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PEAK Grantmaking

Putting Project Budgets to Work for Grantees

Organization Members Only

Throughout the global crises of the past year, the calls to action for foundations to make multi-year, general operating support grants have escalated. Many grantmakers may support such efforts to provide nonprofit organizations with flexibility and maintain the ability to increase their operational capacity so they can stay resilient in the face of disruption. But for many funders, providing general operating support does not work for much of their grantmaking. Among other reasons, funders with strongly defined strategies often support grantees whose entire mission and programs don’t align with their foundations, making general support a challenge. Project grants remain the primary tool funders use.

Is it possible to marry the intention of grantee resilience with a project grantmaking approach? This panel discussion will introduce grants management professionals to the idea of a spectrum of support for project grants that bridges the financial sustainability gap between general operating support and project grants. This spectrum is based on a body of research generated from a collaborative of foundations that have explored various strategies to ensure that grantee partners cover the essential costs to operate their programs.

Topics of conversation will include:

  • Case studies in raising indirect rates
  • The introduction of a budget template to help grantee partners fully calculate their true indirect cost rate
  • New approaches to structuring project grants that enable grantees to deliver on the goals of the project, while building their financial sustainability
  • Gathering feedback on what would be needed to implement these practices at scale


Allison Gister
Director, Grants & Knowledge Management
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Valerie Chang
MacArthur Foundation

Mimi Turi
Senior Director, Program Financial Management
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Jim Gallagher
Director, Grants Management
Ford Foundation

John Summers