Support Beyond the Check


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


Steps You Can Take

  • Introduce grantees to other funders and like-minded organizations (especially important if grantees are cycling off of funding)

  • Serve as a sounding board or provide counsel to grantee partners, as requested

  • Highlight grantees’ work in your newsletter, on your website, on webinars, and/or during conference presentations

  • Provide spaces for reflection, learning, and connection

  • Build and nurture peer learning networks

  • Host restorative retreats geared toward inspiration and renewal


The Difference It Will Make

  • Helps build the capacity and strength of leaders and organizations over time

  • Fosters a deeper sense of connection to grantees and their work

  • Creates opportunities to learn more about grantees’ work and organizational context


What It Looks Like

“For 20 years, we’ve been running our Sabbatical Program that enables nonprofit leaders to take three months off from their work and totally disconnect. In addition to funding the leader to take time off, we help the organization prepare for the time that executive director is away. Almost since the inception of the Sabbatical Program, we bring together alums for lunches and overnight retreats to weave a network of connected leaders throughout L.A. Bringing people together over food, with interesting topics of conversation, is core to what we do at Durfee. We also learn so much about the challenges in the sector, and it's great ideas, by spending time with the people we fund.”

- Carrie Avery, Durfee Foundation


But What About…

“How do you find time to provide this kind of support?”

In trust-based philanthropy, the role of the program officer or director is conceptualized as a learning role, so providing this type of support is part and parcel of a trust-based framework. If your institution is able to embrace other pillars of trust-based philanthropy—especially unrestricted funding and simplified paperwork—it will free up more time to offer grantees support beyond the check.


From the Blog

“A trust-based approach is way more fun, creative and interesting than the traditional project-based, top-down approach. It allows you to always be in a learning mode. As funders, we should strive for continuous learning and improvement, rather than focusing on how we’ve ‘nailed it’.”

— Carrie Avery, Durfee Foundation