Meyer Foundation Realigns Grant Process with Equity and Inclusion Values
Aligning practice with values: that idea lead the way as the Meyer Foundation redesigned its grants process to be more equitable and inclusive.
Jane Robinson Ward, grants director at the Meyer Foundation, explained in a recent blog post: "Our CEO Nicky Goren, urged us to get out of our comfort zones toward “blue sky” thinking, framing our work around this question: What would grantmaking look like that embedded racial equity, supported systems change, and increased efficiency for both Meyer and our partners?"
According to Robinson Ward, a year of conversations and tests with grantee partners, researching other foundation practices, staff design sessions, software migrations, and conversations with their board, paved the way to the improved approach to how Meyer makes grants.
Foundations change funding priorities all the time, but many don’t often consider that how they make their grants should also align with their mission and values. A foundation’s approach to grantmaking can create significant barriers to progress in communities. My colleagues at Meyer strive to be approachable and accessible. But we knew we could do more to operate in partnership and solidarity with the organizations doing the work. For all our individual intentions, we’ve operated in a fairly traditional philanthropic model, with outmoded technology, and with timelines that revolved around the Foundation’s internal needs, instead of the needs of the region and our grantee partners. So, priority one in the redesign of our grantmaking process was to engage those with the most at stake — our grantee partners.