The Twin Cities philanthropic community recently hosted the biannual Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) conference. Attended by more than 800 people, the conference was a valuable resource for spotting trends in grant making, discovering leading evaluation practices and networking with smart, innovative funders.
On Tuesday night, GHR Foundation sponsored a CEO and foundation trustee reception. In preparing my remarks to welcome them to the land of 10,000 non-profits, I had an opportunity to crystallize our approach to grant making and highlight our strengths. I summarized how our ability to impact complex problems is made possible by three things: our values, our partnerships and our communities.
Throughout the conference, GHR team members spoke to many people not familiar with our organization. Several of them remarked on how wide-reaching our programs seem, ranging from Alzheimer’s to Catholic sisters. During the reception, I shared what unites our programs and generates impact—the core values that guide how we make grants. We are entrepreneurial and creative. We take risks and have deep respect for those whose lives we touch. These values underscore the importance of forming deep, trusting partnerships in creating change.
Our Alzheimer’s prevention strategy brings together the National Institutes of Health, industry partners and private donors to leverage the relatively small investment we made in researching prevention therapies. We have formed partnerships through our peace-building work in Central African Republic, collaborating with USAID, the U.S. Institute of Peace, religious leaders and other funders to foster peace and hope in that fragile state.
Positive, lasting partnerships create communities and sustainable change. Our founders were Minnesotan to the core, and traits including creativity, entrepreneurial thinking, risk taking and working hard are in our DNA. The GEO conference made clear that Minnesota is a national leader in smart, effective grant-making, and GHR is proud to be a part of that philanthropic community. We are also proud to be a part of the strong, collaborative community of GEO—we know private funders must join together to affect long-term change, and collectively, we can find the solutions to complex problems.