CalNonprofits Articles

Over 1,000 reviews written during year one: Help us get to 2,000!

One year ago, CalNonprofits and our partners launched the GrantAdvisor website to increase transparency and dialogue between nonprofits and foundations.

Hundreds of nonprofit staff from across the country participated in this new experiment, writing over 1,250 reviews where they shared their experiences and insights about more than 450 funders.

Data from the reviews populates a profile for each foundation, with information that’s helpful for nonprofit staff- like tips on applying, and average time it takes to complete a grant application. There's also information funders can use- like ratings and feedback on their grant processes and accessibility. Over 70 foundations now have published profiles and 26 of them are located in California.

Can you guess which foundations these reviews are written about?

1. “The program officers are very responsive, feel free to contact them with questions. Also do your research, this funder is VERY specific (and somewhat unusual) with what they fund.” See the funder and 5 more reviews.

2. "....was great throughout the process. They had some very tough follow-up questions that really helped us improve our overall grant-writing process. Be prepared and detailed in your proposal and be ready to answer their tough, relevant, and constructive questions. Even if you aren't funded, going through their process can reap rewards from helping your organization to improve in grant writing." See the funder and 20 more reviews.

3. “Like most foundations, they are up to their eyeballs in applicants, and they push you (HARD) to get through the first doors. It's worth it, as once you get through, you've passed their muster, and they consider you worthy of ongoing support. Plus, they are interested in making general op grants, which are the best, and rarest grants in our field." See the funder and 11 more reviews.

4. "My comments are focused on their work in GLOBAL HEALTH. Don't bother applying unless you are an academic, and one in their already vetted community. Despite their RFPs, they are not innovative or risking-taking in terms of implementation or funding new initiatives." See the funder and 8 more reviews.

5. “They're by invite only and the process includes an incredibly thorough vetting of organizational infrastructure, performance, and leadership.” See the funder and 5 more reviews

GrantAdvisor is intended to create more of a dialogue between nonprofits and foundations, and we’re grateful to the nearly 400 foundation employees who have registered on GrantAdvisor to read and respond to reviews and answer questions about their foundation processes or priorities.

A crowd-sourced site like GrantAdvisor can’t work without a crowd: that's you!

While we’re excited that 26 California foundation profiles are now live, we know there’s a lot of room to grow. Funder profiles are published after there's been at least 5 reviews written about a funder. There are 7 California foundation profiles that already have 3 or 4 reviews written about them (see list below), and their profile will go live after just 1 or 2 more reviews are written.

Spend a few minutes checking out the site, and seeing if a foundation you’ve worked with now has a profile on GrantAdvisor. If you have another five minutes, pay it forward by and write a review of a funder that you've worked with.

On this one-year anniversary, we extend a big thank you to our partners who helped put this together: the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and Great Nonprofits. We’re also grateful to the funders who supported this project, and to the reviewers who made this site happen by writing, reading, and sharing reviews, and to the foundation staff who are registering and responding to the reviews.

Want to help keep the momentum going? Write a review!
These seven California funders will go live after 1 or 2 more reviews are written- your review could be the one!

1) Atkinson Family Foundation (La Jolla)

2) Fund for Nonviolence (Santa Cruz)

3) The Leo M Shortino Foundation (San Jose)

4) Marin Community Foundation (Novato)

5) Richmond Community Foundation (Richmond)

6) Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (Los Altos)

7) United Way of the Bay Area (San Francisco)

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