It’s been a disruptive year. We’ve all had to adjust as the ground shifts beneath our feet — in business, technology, government, our personal lives — and even literally, in hurricanes and earthquakes.
Every day seems to bring new challenges around what we thought we knew about our society and our democracy. It has led all of us to ask many questions about the future and our roles in it.
At the Dodge Foundation, we’ve been taking in these questions as we look ahead and think about the long-term impact we want to have in New Jersey, our cherished home. Since completing our 2017 grantmaking in June, we’ve geared up a strategic planning process, reviewing our vision, values, and mission, and thinking about what we might do differently to better meet the challenges facing our communities.
As we continue this work, I want to share two key decisions we’ve made about our grantmaking.
First, we will continue to make grants in 2018 based on our current strategies and guidelines. Current grantee organizations will be invited to apply in the same cycle as they have in the past, with the same deadlines and with a streamlined application.
Second, we will remain committed to our current program areas for the next three to five years, although our priorities and approaches may shift based on the outcomes of our review.
Our goal is to complete our strategic planning by March, and to integrate these efforts into our guidelines, grantmaking and internal operations during the remainder of 2018. Any new guidelines and policies would take effect in 2019.
I also want to take this opportunity to share what we heard from many of our grantees this spring through a Grantee Perception Survey conducted by the Center for Effective Philanthropy.
You continue to think of Dodge as a supportive, thoughtful, innovative, engaged funder. You believe our program staff understand your organization’s work, your field, and the challenges you face. You remain grateful for long-term, general operating support and our comprehensive technical assistance programs.
But we also heard that we have work to do: We need to better explain our vision and the role your organization plays in our strategies. We need to better understand your communities. And, we need to streamline our application process to better align the amount of time you spend seeking a grant with the size of the grant.
During the rest of the strategic planning process, we will continue to reach out to grantees and other stakeholders to solicit your thoughts on how best to shape the work of the foundation. We will share more of our findings in the coming weeks and months.
For now, I want to thank you for your help to date. We greatly appreciate your thoughts and advice. You’ll hear more from us about how we got here and what we’re thinking about as we move forward.
Chris Daggett is president and chief executive officer at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.