Why Listening for Good is Important to Women in Philanthropy

I’ve covered the Fund for Shared Insight before, and I want to call attention to this new announcement, since it’s a great example of how philanthropy is evolving into a more democratic creature — by becoming more aware of what does and does not work in funding strategies.

Many women’s funds and foundations were early believers in incorporating grantee feedback into the grantmaking process. Women’s funds and foundations were also some of the first to bring grantees onto foundation boards to help inform the decision-making process. Some research suggests that women have a leadership edge with their listening and relational skills.  Whether that’s true or not, women leaders in philanthropy can and should engage in active listening to create more effective strategies.

Now, Shared Insight has issued a national, open request for proposals for nominated nonprofits to participate in Listen for Good — Shared Insight’s signature initiative which helps funders and nonprofits advance high-quality feedback loops.

Also in the good news department, there are five new funders joining the network of partners: the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and Omidyar Network. This brings the total for funding partners of Shared Insight to 39.

From the press release:

 

‘Listen for Good’ Open Request for Proposals Released; Five New Funders Announced

Listen for Good 2017 Request for Proposals Posted

Shared Insight is excited to announce that it is offering up to 75 Listen for Good (L4G) grants in 2017.

The goal of L4G is to help nonprofit organizations—across issue areas, populations served, geographies and budget levels—build the practice of high-quality feedback loops with those they serve. The L4G methodology is simple, yet systematic and rigorous. In order to engage more funders in supporting beneficiary feedback efforts and using the data to inform their work, L4G is structured as a co-funding opportunity.

To participate in L4G, a nonprofit must be nominated by a current funder (existing or new). If the nonprofit(s) a funder nominates is selected to participate, the nominating funder will contribute $15,000 of the $45,000 grant total for each nonprofit selected. Grantees will receive a grant of $45,000 over two years: $30,000 paid the first year and $15,000 the second year. Shared Insight will accept proposals from funder-nominated nonprofits through May 26, 2017.

For funders to learn more about how to nominate a grantee, click here. For nonprofits to learn more about how to apply for a L4G grant, click here. 

In addition, Shared Insight will hold two informational webinars for potential nominating funders:
New Core Funders Join Fund for Shared Insight 

Since July 2014, Shared Insight core funders have pooled financial and other resources to make grants to improve philanthropy. The initiative is delighted to announce four new core funders have joined this collaborative effort: the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation.
  •          “The Einhorn Family Charitable Trust is thrilled to join Fund for Shared Insight and contribute to this vital work to improve philanthropic effectiveness,” says Jennifer Hoos Rothberg, Einhorn’s executive director. “Our relationship-based approach to philanthropy—when done well—is one of the chief factors in helping our partner grantees achieve impact, and we’re thrilled to work in partnership with such a talented group of colleagues from foundations we have long admired to help support and advance the field in this way.”
  •          Don Howard, president and CEO of Irvine adds: “We are big believers in Fund for Shared Insight’s goal of improving services and impact by listening. We’re especially interested in advancing funders' abilities to listen to the people we seek to support, and using that information to guide our decisions.” He continues, “Joining Fund for Shared Insight is a great opportunity for Irvine to partner with like-minded funders that are experimenting with incorporating community-level input into our work and the work of our grantees. We look forward to being part of these efforts and to sharing what we learn.” 
  •          “As a leader in philanthropic innovation for over a century, The Rockefeller Foundation is excited to become a core member of Fund for Shared Insight and further our ongoing commitment to strengthening both our own practices and the field of philanthropy writ large,” says Dr. Rajiv Shah, Rockefeller’s president. “Today, institutions like ours are more rigorous, analytical, and results-oriented than ever before, but there is still much we can learn—not only from each other, but also from researching and experimenting with new approaches. The more ways we can listen to and understand the perspectives of the people we seek to serve, the more effective our efforts will be.”
The original core funders of Shared Insight are the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, The JPB Foundation, Liquidnet, the Rita Allen Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Omidyar Network Supports Shared Insight

Shared Insight is also delighted to welcome the Omidyar Network as its newest funding partner, supporting its efforts to improve philanthropy through a one-year grant. With this latest additional funder, there are now 39 funding organizations participating in Shared Insight either as core funders, additional funders, or Listen for Good co-funders. 

For more information on how to get involved, please contact Melinda Tuan, managing director, at melinda@fundforsharedinsight.org.





Many in philanthropy, including top women leaders like Helen LaKelly Hunt and Gloria Steinem, talk frequently about the importance of listening to those who we seek to help. Listen for Good (L4G) is an initiative that invites nonprofits and funders to “join us in exploring a simple but systematic and rigorous way of getting feedback from the people at the heart of our work.” In 2016, L4G made 46 grants supported by 28 nominating co-funders.

 

Kiersten Marek

Author: Kiersten Marek

Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work in Cranston, Rhode Island, and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.