Philanthropic Program Design

Serving as a grantmaker in the community is a privilege and yet it comes with a tremendous amount of pressure. Public perception is that foundations have unlimited dollars but, more often than not, there are restrictions due to internal policies, agendas and desired outcomes. In addition, foundations are often inundated with contradictory data and information, thus making is difficult to determine how best to tackle a social issue (or issues).

Whether you are launching a new fund or a new foundation, there are many factors to ensuring that you achieve the impact and outcomes you are seeking to make. This includes understanding what motivated the philanthropic action in the first place, the long-term vision, what is needed to sustain it, and how others can be inspired to participate — either by supporting your efforts or submitting a proposal.  

An example of our past work:


  • An award-winning company with a long history of giving back to the community decided to launch its own foundation
  • Due to a lack of clarity around what the foundation was trying to accomplish, the initial Request for Proposals (RFP) distributed by the new foundation yielded many proposals that were not a good fit 



  • Discussions with company leadership helped define and narrow the foundation’s grantmaking focus
  • Parameters and guidelines were established to help the proposal review committee make decisions about which organizations to award grants
  • Internal processes were established to review proposals, conduct site visits, and evaluate whether the new foundation is meeting its overall intent




  • A revised RFP was distributed and the majority of proposals received aligned with the intent of the foundation
  • Grants were awarded that aligned with the impact that the foundation was seeking to make
  • Internal processes were developed to respond to reports from grantees and understand the overall impact of their work