When foundations talk about their work, it is largely the work of their grantees that they describe. Most foundations do not run programs; the non-profits they fund run them. It is certainly true that the work of our grantees is the instrument by which The George Gund Foundation makes an impact on the world. Thus, the relationship between grant seeker and grant maker is vitally important to our effectiveness.
It might, therefore, seem surprising that foundations which routinely assess the organizations they fund rarely seek similar feedback from grantees. Fortunately, this is beginning to change. A nationwide emphasis on accountability and transparency has generated much discussion and some promising new mechanisms. Thanks to the relatively young Center for Effective Philanthropy, one such tool is the Grantee Perception Report (GPR).
The George Gund Foundation is one of a growing list of foundations that has undertaken a GPR as a means of acquiring honest and anonymous feedback from the organizations that are doing the work we want to see done. As part of our newly revamped website, the GPR is now available online. The results are from 2003 and we anticipate going through the same process in 2006. You will be able to read about those results here too.
We have been gratified both by the generally favorable comments our grantees made and also by the usefulness of their input. For instance, the GPR was instrumental in helping us decide to eliminate our Civic Affairs program area and also to completely overhaul our website. We hope — and expect — that our grantees will continue to help us help them do a better job.
David T. Abbott
The George Gund Foundation