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Some Lessons from Participatory Grantmaking and Meditations on Power for the Field

July 26, 2022

In 2019, the Fund for Shared Insight, a national funder collaborative seeking to improve philanthropy by promoting high-quality listening and feedback in service of equity, created a participatory process of design, grantmaking, and implementation. The full initiative is still underway, but at this moment, we, Shared Insight's learning and evaluation partner, want to reflect on and share back what we are learning from extant data review, observations of meetings and events, conversations with staff, and data collected at up to three time points from those involved in the participatory processes. While there are many useful lessons to learn about how to do participatory grantmaking and what was learned specifically around issues of climate for people in the regions of focus, one of our unique areas of inquiry was to hear directly from those involved about how they felt about shifts in power through the process. We noticed some divergence in perspectives that we thought worthy of exploration. Given the focus on learning from this work, this report is less a full accounting of all lessons and outcomes and more a deeper look to help the funder collaborative and the field grapple with questions around power based on the lessons from this participatory grantmaking initiative.

MEL Practice at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation: Evaluation in Support of Moving from Good to Great

January 31, 2019

In early 2017, ORS Impact evaluated and re-examined the David and Lucile Packard Foundation monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) principles and practice. The purpose of this evaluation was to discover what works well, identify areas for improvement, and stimulate reflection and experimentation. While this report uncovered many examples of strong MEL practice across the Foundation it also highlighted opportunities for improvement. Research findings fed into Foundation decisions to update both internal and external MEL processes and requirements, including refinement of the Foundation's Guiding Principles for MEL.A key audience of this report include readers wrestling with how to best support MEL in philanthropic settings so that it can support greater learning and impact, such as MEL staff working inside foundations and external evaluators working with foundations.