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What We Care About

Flexible, Reliable Funding

When we provide funding that gives nonprofits space to innovate and the security to know our support is here for the long haul, they worry less about their own survival and focus more on responding to shifts in their environment and lifting up their communities.

81 %

of funders report giving some general operating support grants

Flexible, reliable funding, such as general operating support, multiyear grants and funds that cover indirect costs, gives nonprofits the resources to strengthen their organizations, respond to changes in our communities and make real progress.. When we provide funding that gives nonprofits space to innovate and the security to know our support is here for the long haul, they worry less about their own survival and focus more on responding to shifts in their environment and lifting up their communities.

Often, offering flexible, reliable support comes down to really trusting nonprofits. But solving complex issues is hard work — and nonprofits know what they need to reach their goals and support community members. That’s why GEO’s research shows that grantmakers who are more connected to their grantees are more likely to provide the support that nonprofits need to be successful. Making a real difference on some of the most deep-rooted, systemic problems our communities face requires us to give nonprofits the support they need to grow and become stronger for the long-term.

Time is our most precious commodity. There are only so many workable hours in a week. Multiyear support gives a small agency like ours the ability to focus on our programs and what happens for people.

Dave Coplan, executive director, Human Services Center and director, Mon Valley Providers Council

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

    Five Foundations Advance Ways to End the Starvation Cycle

    Five major foundations, all GEO members, have agreed to do more to combat the “starvation cycle” that undercuts the effectiveness of their grantees. They have agreed to test and refine potential solutions, and to reach out to other funders to share what they have learned.

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

    GEOList Summary: Foundation funding for policy advocacy

    Colleagues - I am writing a brief on different models of foundation funding for policy advocacy, on any topic. I'm reaching out with a couple of questions/invitations. I know of many models (and Alliance for Justice resources), but if anyone is particularly proud of your model of funding policy advocacy, I'd love to try to include it (especially use of the specific project grant rule). Second, would anyone be interested in reviewing the draft (about 3000 words) and giving me feedback? Thanks!

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

    GEOList Summary: Consultants for racial equity in investments

    Have you worked with and/or know of sector consultants that advise on racial equity in investment policies? I’m looking to learn about those with experience advising and facilitating discussion for funders, who have knowledge of the landscape of investment management firms.

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

    GEOList Summary: Funding for Operating Foundations

    Can anyone weigh-in on whether your private foundation tends to make grants to operating foundations? If not, why not (e.g., legal barriers, comfort level, etc.)? If you foundation does make grants to operating foundations, what additional information or requirements do you ask the applicant to provide or meet?

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

    GEOList Summary: Model Language and Best Practices for Multi-Year Grant

    We are introducing a multi-year grant for the first time, specifically a three year grant. We would appreciate hearing back as to best-practices for reporting and/or model for language proposing a multi-year grant to a grantee.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • December 2018

Upcoming Events

  • Conferences

    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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Perspectives on Philanthropy

Interesting thoughts and ideas circulating in the GEO community.

  • To break the nonprofit starvation cycle, funders must take the lead.

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    PEAK Grantmaking

    Project Streamline

    Project Streamline focuses on helping grantmakers get the information they need, while reducing the burden of application and reporting practices on nonprofit grantseekers.

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    Philanthropy California

    Full Cost Project

    Created by funders for funders, the Full Cost Project explores what it takes for funders to develop new grantmaking practices based on what it really costs to deliver outcomes.

Related Topics

Capacity Building

Grantmakers who put the work in to provide effective capacity-building support help ensure that nonprofits have what they need to deliver on their missions over the long term.

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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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Margie Obeng, Program Assistant, GEO


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