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How will you change the world?

GMA Foundations helps you define a clear path to transformative philanthropy, and then walks the path with you as an ally and a guide.

We partner with individual and organizational donors as managers, advisors, and facilitators. With over a quarter-century of insight and field experience, GMA Foundations is changing the world by helping you change the world.

Great Boards (off the record)

board successNPO Conversation at GMA on Thursday, December 4

We invite leaders of nonprofit organizations to join us each quarter for a brown-bag lunch discussion about issues, ideas, and concerns in the nonprofit and philanthropic community. The meetings are a time for us to “talk shop” and move beyond the usual conversation between foundations and nonprofit organizations.

Each session focuses on a particular topic, and reservations are required. Guests will learn a little about GMA and a lot about their peers’ perspectives on important issues.

This Quarter’s Topic: Great Boards (off the record)

As staff for nonprofits and for foundations, we work with boards of directors and rely on effective relationships for practical and aspirational reasons. From your perspective, what makes for a great board and a productive staff/board relationship?

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Different measures of success Out-of-School

NPO CONVERSATIONlax thumbs up sm

We convened a group of experts to see if the academic standards movement has placed undue pressure on the Out-of-School Time (OST) movement. In a word, their response was No.

These eight leaders from Boston-area nonprofits serve children of all ages from lower-income families. Their organizations are experienced and sophisticated, and exhibit a clear understanding of their own strengths. We asked if the need for proof of academic success had pushed too far into their out-of-school time.

The academic outcomes movement appears to have impacted their OST programs, but not overtaken them. Like good surfers, they have ridden the standards wave, but they have not let the wave overtake them or steer them in directions that they did not want to go.

In summary, these OST leaders are successful in part because they:

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Rekindle your Foundation’s Start-up Spirit


musician in hat rdStart-up foundations crackle with an enthusiasm and creativity that is energizing. As the years go by, this youthful organizational energy inevitably wanes. Routine sets in as foundation trustees become comfortable with their traditions of management or grantmaking.

We believe that great philanthropy should never be routine. Rekindling that start-up spirit is possible. Here are several of our favorite project-based ways to stir up excitement among foundation trustees and encourage more of them to take on leadership roles:

1. Dissolve your existing committees. Try a zero-based committee structure. Every two years or so, completely disband your committees. Go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate all of your functional tasks and priorities. Finally, reconstitute new committees based on priorities or functions.                     Continue Reading »

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