Are the Days of Program Officer Selected & Trustee Approved Philanthropy Over?

Wunderkind Peter Deitz, of GrantBook (and other successful social innovation ventures), recently wrote a great blog post outlining some philanthropic trends that warrant attention, even though, he admits, “the philanthropic sector embraces new approaches and solutions at the speed of a three-toed sloth.”

Topping the list of the innovations he says are worth tracking, is participatory philanthropy, including participatory grantmaking.  Some of us who’ve been working in the participatory domain — not just in philanthropy, but also in community organizing and deliberative democracy — for a long time couldn’t agree more. Look around: across sectors—in the U.S. and globally–there’s growing public demand for more accountability, transparency, and collaboration. Within the social sector, more and more conversations are taking place around equity, community-engagement, and inclusive processes.

The Human Rights Funders Network’s conferences that featured panels on participatory grantmaking, for example, have drawn standing-room-only crowds, and more will be added in its 2018 meeting in Mexico City. Members of this network and its European counterpart were part of a working group to inform a soon-to-be-released Grant Craft on participatory grantmaking.  In the U.S., the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy  hosted a webinar on participatory grant making. And the Ford Foundation commissioned a monograph that includes a model for participatory philanthropic practice culled from those that other fields have used for decades (See below. Also see also a blog post that Chris Cardona from Ford and I did for the Chronicle of Philanthropy:Giving Outsiders More Power Can Help Grant Makers Solve Problems.”)

Participatory Grantmaking: Baseline Model


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