The grant is only the beginning of the discussion

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation looks forward to expanding its role in the philanthropic community far beyond being simply a provider of grants; working toward being known as a leader in identifying and supporting the most innovative ideas and practices within various program areas.

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That means highlighting not only what’s worked but also what hasn’t.

Like many in the philanthropic community, the Foundation believes even mistakes are valuable, knowledge to be shared, in the process of refinement and growth. In that spirit, the Foundation shares a stream of thought and findings, both internal and external, related to our mission, operations, core program areas, and vision.

Foundation Findings

Grantee Perception Report 2008

Weinberg Foundation Survey Results from the Center for Effective Philanthropy during the summer of 2008, the nationally recognized Center for Effective Philanthropy sent a request to many Weinberg Foundation grantees and grant applicants to participate in a survey about the grant process at the Weinberg Foundation. We were thrilled that 74% of those contacted responded, and in total 188 grantees and grant applicants completed the survey.

Many of the results were very positive: grantees and declined applicants rate the Foundation positively compared to results from similar surveys of other funders. Our grantees rated us above the 75th percentile among all funders whose grantees CEP has surveyed for our impact on their fields and local communities as well as a number of other measures. Like grantees, declined applicants also rated us more positively than typical for our impact on their fields and communities.

pdf Grantee Perception Report - 2008 (pdf)
  • We were also pleased that grantees are more satisfied with the Foundation than is typical. And we were gratified that, compared to a smaller group of large funders that we consider our peers, grantees rated us as having the greatest understanding of their goals and strategies and as having made the most impact on their organizations.
  • However, grantees and applicants also suggested some areas where we have room for improvement.
  • Grantees ask for more interaction with staff at the Foundation. The reports show that a larger than typical proportion of grantees report interacting with their Weinberg Foundation program officer less frequently than they would like. Additionally, we were rated only typically for the quality of our interactions with grantees. We can do better in both these areas – we’re not satisfied with typical ratings.
  • Many grantees and declined applicants also suggested that we should consider ways to streamline and simplify the Foundation’s requirements during the selection process and reporting and evaluation processes. We realize the new grant review process put into place in 2005 has meant change for grant applicants, and we will always look for ways to shorten the process that does not compromise the quality and depth of the grant review.

To address these issues, we’ve begun thinking about ways we can be more effective in each of these areas. Some changes will happen quickly. A few examples of changes we are making in response to your feedback include:

  • A new “Request for Full Grant Application” package will be sent to each grant applicant following the approval of the Letter of Inquiry. This package will have a detailed cover letter explaining the process, and attachments including a full grant application, frequently asked questions and answers, a typical grant timeline, and a profile on the Program Director assigned to the grant. We hope this information will be helpful and informative to each grant applicant.
  • The Program Staff will be in closer touch with grantees. As an example, when a full grant application is requested, not only will the applicant receive the package (just described above) in the mail, they will also receive a phone call from the program officer assigned to their grant.
  • The Foundation will notify grantees upon receipt of annual evaluations so that the grantees know who is reviewing the evaluation and what follow up questions we have, if any.

We will continue to review our processes and communications to ensure that all grantees and applicants understand our work and that we fully understand yours. And over time, we will survey the Foundation’s grantee and grant applicants again to measure our results.

 

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