Foundations Seek Feedback from Grant Recipients

A growing number of foundations are seeking feedback from grant recipients to assess their own performance and compare the results with other funders, the New York Times reported April 23.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation was the first to post the results of its survey of grant recipients online. The survey was conducted last spring by the Center for Effective Philanthropy, a nonprofit research organization.

The openness of the assessment surprised many in the nonprofit arena, especially those who are used to treading cautiously around current or potential funders.

But the foundation said the constructive criticism would enable it to adjust its policies and practices to be more responsive to their grantees.

“The foundation has long been concerned about improving philanthropy and the nonprofit sector in general,” said Paul Brest, president of the foundation. “The more information we can make available, the better we all are.”

Among the concerns raised in the survey were the amount of time it took to file a new application and the lengthy approval process before a grant is awarded.