Foundations Can Get More Done by Giving Nonprofits More Power

For as long as foundations and individuals have given money to charitable causes, the power dynamic has been part of the equation. To many people, the idea that grant makers and nonprofits could work together on equal footing has seemed like a fairy tale, because one of them holds all the resources and decision-making power.

In recent years, tension between grant makers and nonprofits has grown as some foundations have attempted to exert even more control over the work they support. But in reality, grant makers can’t achieve what they hope to without strong nonprofits, and many funders are working to find ways to give beneficiaries of foundation money a stronger role. At Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, the group I head, we’re redoubling our commitment to finding ways to close the power gap.