On SSIR: Why fund philanthropy infrastructure?

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Does support for the infrastructure of nonprofits and philanthropy – the research, publications, events, networks and technology – compete with funders’ primary areas of giving?

In an article published by the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Fay Twersky and Lindsay Louie explain why the answer is no. The two work on philanthropy sector grantmaking at the Hewlett Foundation.

They shared their ideas following a joint call-to-action from nearly two dozen infrastructure organizations for funders that give $2.5 million or more a year to dedicate at least one percent of their grantmaking budget to this form of giving.

Twersky and Louie describe the foundation’s approach, but said, “We don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to approach infrastructure funding.”

They added, “Invest in the organizations that are most crucial for your foundation and/or your grantees to be effective. Invest in those you think the sector as a whole needs to be strong and healthy. Say no to requests that aren’t a fit for your work. Invest in one deeply or many lightly, and evolve your approach over time so that it continues to help you achieve your goals.”

Read the full article.

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