How Grantmakers Can Get Involved With Participatory Grantmaking — Today

Imagining a world where 10% of grant dollars are allocated by people outside foundations, not paid staff

Colorful Hands mural. Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Pilot Your Own Participatory Process

The Hewlett Foundation is one of the largest grantmakers in the world, with a $6 billion endowment and a commitment to “effective philanthropy.” In 2018, they piloted a participatory grantmaking panel after artists in their Bay Area backyard expressed concerns about rising rents and gentrification.

Houses in Crown Heights. Photo by Avi Werde on Unsplash

Support Existing Participatory Funds

As Andrea, Saumya and Shaily wrote last week, there are several dozen small participatory funds around the world working on a variety of issues from disability rights to community-building. These funds need to get the money they distribute from somewhere.

Help Build the Field Through Research and Amplification

Of course, not all grantmakers can easily redirect their money, or quickly redesign their processes with the intention that it deserves. One additional option is to build the broader field of participatory grantmaking.

Can the World Be Reprogrammed?

This time last year, it might have been implausible to imagine a world where 10% of grants are made by people outside foundations. But the last several months have shown us just how much reimagination is possible. Dana Kawaoka-Chen, Executive Director of Justice Funders, calls this philanthropy’s “matrix moment” and asks, “Can the world — as it currently is — be reprogrammed?”

Developing new solutions to old problems.