The Craft of Grantmaking

Many in our field have argued that it takes no special training to do grantmaking. I'd agree that good grantmaking is as much a product of life experience and good judgment as it is training. In my experience, it is more art than science. Nevertheless, there are identifiable elements of the craft of being a good program officer, and I've spent a good deal of time with my colleagues over the years engaged in dialogue about how we can constantly upgrade our skills and effectiveness. These pieces were written to help stimulate some of those conversations.

Partnering with Intermediaries

June 2007

Working with intermediaries is an important strategy for foundations to investigate. With the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, I was able to interview an impressive list of folks who have a lot of first hand experience on this topic. The result is this report.

View as PDF

Tom's Tips on Due Diligence

April 1998

Due Diligence is at the center of the Program Officer's responsibility. This was an internal memo, one of a series prepared for the staff of The California Wellness Foundation, in order to stimulate discussion about the challenges of effectively assessing grant applications.

View as PDF

Tom's Tips on Core Operating Support

March 2000

As The California Wellness Foundation began to shift the majority of its grantmaking to core operating support, this internal memo was developed to help the staff explore ways in which the due diligence process is different.

View as PDF

More Tom's Tips on Core Operating Support

November 2001

An internal memo written in a Q & A format to stimulate discussion among the staff of The California Wellness Foundation about our strategic shift to core operating support.

View as PDF

Capacity Building: Strengthening Individuals, Organizations and Communities

A handout prepared for a presentation at the Grantmakers In Health annual meeting that describes some of the approaches to capacity building that had been employed at The California Wellness Foundation and some of our early lessons learned.

View as PDF

Wellness and Renewal

An often unexamined part of being a good grantmaker is making a conscious effort to take care of oneself and to constantly seek personal renewal. These were my farewell comments to my colleagues and friends after seven years at The California Wellness Foundation.

View as PDF