Redefining Risk: What Creative Grantmaking Means Today

August 1, 2018

In a blog post for the Council on Foundations, our president, Magui Rubalcava Shulman, reflects on the evolution of philanthropy’s support for constituency-led organizations and how funders can redefine risk in grantmaking today.

Magui’s post is a reflection on the Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking, which she was a co-recipient of in 2003.

Read an excerpt from her post below and visit the Council on Foundations site to read the full piece:

“Today, creative grantmaking means changing our understanding of the word “risk.” Traditionally in philanthropy, smaller, newer organizations led by marginalized people are often seen “risky” investments. But what is actually risky is not investing in and trusting constituency-led work. The bold and innovative organizing led by grassroots groups is our communities’ best chance to win dignity and freedom. Supporting the leadership of these organizations and trusting them to decide how to spend resources is not a risk, but the smartest way we can spend our dollars as funders.

By not assuming we know what grantees need, and offering flexible leadership and organizational development support that they can determine how to use, we will truly build their capacity.”