GMN2017-Block D Sessions

Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 11:15am-12:30pm



Collaborating Smarter: Human-Centered Design Thinking

LEARNING TRACK: Effective Practices
LEVEL: Intermediate
#GMN2017 #humandesign #smartcollab


  • Jen Bokoff, Director of Knowledge Services, Foundation Center

This session will explore how to approach problems and their potential solutions through a thoughtful process. Participants will learn how using human-centered design thinking allows for focus on action, support systems, and processes for innovation, as well as learn to use design thinking in a variety of settings. Participants in this interactive session will focus on strengthening collaboration with colleagues, peers, grantees, and other stakeholders using design thinking.

Participants will

  • Process information about collaboration using the Rose-Thorn-Bud Technique
  • Participate in a rapid idea generation exercise that can replace traditional brainstorming
  • Learn how a concept poster can be an important tool in a participatory process

Getting Upstream: How Grants Management Can Grow Its Influence

LEARNING TRACK: Effective Practices
LEVEL: Intermediate
#GMN2017 #GMupstream


  • Jessica Bearman, Principal, Bearman Consulting
  • Marcus McGrew, Director of Program Operations and Information Management, The Kresge Foundation

The work of grants management professionals has become increasingly vital as funders seek to grow the impact of philanthropic investments, increase transparency, and ensure that internal processes are efficient and effective. Grants managers are embracing new roles as process specialists, data analysts, relationship experts, troubleshooters, and quality control officers. Many serve on the front lines of organizational learning and strategy. While some of this shift reflects technological advances or goes along with broad organizational changes precipitated by the CEO, grants management can also catalyze changes and take advantage of inflection points to gain more influence. In this session, we’ll discuss promising structures and behaviors, and explore the expanded role for grants management in your own setting.

No Longer Arbitrary: Using Data to Drive Policy Decisions

LEARNING TRACK: Data Intelligence
LEVEL: General
#GMN2017 #GMdatapolicy


  • Jonathan Goldberg, Director of Learning and Grant Operations, Surdna Foundation
  • Suki O’Kane, Director of Administration, Walter and Elise Haas Fund

Many foundations are beginning to use grantmaking (and other) data to drive their internal policy decisions. Grants managers are at the forefront of collecting, interpreting, and presenting such data to help generate buy-in for changes at the staff and/or board levels. This is to ensure that all policies are backed by data rather than inertia or arbitrary decisions. Examples can include changes to delegated grant approvals/amounts, letter of inquiry processes, demographic data collection, and more.

Participants will

  • Learn how to fully examine how foundations selected their data
  • Learn how organizations filter and present their data
  • Understand how data helps support foundation-wide learning
  • Become empowered to be a key partner in strategic planning

Packing Up and Moving On(line): How to Select and Successfully Implement the Right One for Your Grantmaking Organization

LEARNING TRACK: Compliance | Data Intelligence | Effective Practices | Hot Topics | Skill Building | Technology
LEVEL: General
#GMN2017 #GMonline


  • Martin Schneiderman, CEO, Information Age Associates

More foundations report that they are migrating their information systems than ever before. Systems integration and moving to the cloud is now enabling grantmakers to streamline their operations, conduct due diligence, link securely to internal and external systems, see trends, and present information graphically to facilitate decision-making. But for many, it also represents a major challenge. In this session, we’ll give real world examples of some of the best ways to gather information, make these important decisions, and manage such complex projects. We’ll also identify key features and limitations of new systems, including lessons that grantmakers and IT staff have learned along the way.

