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Grantmakers fund outcomes focus

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RALEIGH, N.C. – Three of the state’s prominent foundations are funding a new effort by the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers to improve funders’ grantmaking.

The Duke Endowment in Charlotte, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in Winston-Salem, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation in Chapel Hill together are funding an Outcome Fellow to work with the network for the next year.

Hal Williams, senior fellow and former president of the Rensselaerville Institute in Rensselaerville, N.Y., started working with funders in October.

“He’ll work with grantmakers to strengthen their outcomes focus so they’re focused on the results of grants, not just the activities of grants,” says Bobbi Hapgood, executive director of the Network of Grantmakers.

In addition to helping funders shift their focus from processes to results, Williams will help them find ways to work together to move the needle on issues they care about.

He also will work with grantseekers, helping them think through how a funder’s outcomes focus might impact a nonprofit’s efforts.

And he will work with the network’s affinity groups, which focus on issues such as education and health, to help funders develop joint outcomes for their grantmaking, says Hapgood.

In an effort to streamline the grantmaking process, Williams facilitated a conversation with grantees at the 2008 statewide conference of the N.C. Center for Nonprofits.

The conversation was designed to uncover whether grantmakers’ processes are causing grantees to focus more on paperwork than “the real stuff,” says Hapgood.

“We want our foundations to look at this and find if there are ways to streamline their processes,” she says.

Each of the three foundations will kick in $49,000 to fund the Outcomes Fellow and associated activities.

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