Funding Performance

Funding Performance Profiles

Shining a Spotlight on Funders Investing in Grantees’ Performance

Funders’ impact is inextricably tied to the performance of their grantees.

The Funding Performance campaign promotes and encourages funders willing to support their grantees’ learning and improvement—and open to learning and improving themselves. We seek to influence funders of all types—from CEOs of multibillion-dollar private foundations to program officers at community foundations to donor families addressing a cause of personal significance—to do even more to help their grantees improve their performance.

The Performance Imperative Kickstarter, “Funding Performance: How Donors Can Do More Good,” sets the groundwork for a steady series of stories, examples, and other relevant material that present positive actions by funders that support and adopt high-performance approaches.

Funding Performance Profiles

Funders are like fingerprints: No two are exactly the same. Yet all funders have one thing in common: They want their grants to make a difference. There’s another common denominator. All funders—small and large, individual and institutional, local and global—come to realize that making a difference is harder than they thought.

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Connecticut Opportunity Project

‘Tell Us What You Need to Succeed’

The Connecticut Opportunity Project provides hands-on support to help nonprofits consistently and sustainably produce positive outcomes for disconnected and disengaged young people. This Leap Ambassadors Community funder profile tells the story of how Barbara Dalio came to believe that supporting nonprofits to become high-performing should be the initiative’s strategy, how portfolio directors balance deep involvement with letting leaders lead, and how grantees experience it all.

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Wouldn’t it be nice if funders had a simple formula to help grantees become high-performance organizations? The Blagrave Trust is helping their grantees make the leap to high performance by combining intellectual rigor (brainpower) with humility and openness with its grantees (heart) and a deep commitment to listening to the young people it aims to serve (ears).

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Profile: Duncan Campbell

Meaning, Purpose, and Joy

Businessman and philanthropist Duncan Campbell founded Friends of the Children some 25 years ago to make a meaningful, measurable difference in the lives of the most at-risk children growing up in difficult circumstances—much like his own.

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Profile: Einhorn Family Charitable Trust

A Better-Angels Funder Practices What It Preaches

Einhorn believes that helping people strengthen their empathy muscles, from the earliest stages of life through adulthood, is critically important for building a healthy, cohesive society capable of solving big challenges.

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In the four years since Impetus-PEF began focusing on high performance, the organization’s leadership, management, and staff have built an enduring commitment to improving their own performance as well as that of their grantees. It’s relatively easy to challenge your grantees to improve their performance. It’s much harder to be introspective about your own.

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Profile: Mulago Foundation

Blunt Talk, Sharp Thinking

The story of the Mulago Foundation’s transition from arm’s-length checkwriter to a changemaker whose grantees praise how it supports their ability to perform at a high level is relevant for any foundation leader who is eager for impact.

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Profile: Raikes Foundation

Growth Mindset

Raikes Foundation co-founders Jeff Raikes and Tricia Raikes apply a growth mindset to all of their work, whether it’s supporting their grantees, increasing equity, or strengthening philanthropy as a whole.

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Profile: Rose Letwin & Wilburforce Foundation

Ecosystems Thinker

Wilburforce’s Funding Performance formula sounds simple: Invest in organizational muscle. Invest for the long term. Invest in leaders. But there is nothing simple about the work Rose Letwin and her team have done and their approach to ecosystem conservation has led to meaningful successes.

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Profile: Venture Philanthropy Partners

Network Effect

Venture Philanthropy Partners was created to find and support organizations that already had a good track record, strong leadership, and big aspirations – all for the benefit of the neediest young people in Greater Washington, DC.

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In the 37 years since Benny Weingart passed away, his foundation has experienced profound transformation – from generous corporate giver to one of the most forward-looking changemakers in America.

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