Participants will

  • Learn the most important things to carefully consider for well-informed selection and implementation of your foundation’s next generation grants management system
  • Learn the most commonly reported problems that foundations encounter when migrating data and configuring a new integrated foundation information system
  • Discover effective strategies to prevent and mitigate system migration and configuration problems

Pennies for Progress: A Decade of Boom for Philanthropy, A Bust for Social Justice

LEARNING TRACK: Effective Practices | Hot Topics
LEVEL: General
#GMN2017 #philanthropy #socialjustice


  • Hanh Cao Yu, Chief Learning Officer, The California Endowment
  • Roxana Tynan, Executive Director, LAANE
  • Ryan Schlegel, Senior Research and Policy Associate, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

Which funders are leading the pack in giving to empower movements for social justice? Have the last 10 years seen any change in foundation giving as general support? How do corporate foundations measure up to their independent and community peers? These questions and more will be answered in this session on the most recent edition of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy’s (NCRP) popular series of reports, The Philanthropic Landscape. The retrospective includes an analysis of 10 years’ worth of new data from the Foundation Center on giving for social justice and underserved communities from 2003-2013. Presenters will illuminate the trends and impact of funding for advocacy, organizing, and civic engagement, as well as share reactions to the insights into their systems change work and positive outcomes from the past decade.

Participants will

  • Understand trends on funding for social justice and underserved communities originating from independent, corporate, and community foundations
  • Hear examples of foundation best practices in giving for social justice and underserved communities in light of these data
  • Understand the importance of advocacy, organizing, and civic engagement for nonprofit partners in light of the current policy environment

Red Flags – Donor Advised Funds Grantmaking

LEARNING TRACK: Compliance | Effective Practices | Hot Topics | Skill Building
LEVEL: Intermediate
#GMN2017 #DAFgrantmaking


  • Leslie Snyder, Grants and Gifts Administrator, Community Foundation for Southern Arizona
  • Liza Lagunoff, Director of Grants Budgeting & Management, The New York Community Trust

Why do grants managers matter? With increasing scrutiny on the field from the media, lawmakers, and savvy donors, grants managers not only have to keep donors happy but also keep abreast of changing rules. The New York Community Trust has more than 80 years of experience with donor advised grantmaking to share. Session topics will include minimum payout requirements, pledges and personal liability, grants to attend parties, giving checks to donors to give out, split gifts, grants to individuals (scholarships, fellowships, and prizes), and grants to supporting organizations.

Participants will

  • Learn how to say no while also maintaining good relationships with donors
  • Discover the value added for donors from an in-depth due diligence process
  • Learn the important role grants managers play in the grantmaking process
  • Participate in an open discussion of how to responsibly manage donor advised funds in a changing landscape

The Role of Grants Managers in Putting Culture into Practice

LEARNING TRACK: Effective Practices | Hot Topics | Skill Building
LEVEL: General
#GMN2017 #GMculture


  • Amy Shields, Program Manager, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
  • Ify Mora, Director of Operations, Barr Foundation
  • Nichole Hoeflich, Program Specialist, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations

A productive foundation culture supports nonprofit success and requires intentionality and constant tending. Though everyone helps shape culture, grants managers play a cross-cutting role in their organizations and are uniquely positioned to identify how their organizational culture is aligned (or not) with its values. Explore how grants managers can shape culture, and learn how doing so increases organizational effectiveness and the success of our grantees.

Participants will

  • Gain an understanding of how a productive foundation culture can support better results for grantmakers and nonprofits alike
  • Learn about key moments when grants managers have an opportunity to proactively shape organizational culture in a positive way
  • Hear from peers about specific ways grants managers have influenced their organization’s culture

PARTNER SPONSORED SESSION: WizeHive: Overcoming Software Overload: A Glimpse into the Future of Grantmaking

LEARNING TRACK: Partner Sponsored Session | Technology
LEVEL: Intermediate
#GMN2017 #softwareoverload @wizehive


  • Natalie Hirsch, Director of Product Management, WizeHive
  • Anthony Putignano, CTO, WizeHive

First came pen and paper. Then as we entered the digital age, we moved to PDF applications and spreadsheets. Finally came a level of efficiency previously unrivaled – a “management system” for every conceivable need. Somewhere along the way, grants managers began conforming to the limitations of these systems, making many compromises.

We envision a near future with far fewer compromises – one where modern software systems can communicate with each other, integrate in new and exciting ways, and provide customization capabilities that work for you, not against you.

Participants will:

  • Be briefed on the results of a survey revealing the most popular software solutions used across many foundations
  • Learn about present-day tools and strategies you can use to better integrate and customize that software to work for you
  • Explore key insights on the future of grantmaking software