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What We Care About

Culture

Productive grantmaker culture is one that accelerates progress by supporting nonprofits to be successful.

Culture is the collective behaviors and underlying assumptions of an organization.

While there is no one “right” culture, GEO’s work shows that grantmakers who cultivate cultures based on collaboration and partnership; diversity, equity and inclusion; respect and humility; responsiveness; transparency and trust; and curiosity and learning are better able to adopt the smarter grantmaking practices that matter most to nonprofits.

Creating productive culture is the result of intentionality and constant tending — this means understanding what we’re trying to achieve and continually aligning strategy, operations, talent and culture in that direction. In order to do this, everyone within the organization must understand how her or his role and behaviors either reinforces or contradicts the culture we are collectively trying to create. By working together to understand and tend our culture, we can build stronger, more inclusive and more effective organizations.

Culture is built every day in every action you take. It affects how people think about your organization, whether they trust you, and their willingness and eagerness to work with you.

Stacy Van Gorp, R.J. McElory Trust

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: Funding COVID-19 Testing/Contact Tracing

    The Patterson Foundation is interested in learning from funders who are supporting COVID testing sites, contact tracing, or vaccine work. This is specifically related to undertaking direct work testing/contact-tracing/vaccine research rather than recovery or economic support work. Appreciative of any insight!

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • August 2020
  • Perspective

    Philanthropy’s Racial Funding Gap is an Urgent Crisis

    The demand for racial justice erupting across a nation ravaged by a pandemic disproportionately impacting communities of color is a call to action: the time for grantmakers to invest in Black leaders and Black-led organizations in America is now.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • July 2020
  • Perspective

    New Survey: How Online Work is Impacting Us All

    Andy Goodman, director and co-founder of the Goodman Center, is launching a new survey to examine how online work--generally and in light of the pandemic--is impacting us all.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • July 2020
  • Perspective

    Four Upstream Questions to Support Next Steps

    For the last two months, grantmaking organizations have focused on triage as we’ve rushed to keep staff safe, to communicate with and support grantees, to reallocate, shift, and increase funding, and to balance former priorities with new demands of the pandemic. Now, the national, state, and local conversation is shifting to the highly complicated topic of “re-opening.” Funders are beginning to ask themselves: what’s next as we move from triage to transition? Do we consider returning to the workplace and, if so, how and when?

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • May 2020
  • GEOList Members Only

    GEOList Summary: COVID-19 Grantmaking Strategies

    GEO Colleagues, As we continue to provide grant dollars for immediate and critical needs in response to COVID-19 we are beginning to look at “what’s next” for our traditional, competitive grantmaking program. While I recognize every community will have different needs and circumstances, have many of you been able to develop a comprehensive grant strategy to provide long-term relief to nonprofits impacted by COVID-19? If so, would you be willing to share your framework, application, current thoughts, etc.? Wishing you and yours good health --

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • April 2020

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Perspectives on Philanthropy

Interesting thoughts and ideas circulating in the GEO community.

  • The exterior of a foundation building.

    Center for Effective Philanthropy

    The Ripple Effect of Foundation Culture

    "Building the right internal culture at any organization, foundations included, requires proactive attention from the CEO." Read more in this article from Kevin Bolduc, vice president of assessment tools at CEP.

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    Community Wealth Partners

    Internal Culture, External Impact

    Amy Celep, Sara Brenner and Rochel Mosher-Williams share how a change-making culture positions foundations to transformational change.

  • Article Photo

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

    Lead Your Culture.

    In this article, the Gates Foundation shares its perspective on strengthening organizational culture.

Related Topics

Equity

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.

Learn More

Organizational Change

Knowing what works and taking steps to change your work for the better is easier said than done. But real change is possible when our organizations foster innovative and supportive environments where smarter grantmaking practices can thrive.

Learn More
Meghan Duffy

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