When foundations seek to improve and assess the impact of their work (and not all foundations do), questions abound. Some look inward, asking: Does our portfolio of grants support our strategy and intended organizational outcomes? Are we moving the needle? Is our work still relevant in a constantly changing world? Others grapple with the approach: Should we focus on learning or evaluation?
All of these questions are important to the ongoing work of any foundation. But taken alone, they often miss an essential element: the grantees.
Over the years, the Surdna Foundation has developed a culture of learning in service of grantees that has been guided by three fundamental questions:What can we do, beyond giving grants, to help partners solve societal problems? How can we learn with and in service of grantees to accelerate racial justice? How can we remove barriers and inefficiencies to our processes? We believe these questions will lead us to better results in the long run. For us, the journey is as important as the destination.