Organizational change.

What We Care About

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.


grantmakers are going through some type of change or transformation over the next two years.

These are places where everyone — from the board and CEO to staff at every level — feel empowered to play a role in the process. And change is most possible when we bring nonprofits and community partners in to help shape our work. Organizations committed to creating lasting change find ways to prepare everyone to advocate for and adopt changes to practice.

As we fully and intentionally commit ourselves to change in pursuit of smarter grantmaking, we can push philanthropy forward to give nonprofits what they need to grow stronger and achieve more. . If more of us adopt smarter grantmaking practices successfully, we will see faster progress on the complex challenges facing our communities.

The complex issues we are all trying to tackle require us to look holistically at all the interconnections, the assumptions that are driving our decisions and strategies, and how we as foundations are either helping solve or actually exacerbating the problems.

Jennifer Martin, founder and principal, Community Change Group

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

    Cross-post: Two Years into Our Journey - Lessons in listening and humility

    What started out two years ago as a simple “strategic plan refresh” quickly became a completely new direction for Blue Shield of California Foundation in our journey to make California the healthiest state and to end domestic violence. This post, which originally appeared on the Blue Shield of California Foundation's website, reflects on key lessons of listening, equity and humility.

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

    GeoList Summary: Funder Advisory Committees

    Hello, I’m looking to learn from funders that have set up advisory committees composed of external stakeholders – particularly from marginalized communities that the funder seeks to serve – to welcome input on strategy development and/or grant decision making. I’m aware of many of the community-led grantmaking models (see the list below for example, which was sent following a webinar NCRP did in 2017). I’m looking to expand my understanding of the landscape and add examples to a living document that I’m happy to share out. Thank you,

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

    GEOList Summary: Board Coach Recommendations

    Hello Everyone, We're heading in to a new phase with our board and are looking for a coach. We'd like the coach to help them figure out what kind of board they want to be and how they will structure the division of labor and decision making. Have you worked with anyone you would recommend that has experience with family foundations or an expertise in board governance? Thank you!

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • July 2019
  • Perspective

    Relationships Are Our Work: 3 Culture Building Practices to Engage Employees

    To retain employees long-term, we need to create cultures where people feel connected to both their work and their colleagues. We embrace “relationships are our work” as a guiding principle and ground our staff and grantee relationships from this perspective. This post shares three ways that foundations can help build a positive and supportive work environment.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • April 2019
  • Perspective

    Transition as an Opportunity for Transformational Change

    Interim CEO J McCray shares an update on GEO's leadership transition and ongoing work.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • April 2019

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Perspectives on Philanthropy

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Related Topics


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

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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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Akilah Massey


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