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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.

  • GEOList Members Only

    GeoList Summary: Venture Philanthropy Collaboratives – do you have examples?

    Dear Colleagues, We are working with a group of foundations in Brazil to find best-in-class examples of what many call venture philanthropy, and we want to use as comparators initiatives that include most or all of the following characteristics: 1) tailored financing which includes BOTH grants AND impact investing through debt, equity, or other forms; and hybrid financial instruments; 2) high engagement of funders; 3) long term approach and stable investment over time of AT LEAST 3-4 years; 4) emphasis on strengthening capacity and partnerships to build self-reliance and resilience; 5) organizational support to develop skills, improve structures and processes, etc.; 6) intention and action on measuring and managing outcomes and impact; reflection and adjustment by funders and recipients together; and ideally 7) sharing learnings with the broader community. If you have good examples to share, whether they succeeded or failed in their aims, we would like to include them as cases. Thank you.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • July 2019
  • GEOList Members Only

    GEOList Summary: Program Design for Racial Equity Peer Cohorts

    ACT for Alexandria, a community foundation in Alexandria, VA, is developing a capacity building cohort focused on racial equity for nonprofit leaders in our community. We are curious about any of your experiences with similar initiatives.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • April 2019
  • GEOList Members Only

    GEOList Summary: Examples of place-based funders collaborating to build capacity?

    We are a small family foundation funding in Dane County, Wisconsin, interested in collaborating more formally with other Dane County funders to elevate the effectiveness of our nonprofit sector. I am looking for examples of other collaborative efforts, namely place-based funders working together to: identify capacity needs, bring and/or develop learning opportunities for nonprofits, and evaluate capacity gains.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • February 2019
  • GEOList Members Only

    GEOList Summary: Resources for Rural Early Childcare Success Models

    The H. E. Butt Foundation is researching ways rural areas have successfully implemented early childcare centers. We are interested in research data around different methodologies for implementation.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • February 2019
  • 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

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    2020 National Conference

    Hosted in partnership with Philanthropy Massachusetts, the 2020 National Conference provides participants with information, connections and experiences to continue improving and pursuing smarter grantmaking practices that positively impact nonprofit effectiveness.

    • April 2020

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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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Strengthening Relationships

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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