A Fresh Approach to Philanthropy


Six Principles of Trust

Trust-Based Philanthropy reimagines traditional funder-grantee relationships by addressing the inherent power imbalances that exist between foundations and nonprofits. A trust-based approach relies on six interrelated principles which, when practiced together, can advance greater equity and sustainability in the nonprofit sector:


Give Multi-Year, Unrestricted Funding

Unrestricted funding over time is essential for creating healthy, adaptive, effective organizations.

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Do the Homework

Before entering into a grantmaking relationship, the onus of due diligence should be on the grantmaker, not the grantseeker.

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Simplify & Streamline Paperwork

Nonprofit staff spend an inordinate amount of time on funder-imposed paperwork; they will be more effective if they are freed up to concentrate on mission.

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Be Transparent & Responsive

Open, honest, and transparent communication minimizes power imbalances and helps move the work forward.

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Solicit & Act on Feedback

Grantees provide valuable perspective that can help inform a funder’s support and services.

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Offer Support Beyond the Check

Responsive, adaptive non-monetary support can help foster healthier organizations by bolstering leadership and capacity.

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“A deliberate, trust-based approach can liberate foundations from the structures that hold too many of us back.”

— Pia Infante, The Whitman Institute