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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

New GrantCraft Guide Helps Funders Navigate Capacity Building

Suite of Related Resources Promotes Knowledge About Strengthening Nonprofit Organizations

New York, NY — February 26, 2015. A new guide released today by GrantCraft, a service of Foundation Center, adds unique perspective on the ways foundations can boost organizational effectiveness of nonprofits. Supporting Grantee Capacity: Strengthening Effectiveness Together helps grantmakers make informed decisions about enhancing the sustainability of nonprofits by making investments aimed at improving specific organizational capacities.

The guide illustrates thoughtful approaches to capacity building through real-world examples from funders of different sizes, missions, and geographies. Like other GrantCraft guides, it builds on the wisdom and experience of funders to spread knowledge and improve the practice of philanthropy. The guide is supplemented by more than 30 new GrantCraft resources and a special collection of case studies, white papers, and evaluations published by practitioners and experts in the field.

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“‘Capacity building’ can carry many different meanings, but at its heart, it represents an investment aimed at strengthening effectiveness,” says Jen Bokoff, director of GrantCraft at Foundation Center. “These resources synthesize insights derived from actual experience and provide a useful framework to help funders who may be just starting on this journey, as well as those looking to assess their investments so far.”

The guide tackles many themes, including investment approaches, appraisal of funding opportunities, funder-grantee power dynamics, and evaluation of results. It blends data from interviews, focus groups, surveys, and a scan of existing literature to provide a comprehensive and in-depth view of the field. A unique aspect of the guide is its focus on the funder-grantee relationship, with importance placed on defining roles and expectations, establishing trust and open communications, and recognizing and analyzing the variables at play in capacity-building situations. Throughout the report, there are “action steps” and hyperlinks to a wealth of related online content, including case studies and podcasts that animate topics presented in the guide.

A special collection of case studies, white papers, and evaluations builds on the topics explored in Supporting Grantee Capacity. This repository, which can be accessed at, provides free and direct access to the experience and expertise of foundations and nonprofits that have shared lessons learned from their own capacity-building efforts.

Foundation Center is the leading authority on philanthropy. Its GrantCraft service offers guides, blogs, videos, and other media that address questions faced by funders in the United States and around the world. In past year, it has published 30 new videos and podcasts, added an RSS feed of all new content, posted nine guided readings that facilitate conversations among colleagues on important topics, and translated 14 guides.

Supporting Grantee Capacity: Strengthening Effectiveness Together can be downloaded for free at, and the special collection can be accessed at

Funding for this project was generously provided by the Open Society Foundations.

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