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Philly funder hones focus

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Citing a lack of investment in building the capacity of local nonprofit organizations, The Philadelphia Foundation is reworking its grants process.

Beginning in January, the community foundation will focus its funding on improving the effectiveness of nonprofits, spurring civic engagement and strengthening the sector’s leadership, the funder says.

To do that, foundation grants will fund projects focused on activities like strategic planning, organizational restructuring, financial assessment and leadership development.

At the same time, the foundation will streamline its grants process by cutting the number of forms required, reducing the notification period for grant decisions and encouraging more interaction between applicants and foundation staff.

It also will abolish its twice-yearly grant cycle and begin accepting applications throughout the year.

The foundation administers more than 700 funds worth a combined total of more than $300 million.

Last year, it awarded a total of about $21 million to almost 1,000 nonprofits in a five-county area last year.

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