Trust-Based Philanthropy

The community foundation I work for is starting research regarding the trust based philanthropy model. I am curious if there are other community foundations out there already engaging in this practice. Can you provide a couple of pros and cons regarding your experience? What has been the biggest challenge?



  • KentWeimerKentWeimer
    Voter U.S.A. 25 Likes Photogenic
    edited April 5


    This sounds intriguing.

    One of the books I had to read in the course work to obtain my Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy designation was Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential by Dan Pallotta.

    It addresses some of the issues raised in the the trust based philanthropy model. Here is a brief description.

    Uncharitable goes where no other book on the nonprofit sector has dared to tread. Where other texts suggest ways to optimize performance inside the existing paradigm, Uncharitable suggests that the paradigm itself is the problem and calls into question our fundamental canons about charity.

    It would be worth your while to read this as you do your research.



  • @KentWeimer Thank you for the suggestion! I will definitely look into this book, it sounds very interesting.

  • Thank you, Rand!! I really appreciate you taking the time to share that information with us. I am curious what system you use for your grant application workflow?

  • RandMorganRandMorgan
    World Traveler 25 Likes 25 Awesomes First Answer

    @jessicascites We use Foundant's GLM for our grant processes and currently still use SmarterSelect for scholarships.

  • Lol - that was a silly question here on the Foundant discussion board. :) Thank you, Rand.

  • RandMorganRandMorgan
    World Traveler 25 Likes 25 Awesomes First Answer

    Not a silly question at all. For example, we worked with C-Suite for a couple of years using another grant program before we moved over to their GLM application, and still using another program for scholarships (although we will probably be moving that to Foundant's module within the next year or so).

  • @RandMorgan So how do you move applications through the workflow for the organizations that have sent you a pdf of a request from another funder? Do you fill out the application in GLM for them with the information they have provided?

  • RandMorganRandMorgan
    World Traveler 25 Likes 25 Awesomes First Answer

    @jessicascites Great question, Jessica. I asked our Program Officer, Lauren Weber. Her short answer was that it was a somewhat complicated workaround. She suggested giving her a call, and she would be happy to explain what she did. (If it's okay to post phone numbers here, you can reach her at 970.304.9970).

  • Thank you!! I will give her a call later this week.

  • Thanks for everyone's participation in this conversation! Regarding trust-based philanthropy, folks may be interested in next week's Coffee talk, Grants Coffee Talk: Values-Based Grantmaking – Aligning Organizational Values with Grantmaking Practices. It's not exactly the same, but I imagine there is overlap.

  • Here are a few things that we have done to work on our relationships with our non-profit partners. It is something that we continue to work on. Even small changes make a difference.

    1) Continue make changes to our application so that it is less complicated.

    2) Shorten our impact reports for year end reporting. This is something we continue to work on.

    3) Host funding workshops at the start of our grant cycle. We walk the non-profits through the applications. We point out any major changes, and allow for questions. In previous years, when we hosted in person, it was also a chance for the non-profits to network. This has been a major success and we have received a lot of positive feedback.

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