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Strong Operations

Startups and Restarts

NPO Conversation on Wednesday, July 19 at GMA

Several times a year we invite leaders of nonprofit organizations to join us for a 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: Startups and restarts

Innovators in the nonprofit world bring us bold change and a good opportunity for learning. Putting new ideas into action, these leaders are creating new organizations, redefining their missions, or significantly shifting their activity.  They are envisioning and responding.

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GMA is on the Move!

ADDRESS CHANGE

We are pleased to let you know that GMA will be in new offices as of May 1, 2017

Our staff is looking forward to working together on a single floor in a recently renovated building, and to continuing to host meetings in our ample conference rooms. Our phone numbers, email addresses, and commitment to effective and joyful philanthropy remain the same.

Please note our new mailing address:

GMA Foundations
2 Liberty Square, Suite 500
Boston MA  02109

2 Liberty Square is at the corner of Milk and Kilby Streets, steps from Post Office Square Park. The closest T stop is State Street – on the blue and orange lines. Government Center, Park Street, and South Station are all within a 5 to 10 minute walk.

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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