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Should I Stay or Should I Go? Exit Strategies for Foundations

This editorial blog introduces a special issue of The Foundation Review on Exit Strategies. Foundations of various sizes and geographic foci share what they have learned about exiting with grace and impact.  





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Better Together: Realizing the Promise of Collaboration in Family Philanthropy

Unique challenges arise, and unique opportunities open up, when family donors get involved in collaborative work in philanthropy. This report explores those special challenges and opportunities, and offers a set of recommendations for how to realize the promise of working better together. The insights here are based primarily on in-depth dialogues about family philanthropy collaboration that occurred during the third National Summit on Family Philanthropy, held in New York City in June, 2015, and hosted by the Dorothy A. Johnson Center on Philanthropy.





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11 Philanthropic Trends for 2017

The Johnson Center’s applied approach to research, thought leadership, tools, training, data, and analysis reaches across nonprofits, foundations, and the volunteers and staff who lead and support these institutions.  Our leadership is committed to providing trusted guidance for doing good and requires that we remain aware of our contexts and understand how that will influence our sector. To help explore and understand the trends and challenges that inform our work, we are providing brief descriptions of trends we see as both forming and challenging the work of philanthropy.





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CMF/JCP Grantmaking Series

For the second year in a row, the Council of Michigan Foundations is pleased to partner with the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy to offer the Grantmaking Series, a practitioner-led learning series that teaches the techniques of effective grantmaking to both new and seasoned foundation professionals. The sessions are highly practical, academically rigorous, and designed to be as accessible and affordable as possible. Participants who complete the series will receive a Certificate of Completion. This year, we will offer five live and five on-demand webinars (1.5 hours each). To qualify for the Certificate of Completion, participants of the 2015 Grantmaking Series Read more





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The Future of Jewish Giving

Jewish funders have, over many generations, built a Jewish nonprofit infrastructure that is considered a model across the United States and beyond. Will this infrastructure be sustained in the coming decades? Research has shown that Jews in the next generation are becoming less interested in formal religious practice and are distancing themselves from Israel. What does this mean for Jewish philanthropy? Will the next generation, which is more interested in informal experiences of Jewishness, continue to fund Jewish life? How does coming of age in an American society largely free of barriers to inclusion influence interests and involvements? We know Read more





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Valuing Social Return on Investment

This report seeks to identify and describe state-of-the-art approaches to valuing social returns on social investments (SROI), to review the organizational challenges to implementing an SROI measurement process, and to examine in detail organizations in the Netherlands and the United States that have attempted to use SROI measurements. The focus of each piece of the project was SROI methods and valuation in the health care field, specifically. In the conclusion, the report distills some best practices and practical tips for conducting SROI measurements.





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The Future of Family Philanthropy – Predicting and Preparing

Based on the candid peer conversations and insights from thought leaders that were offered during two “National Summits” on family philanthropy, this brief envisions the changes in the field, and suggests ways to adapt family giving for a better future– a future of new families, new generations, new kinds of relationships, and new methods for creating change.





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Next Gen Donors Report

The Next Gen Donors research project is a collaboration of 21/64 and the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy. Conducted in 2012, this report is based on first-of-its kind data, listening to members of the next generations of major donors, ages 21 to 40, in their own voices. A national online survey (310 total responses) and in-depth interviews (30 total) have revealed four key findings, outlined in the key findings area of this website.  





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The Grantmaking School: Strategy Development in Grantmaking

Strategy Development in Grantmaking is an intensive two-day learning experience designed to help individual grantmakers and their foundations develop or refine a strategic lens to grantmaking and leverage improved program results for deeper impact. By defining strategic philanthropy and reviewing models and tools for strategy development and implementation, resources will be provided to guide and inform your foundation strategy. You and your colleagues will move through a series of individual and group activities and discussions, allowing for both interactive and personal reflection throughout the session. Key concepts include: Understanding what strategy means  within a foundation’s culture and how it applies Read more





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The Grantmaking School: Financial Analysis in Grantmaking

As a part of routine due diligence, many grantmaking organizations conduct a financial review after the programmatic review. We strongly believe only the assigned program officer has the ability to understand fully the context, implications and impact of financial issues upon the success of any grant. Our intent is to provide grantmakers with the necessary knowledge and skills to conduct a comprehensive and effective analysis of organizational and programmatic financial information to improve funding decisions.





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The Grantmaking School: Evaluation for Grantmakers

Whether formally or informally, evaluation has been an integral part of foundation work since the early twentieth century. Comprehensive programmatic evaluation helps foundations determine whether funding practices produce intended results, disseminates learning for broader impact, and provides measured context for future work. Evaluation itself is a relatively simple process; however, depending on an organization’s culture, philosophies, and capacity, it can escalate in complexity. The Grantmaking School’s Evaluation for Grantmakers does not simply provide a step-by-step guide to the best practices of evaluation; rather, it deeply examines the history, strategy, design, and theory behind the process and responds to the diverse Read more





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The Grantmaking School: Customized Grantmaker Education

The Grantmaking School created Customized Grantmaker Education to respond to the needs of individual foundations that seek to create a specific culture of grantmaker practice with appropriate knowledge and skills to meet their individual strategies and goals. MORE We utilize select components of our state of the art grantmaker education curricula, foundation specific information, and the expertise of our highly experienced instructors to create a powerful and relevant professional development program that is second to none. Customized Grantmaker Education removes the limitations of time, place, and standardized courses to respond directly to the individualized needs of foundation learning and skill Read more





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The Grantmaking School: Advanced Proposal Analysis

The Grantmaking School recognizes that for most grantmakers, working with applicants and proposals is the bread-and-butter of their career and how they spend much of their time. In response, Advanced Proposal Analysis intentionally focuses on the essential skills of proposal review, recommendations, project management, and other core competency areas. We strongly believe that mastering this work is the key to excellence in grantmaking. Key concepts include: Assessing proposals more efficiently, Spotting financial red flags, Finding and closing any gaps in your due diligence process, Using specialty grants within your organization’s mission, Assuring transparent and ethical behavior, Grantee relationship management, and Read more