To all who participated in our recent grant partner and peer perception study, thank you! Ethos Leadership conducted the study to help assess our foundation’s current relationships with grant partners and peer funders. We aspired to learn from others how we are doing as a grant funder and to identify ways in which can become better grant partners. In essence, we wanted to know: Are we living out our values of generosity, hospitality, service, and zeal?

This past spring, Ethos Leadership distributed a survey to grant partners from the past four years, which garnered 104 responses. The survey was followed by one-on-one interviews over the summer with 38 grant partners and peers.

We are humbled and grateful for the positive feedback that we received! Our partners see us as collaborative, accessible, and respectful, thus affirming our founding values.

We also identified ways in which we can deepen our relationships. Grant partners expressed interest in making more connections and engaging in more educational opportunities. They would like to meet with others in the region who are undertaking similar work. They are eager to learn more about our funding process and to connect with our staff. As we plan for 2024, we will explore ways to facilitate these connections among our grant partners and to provide new workshops and training opportunities.

Grant partners reported that they appreciate the opportunity to apply for different types of support from SHF, especially project and operating support. Many grant partners also expressed interest in flexible funding, noting how it helps them to be nimble, respond to new challenges and opportunities, and cover critical operating costs. As we continue to refine our grantmaking priorities and practices, this feedback will help us to identify ways to effectively support our partners.

The study also helped us identify aspects of our application process that could be improved to increase the accessibility and ease of applying. Potential topics for us to explore include offering training on our online grant system, providing more support for new applicants, making the project budget submission process easier, and improving the notification and feedback process for grant requests that are not funded.

We are committed to using your input to strengthen our practices. In the meantime, we remain dedicated to creating a culture of mutual trust and respect with all of our partners and continuing to live out the values on which we were founded.

Again, many thanks to all for your participation, and stay tuned for improvements to come in the months ahead!