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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 thirty years of insight and field experience, GMA Foundations is changing the world by helping you change the world.

When You Think about Succession…

NPO Conversation on December 9 at GMA Foundations 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 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 more about GMA and a lot about their peers’ perspectives on important issues.

Topic for Conversation: Succession and Sustainability

The pressures on leadership of nonprofit organizations are well known. Passionate about solving some of society’s greatest challenges, these executives are frequently faced with a shortage of funds, time and compensation, even if they possess abundant talent. How then does an Executive Director who works to build a strong organization ensure its successful continuity?

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Grantmakers are Free to be Bold

be ready for bold smRecently we witnessed a grant application from a small charter elementary school in an economically struggling port city spark a private foundation’s five trustees’ enthusiasm in an unusual way. What happened next affirmed our belief that the time funders spend working on process, clarifying their goals, and developing partnerships with their grantees leads to trusting relationships and confident philanthropic investment.

The program described in the application was a perfect fit with the foundation’s stated desire to help individuals realize their full potential while utilizing existing resources and leveraging the community’s strengths. Trustees saw strength in this low-profile independent program’s adoption of acknowledged best practices; the administrators relied on volunteers, collaborated with existing service providers to meet scholars’ needs, and targeted students and families least likely to seek enhanced educational opportunities on their own.

After making a grant at the requested level, the board invited the school’s founding director to their next meeting for a conversation about the school’s progress and plans. This candid discussion further solidified the trustees’ positive impression of the program. They also learned that the school had just launched a campaign to replace their facility, an aging former public school building.

Enthusiastic about the school’s results, the trustees acted immediately and decisively. Learning about the foundation’s unexpected $500,000 capital grant on his drive home from the meeting, the school’s director called it a “game changer.” Likewise, the trustees were elated.

What inspires a private foundation to move beyond business as usual? How do trustees recognize the right time and the right opportunity for bold action? How might a grant that is transformative for the recipient also affect the giver?

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Big Wins in Policy Change May Be Smaller Than You Think

Notes from an NPO Conversation at GMA Foundations
Last month we were joined by leaders from non-profits working to advance policy change in Boston and Massachusetts. Our guests explored with us the challenges facing advocacy work as well as the building blocks to effective advocacy that set the stage for progress. We were particularly interested in learning about communicating these challenges and successes with funders.

From teen pregnancy to voter turnout, organizations advocate for legislative and policy agendas that will improve the lives of individuals and families, recent immigrants, low-income communities, and everyone in between. The message for funders? 1) Don’t lose sight of the individuals and families who need these changes, and 2) Patience is key.

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