Grantmakers Institute 2019 (Chicago)

Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 2:30pm to Thursday, April 11, 2019 - 1:30pm CST
Forefront Large Conference Room
208 S. LaSalle Street, #1535, Chicago, IL
This event is open to: 

Grantmaker Members of Forefront and non-member grantmakers.

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Forefront’s popular professional development program for new and experienced grantmakers provides a comprehensive look at the critical elements involved in the practice of responsible grantmaking.

New grantmakers are encouraged to join us for the full series of 6 sessions at a discounted rate. Experienced grantmakers may choose to register a la carte for Days 3-6.

Day 1 – For new grantmakers
Current Conversations
Date:    Thursday, February 7, 2019
Time:    2:30-4:30pm
What does 2018 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.

Greg DiDomenico, Community Memorial Foundation
Adolfo Hernandez, J.B. & M.K. Pritzker Foundation
Damion Heron, JPMorgan Chase
Marianne Philbin, Pierce Family Foundation

Day 2 – For new grantmakers
Grantmaking Fundamentals
Date:    Friday, February 8, 2019
Time:    9:00am – 3:00pm (Networking breakfast at 8:30am; lunch is included in session)
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.

Confirmed Faculty: Marianne Philbin, Pierce Family Foundation
Additional faculty TBA

Day 3 – For both new and experienced grantmakers
Evaluation Fundamentals for Grantmakers
Date:     Thursday, February 14, 2019
Time:    9:00am – Noon (Networking breakfast at 8:30am)
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.

Faculty: Susie Quern Pratt and Jenny Richards, Pratt Richards Group

Day 4 – For both new and experienced grantmakers
Assessing Nonprofit Financial Health
Date:     Thursday, March 7, 2019
Time:    9:00am – 3:00pm (Networking breakfast at 8:30am; lunch is included in session)

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.

Key concepts covered in the workshop will include:
•    Understanding audited financial statements
•    Discussion of key indicators of financial health, including relevant
•    Calculating financial metrics using an Excel-based “Nonprofit Financial Health Analysis” tool (provided as a takeaway for all participants)
•    The differences between the Form 990 and audited financial statements and what you might be missing if you rely solely on one or the other
•    Key information in the form 990 that provides insights into an organization’s capacity in the areas of governance, leadership, and fundraising

Participants will be asked to bring the audited financial statements and Form 990 for their “favorite grantee” with them to the workshop. Using these documents, participants will be able to immediately apply concepts discussed in the training and understand how their grantee’s financial health compares to industry benchmarks in the nonprofit sector.

Faculty: Rodney Christopher, FMA

Day 5 – For both new and experienced grantmakers
Reviewing Proposals with Board Presentations in Mind
Date:     Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Time:    Noon-2:00pm (Lunch will be provided)
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.

Faculty: Marianne Philbin, Pierce Family Foundation
Additional faculty TBA

Day 6 – For both new and experienced grantmakers
More Dos Than Don’ts: Private Foundations and Advocacy
Date:     Thursday, April 11, 2019
Time:    Noon-1:30pm (Lunch will be provided)
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.

Faculty: Jodi Patt, Quarles & Brady

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