Big grant, big learnings

Lessons from MacArthur Foundation's USD 100 million grant on funding long-term change.

by Cecilia Conrad

When it comes to funding organisations, I’m a big believer in product diversity: there should be different forms of grant making and different sizes of grants available in the sector; which is not necessarily the case right now.

We have players who are sending small amounts of money a year, over a long period of time. And given the kinds of problems in the world, we might not make much headway if this continues to be the primary approach we follow.

There is also a sense that philanthropic organisations—foundations in particular—want to fund the next new thing, and want to be the only ones doing it. But what happens when the new things are no longer new? Or, when a once-new approach is found to be effective, where is the funding to scale it?

We realised that there was a space that needed to be filled.

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Jill Geiger