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Study Examines What It Takes for Early-Stage Grantmakers to Succeed

April 11, 2019 / Philanthropy News Digest

Positioning early-stage grantmaking organizations for success requires leadership characterized by a willingness to learn, take risks, and work to align expectations and culture among stakeholders, a report from the Center for Effective Philanthropy finds. The report, Greater Good: Lessons from Those Who Have Started Major Grantmaking Organizations (39 pages, PDF), examined what it takes for philanthropies to get up and running effectively, based on interviews with thirty-five trustees, CEOs, and program and operations staff of grantmakers with at least $350 million in assets that were established or saw significant growth in the past twenty years. Funded by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the report found three key elements of success — leadership characterized by humility, courage, and resourcefulness; a shared understanding among donors, board, staff, and grantees about how the organization will approach its work; and an organization with a sense of w...