. In doing so, the Pittsburgh-based organization has decided to share their lessons learned in "The Sprout Fund Field Guide for Philanthropy & Civic Action." This is part two of a two-part series sharing their lessons learned.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • September 2018
  • GEOList Members Only

    GEOList Summary: Structuring matching grants

    What requirements do you put on the match? For example, must the funds be from a new donor to qualify, or do you simply look at total contributed income in one year versus the previous year? How do you calculate/verify the amount of qualifying funds raised? For example, do you require final 990s or audited financial statements?

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • September 2018
  • Event Materials Members Only

    2018 National Conference Discussion Guide: The GEO Community at 20

    Over the last 20 years, the GEO community has worked to transform a desire for results into real improvements by creating spaces where grantmakers learn together and use that learning to drive concrete changes in the way grantmaking work gets done. As a field, we've made progress. And, as we continue learning together, our understanding of effective philanthropy evolves.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • June 2018
  • Event Materials Members Only

    2018 National Conference Discussion Guide: Creating Space for Systems Change

    Raj Jayadev of Silicon Valley De-Bug shared how De-Bug has been transforming the criminal justice system using a "participatory defense" approach that empowers families and community members to sway the result of court cases. He suggested ways grantmakers can support systems change work led by nonprofits and communities, and how creating space allows for the innovation that's needed to tackle oppressive systems and institutions.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • June 2018

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No matter the outcome we are working toward, our institutions and systems were built to advantage some but not all — and data shows that inequities persist to this day. These inequities become more apparent when we take race into account.

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When we build trust and tap the knowledge and perspective of nonprofits and the communities we serve, we create better solutions.

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Akilah Massey


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