Deciding Together: Shifting Power and Resources Through Participatory Grantmaking

Participatory grantmaking is increasingly visible and of interest to a range of funders, because it revolutionizes traditional structures of philanthropy. Specifically:

  • It redefines who qualifies as a “grantmaker,” and challenges traditional power dynamics, which affect everything from who knows about grant opportunities to who gets those grants.
  • It goes beyond grantmaking to the importance of advancing public and democratic participation in decision making.
  • It strengthens trust and credibility between donors and grantees.

Written by Cynthia Gibson, the guide features voices and examples drawn from a range of participatory grantmakers. Participatory grantmaking models range in geographic scale—from local neighborhoods to global movements—and work across numerous focus areas including disability rights, climate change, and youth opportunity. “This GrantCraft guide highlights practices of many smaller, human rights-focused foundations. We often look to large, well-known foundations for learning, but the grassroots foundations featured in this guide have just as much wisdom to offer, and are particularly intentional about inclusion,” says Jen Bokoff, guide editor and director of stakeholder engagement at Foundation Center.

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Cynthia Gibson