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Grantmaker Skills & Strategies

The Gateway Center's Grantmaking Skills & Strategies program track seeks to provide GCG Members with tools and information to help structure and manage effective charitable giving and service delivery programs. In addition to identifying local resources, the Gateway Center draws upon national organizations to confirm best practices and provide training. (Open to All Full Members Grantmakers and Non-Member Grantmakers)

Recent Programs

September 13, 2017
Grantmaking Gone Awry: A Funder Fail Fest
Sponsored by United Philanthropy Forum
Filament Founder & CEO Matt Homann led a workshop during which attendees reconsidered what failure means within grantmaking. Participants learned how to start building a culture of permission in their grantmaking organizations, debrief significant projects with a process that captures both the good and bad in a blame-free environment, and reflect on the grantmaking lessons they have learned "the hard way" so that their funding peers would not make the same mistakes.

September 7, 2017
Helping Your Grantees Pursue High Performance
Sponsored and hosted by the United Way of Greater St. Louis
Nationally-recognized entrepreneur, funder, technologist, and business leader Mario Morino, author of Leap of Reason: Managing to Outcomes in an Era of Scarcity, discussed his commitment to fostering high-performing organizations. Leap Ambassadors Community Advisor Margot Rogers shared The Performance Imperative, a framework for funding high performance, and provided examples of how organizations are using the tool.

April 20, 2017
Policy 101: Achieving Your Mission Through Policy & Advocacy Work
Sponsored and hosted by the Missouri Foundation for Health
Workshop that featured Erin Skene-Pratt of Skene-Pratt Consulting, who provided attendees with an overview of the rationale and guidelines for funders engaging in policy work. Ryan Barker of Missouri Foundation for Health and Matt Oldani of Deaconess Foundation provided peer funder perspectives about their experiences as grantmakers engaging in policy.

October 20, 2016
Northside Funders Group: Catalyzing Comprehensive, Sustainable Change 
Sponsored by the St. Louis Mental Health Board; Hosted by the Missouri Foundation for Health
A continuation of our program series on funder collaboration that features the Northside Funders Group (NFG), a place-based funding collaborative of 19 corporate, private, and public funders working to reduce economic and educational disparities in North Minneapolis, Minnesota. Guest speakers were NFG’s Tawanna Black (Executive Director) and Lisa Keske (Chief of Staff), who provided an overview of the operations and governance of the NFG, a peer funder perspective from a former NFG grantmaker, and a framework for regional funders interested in forming a place-based collaborative.

August 25, 2016
Funder Workshop: Nonprofit Capacity Building 
Sponsored and hosted by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, MO
Half-day workshop for funders during which Emily Wexler, Senior Manager at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO), and Allie Chang Ray, Vice President of Programs at Deaconess Foundation and Capacity Building Champion and Mentor for GEO, explored why nonprofit capacity building matters, discussed different investment approaches to capacity building, and assessed the impact of capacity building partnerships.

April 26, 2016
Grantmaking 101: How Understanding a 990 & Audited Financial Statement Informs Grantmaking
Back by popular demand, guest speakers Amy Altholz of RubinBrown and Jama Dodson of the Saint Louis Mental Health Board guided attendees through the highlights of how to read both a 990 and an audited financial statement. Participants had time to pose questions to demystify the process of incorporating nonprofits' financial information into grantmaking decisions.

February 25, 2016 
Funder Collaboration Workshop: Organizational Leadership: Building Internal Capacity to Collaborate

Sponsored by the Funder Collaboration Peer Learning Team
As part of a series of programs aimed to foster peer learning about funder collaboration, this session highlighted methods to institutionalize collaborative work within grantmaking organizations. Attendees heard from peers about their journey to collaboration readiness and the successes they have had.  Participants completed a readiness assessment before the workshop in order to customize the workshop content.

October 27, 2015 
Impact Investing Workshop

Sponsored by YouthBridge Community Foundation, US Bank Community Development Corp., IFF and the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Guest speaker: Tony Wells of the Tony Wells Foundation provided Members with a customized workshop on impact investing for regional funders. The Wells Foundation is a Columbus-based private family foundation founded in 2001 with a history of investing in social enterprises and developing new social innovation models. In 2013 the Wells Foundation made the decision to align 100% of its assets with its mission when it made all of its endowment assets available to the community through social impact investing. Foundation President Tony Wells is a highly successful entrepreneur and a seasoned lecturer.
Learning Objectives:
  • WHAT is social impact investing (terms and concepts); and
  • HOW funders can effectively engage in this emerging field.

September 2, 2015
Funders Learning & Evaluation Discussion Group: Pilot Meeting
Sponsored by the Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis
During this gathering, Gateway Center for Giving Members shared their organization’s current learning and evaluation priorities, strategies and challenges. In addition, attendees identified opportunities, needs and interest in ongoing discussion, learning and collaboration around evaluation and learning in grantmaking.

April 29, 2015 

Grantmaking 101: How Understanding a 990 & Audited Financial Statement Informs Grantmaking
Guest speakers: Amy Altholz, Partner at RubinBrown, and Jama Dodson, Executive Director of the Saint Louis Mental Health Board.
This program guided attendees through the process of reading both a nonprofit’s 990 and audited financial statement when making grantmaking decisions.  
Learning Objectives:
  • An overview of a mechanics of a 990 form and an audited financial statement; and
  • Tactics used by a seasoned grantmaker when analyzing a nonprofit’s financial information. 

September 10, 2014 
General Operating Support as a Strategic Choice

Heather Peeler, Vice President of Member and Partner Engagement at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO), led GCG Members in a discussion of what general operating support (GOS) can make possible, provided context for the importance of GOS, and helped grantmakers explore whether supporting GOS is right for their organizations and the nonprofits they support.

April 2-May 24, 2014

Giving 2.0 MOOC
Created by Doris Buffett's Learning by Giving Foundation in partnership with Northeastern University  
The Gateway Center led a cohort of grantmakers though this free online course that helped foundation staff learn how to identify effective nonprofit organizations and apply course concepts by awarding grants to participant-nominated nonprofits. This course was developed to raise awareness among the general public about effective charitable giving practices.

March 3, 2014
GEO Webinar Viewing: Rethinking How Grantmakers Support Scale  

Webinar viewing during which GCG Members viewed and discussed a live Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) webinar at the Gateway Center for Giving. The webinar featured Kathleen Enright of GEO, Jeff Bradach of The Bridgespan Group and Dan Cardinali of Communities In Schools. The speakers discussed how grantmakers can think, act and invest in different ways to grow nonprofit impact.
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