Foundations Have Many Tools to Increase Impact

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A foundation’s grants aren’t the only way it helps solves social problems. As Hewlett Foundation President Paul Brest explains in an essay accompanying the Foundation’s newly-released 2010 Annual Report, a host of less remarked upon activities can make the grant go even further.

In his essay, “Beyond the Grant Dollars,” Brest explores other ways that grantmaking organizations like the Hewlett Foundation routinely increase their impact through the activities of their staffs. Citing examples from the Foundation’s own portfolio of grants, he discusses building new fields, collaborating with grantees and others in solving complex social problems, strengthening grantee organizations with the assistance of program officers and outside consultants, and encouraging peer foundations to join as partners in funding issues of common interest.

“The Beyond the Grant Dollars project has two primary objectives,” Brest writes. The first is to “improve the Foundation staff’s and Board’s decisions about the mix of strategies and the allocation of financial and human resources that can best achieve our goals.” The second is to “determine the skills, experience, and other qualities we should look for in new staff members and ways to improve the development of Foundation program staff.”  Read more

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