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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

Strategic decision-making in philanthropic giving and social investment requires good information about the potential and actual social benefits and impacts of that investment. But this information about social impact is hard to find and to generate. Methods for valuing social benefits are complicated, haphazard, and often unknown to most social investors and organizational leaders. This relative absence of standardized legitimized ways to document the social impact of philanthropic giving and social investments means that the complete, complex value of this work in advancing the public good is underappreciated. One way to meet this need for more information and valuation methods Read more





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The Future of Family Philanthropy – Predicting and Preparing

The future of family philanthropy is an uncertain one, with dramatic changes taking place both in families and in philanthropy itself. But along with the uncertainty comes possibility and excitement; along with future challenges there are energized new donors and emerging innovations that could improve family giving in ways few would have predicted just a few years ago. 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 Read more





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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. The next generations of major philanthropists, who fit into “Gen X” (born 1964-1980) or “Gen Y/Millennial” (born 1981-2000) generational cohorts, will wield more philanthropic power than any previous generation. With an unprecedented amount of wealth, these donors hold the future of philanthropy in their hands, yet, until now, there has been little previous research on the powerful but very private group of young people who stand to become the major donors of the future Conducted in 2012, this report is based on first-of-its Read more





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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: Grant Financial Analysis

This course does not attempt to transform program officers into financial professionals. Instead, 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. Key concepts include: Creating a culture of comprehensive grant analysis, The relationship of financial condition to effective grantmaking, Fundamentals of grant financial review and analysis, Connecting grant budgets to funded program activities, The role of organizational capacity in producing program results, and Financial accountability in the post-grant process.





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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