Members discuss smarter grantmaking practices.

What We Care About


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.

GEO has made a commitment to focus on racial equity in grantmaking with the intention of including other dimensions, such as ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation and disabilities as we move further along in this work.

The ultimate goal of grantmaking is to help nonprofits grow stronger to make faster progress on complex issues within our communities. To achieve our vision for individuals and communities, grantmakers must work to address the historic, emerging, dynamic and collective forces at work to suppress racial justice. We as grantmakers inherently do our work from a position of privilege. Actively working to responsibly use our position of privilege to address inequity is the bedrock of effective grantmaking.

We can all find more ways to close the gap between our aspirations and our daily actions. To that end, GEO is creating spaces for these conversations, highlighting resources and stories from those who are already making great strides, and incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion into all aspects of our work.

As a predominantly white organization working in a predominantly white field, GEO has made a commitment to learning and improving internally to better support our members and the field. Steps taken so far include all-staff participation in ABFE’s Responsive Philanthropy in Black Communities training, establishing an internal vision and goals for our organization, the formation of an internal working group to guide and support our work, hiring a senior advisor on racial equity to bring additional capacity and expertise, and prioritizing relationship building with colleague organizations who have long been providing leadership on racial equity for the field of philanthropy.

You don’t do equity, you be equity, and at every moment you have an opportunity to choose equity.

Raquel Gutierrez, director, strategic learning and practice, Vitalyst Health 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

    Investing in Collaborative Systems Change in Turbulent Times

    Philanthropic funders have a unique role to play when leading in complexity and uncertainty. The role of funders – and others in a community working together to tackle intractable problems during turbulent times – were top of mind for attendees at the 2017 Collective Impact Convening in Boston at the end of May.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • August 2017
  • GEOList Members Only

    GEOList Summary: Engaging Full Staff/Board on Diversity Equity Inclusion

    Northwest Area Foundation is entering into a new phase of being more intentional around diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI). I’m working with an internal team and we’ve developed goals, purpose, an initial work plan, and are capturing our current DEI practices, but right now what I’m seeking is “lessons learned” around engaging full staff and the board on a DEI effort. How did you think strategically about what input, when and why? I’d also love to see other examples of DEI “work plans” out there and if you have any dos/don’ts around org-wide assessments.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • July 2017
  • Event Materials Members Only

    The Learning Conference 2017 Discussion Guide: Listening to Communities for Transformational Change

    At GEO’s Learning Conference 2017, Rami Nashashibi, the executive director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), discussed how funders can engage with American Muslim identity, community activism and social justice issues for effective and truly transformative grantmaking.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • July 2017
  • Event Materials Members Only

    The Learning Conference 2017 Discussion Guide: Who Do You Think We Are?

    At GEO’s Learning Conference 2017, Trabian Shorters of the BMe Community discussed how negative portrayals of black men and African American communities affect the ways we interact with communities. And Trabian outlined how “asset-framing” and changing the way we think and talk about certain communities can be used to combat bias, shift perspective and inspire constructive action.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • July 2017
  • Event Materials Members Only

    The Learning Conference 2017 Discussion Guide: Learning and Equity Plenary

    Grantmakers committed to equity know that it must be incorporated into every facet of their work, including learning and evaluation. This session showcases different perspectives on this topic.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • July 2017

Upcoming Events

  • Conferences

    2018 National Conference

    The 2018 National Conference will provide participants with the information, connections and experiences to continue improving and pursuing smarter grantmaking practices that positively impact nonprofit effectiveness.

    • April 2018
  • Member Calls Members Only

    What makes a good intermediary body?

    Intermediaries have served a vital function in supporting social change work. Yet many questions are emerging as to what innovative role intermediaries can play in this current political, economic and philanthropic climate.

    • September 2017

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

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

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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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