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Grantmakers Institute: Days 1-6

February 12 @ 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm CST


Registration has now closed for this series.


The Grantmakers Institute is a six-session series for current grantmakers. See information below on all six sessions.

Grantmakers Institute Day 1: Current Conversations
February 12, 2020 @ 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
What does 2020 hold for the practice of grantmaking? Join a panel of experienced grantmakers for an honest reflection on how current philanthropic trends and challenges affect your organization’s mission and what you might find yourself tackling in the coming year.

Grantmakers Institute Day 2: Grantmaking Fundamentals
February 13, 2020 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
This session will equip you to meet your greatest challenges as a new program officer. You’ll explore your role and how it fits and functions in your organization. You’ll learn about the states of a nonprofit organization’s development and their relevance in assessing proposals. And you’ll discuss other topics that will strengthen your contributions on the job: how to build relationships in the field; ways to prepare for and conduct site visits; and approaches to the ethical challenges program officers often face.

Grantmakers Institute Day 3: Evaluation Fundamentals for Grantmakers
February 21, 2020 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Evaluation – by grantees and foundations – is key to knowing whether we’re making the change we want to see in the world. But it’s not an easy task. This workshop on the fundamentals of evaluation in grantmaking will provide a framework for evaluating your own work, structures for good evaluation, guidelines on how to use data more effectively, and ways to fund evaluation.

Grantmakers Institute Day 4: More Dos Than Don’ts – Private Foundations and Advocacy
February 28, 2020 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
In this lively lunchtime conversation, we will dispel – once and for all – the myths around supporting and engaging in advocacy. In particular, we’ll smash the mythology around language in grant agreements that prohibits grantees from engaging in lobbying. We’ll also learn a few effective strategies for partnering with grantees to help their advocacy work. Staff and trustees of grantmaking organizations are encouraged to attend this session.

Grantmakers Institute Day 5: Assessing Nonprofit Financial Health
March 4, 2020 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Understanding the financial health of both current and prospective grantees is a critical part of the grantmaking process. Nonprofit organizations face increasing financial challenges in today’s operating environment and in order to make sound funding decisions, grantmakers must have a firm grasp of the story told by the numbers. Focusing on effective approaches to reading and interpreting audited financial statements and the IRS Form 990, this course will equip grantmakers to understand their grantees’ financial reality, with concepts and tools applicable to grantees across a range of mission areas and business models.

Grantmakers Institute Day 6: Reviewing Proposals with Board Presentations in Mind
March 12, 2020 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Foundation Staff have a responsibility to help the board consider opportunities that preserve the foundation’s charitable purpose and also do justice to the prospective grantee. This session explores approaches to reviewing proposals in the context of board priorities and interests. How do you find the balance between subjective and objective, advocate and reporter? How does knowing what the board wants shape how you communicate with applicants, how you handle applicant questions as well as your own, and how you prepare for your board’s final review? Join our panelists to discuss experiences and strategies.


Program fee for the entire six-session institute: $500 Members of Forefront / $850 Non-members (Members must log into the Forefront website to obtain their discount. Create a new account here.)

* (Those interested only in Day 3, Day 4 and/or Day 5  may register for those three sessions a la carte. )


Click here for our cancellation policy.

Need help? Email us: registration@myforefront.org


Forefront Large Conference Room
208 S. LaSalle Street, #1535
Chicago, IL 60604 United States
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