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“Funders, heal thyself! Your intentions are noble, but your practices are not. The vast majority of you are starving your grantees rather than nourishing them.”
– Preface, Funding Performance
In an era when our communities are being rocked by a health pandemic, economic upheaval, racial injustice, and political turmoil, the world has never needed more from civil society leaders—and never have these leaders needed more from their funders. Now is the most important moment in our collective lifetimes for funders to dispense with conventional practices that have been shown to undermine grantees and adopt those that have been shown to produce greater impact for grantees, funders, and constituents alike.
The Funding Performance campaign encourages funders to rise to the urgency of this moment. You’ll find no pie-in-the-sky theory in the resources on this page. Instead, you’ll find practical advice about the specific practices that produce outsized progress on urgent issues of our time.
The centerpiece of this campaign is Funding Performance: How Great Donors Invest in Grantee Success (2021), a Jim Collins–style monograph intended to generate positive peer pressure among foundations and individual donors.
The monograph features insightful essays by eight highly respected thinkers and doers: Hilary Pennington, Ford Foundation; Daniel Stid, Hewlett Foundation; Sam Cobbs, Tipping Point Community; Jeff Bradach and Jeri Eckhart Queenan, Bridgespan; Lowell Weiss, Leap Ambassadors support team; Hilda Polanco and Deborah Linnell, FMA. All of these essayists have vantage points that have given them a close-up look at the best and worst practices in our sector. In Funding Performance, they share both—in the hope of turning this moment of crisis into a moment of truth and then a moment of productive pivot.
The essayists and their respective organizations joined forces on this project to begin merging closely related workstreams into a river of advocacy for the following changes in funding practices:
Please read this practical, plain-English guide to what the best funders are already doing to supercharge their grantees, and let us know what you think!
If you’d prefer to read or share individual essays rather than the full monograph, you can do so below.
by Jeri Eckhart Queenan and Jeff Bradach
This document, developed collaboratively by the Leap of Reason Ambassadors Community (LAC), is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivatives 4.0 International License. We encourage and grant permission for the distribution and reproduction of copies of this material in its entirety (with original attribution). Please refer to the Creative Commons link for license terms for unmodified use of LAC documents.