The Art of Adding Value

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    The Art of Adding ValueVariety New Yorks

    High Touch, High Impact Philanthropic Model

    By Jessica Bynoe

    Executive Director, Variety New York

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    A Bold Vision for Philanthropy

    The relationship between funder and

    grantee is strained by many factors.

    Power imbalances

    Cultural differences

    Disproportionate resources

    Accountability

    Risk and trust

    Different definitions of success.

    The relationship between funder and

    grantee must be examined and refined

    to become a mutual partnership.

    Work in tandem to create great

    change.

    Funder adds value

    Grantees and funder act as partners

    Understanding that money is not the

    only currency of power

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    The relationship between funders and grantees hold great promise andfertility to create a deep impact on issues of inequity and injustice,

    however reality often stifles this potential.

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    In 2010, Variety New York began an ambitious strategic plan to

    determine ways to achieve high impact grant making. Whenthe Board of Directors decided to develop a grassroots value-added approach to philanthropy, it was a rare and excitingopportunity.

    Key Decisions to Support High Impact Grantmaking Align Varietys history with philanthropic outcomes

    Focus on outcomes & impact rather than inputs & outputs

    Fund only grassroots non-profits

    Narrow the focus to transformational arts programs

    Design a value-added set of supports for grantees to enhanceperformance

    Increase brand recognition

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    Variety New Yorks Strategic Plan

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    Adding Versus Creating Value

    One could say the concept of supporting grantees with more

    than money goes back to 1969 when Rockefeller introducedthe idea of venture philanthropy.

    The concept of creating value was introduced in 1999 byKramer and Porter in PhilanthropysNew Agenda: CreatingValue, which discussed how funders can offer additional

    resources to grantees to enhance the value of the donations. Their framework remained very funder centric. It is essentially

    a suggested list of things the funder can do to enhance andprove its own value rather than the value of the overall work.

    At Variety New York we find this distinction critical in trying

    to alleviate some of the challenges most often cited in thecurrent climate on philanthropic giving

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    Adding Versus Creating Value

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    Funder &Value

    Grantees

    Outputs

    Grantees

    Value

    Funder

    Outcomes& ImpactVs.

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    Goals of Adding Value

    Adding value should be both a means and an end for funders to successfullyreach the goals in their logic models.

    Support existing br il li ance. As a funder, it is important to remember thatmany of the brilliant ideas to change communities, injustices, and societyare already out there. They need to be identified, nurtured, and lifted up.

    Add capacity and strengthen innovation. Once there is recognition of

    the existing brilliance it should become the goal of funders to addcapacity and strengthen the innovations of the ideas and organizations.

    Ease the power imbalance between funder and grantee. The desire toease the power imbalance must be an explicit goal in this work. Onlywhen the power imbalance is addressed will a funder and grantee be ableto work more as partners, with funders working alongside grantees ratherthan as gatekeepers in front of grantees.

    Buil d the broader f ield. When supporting grantees through a value-added approach, funders ought to recognize their role as field builders asit relates to their ability to add to the knowledge base, support emergingleaders, and create infrastructure for collaboration.

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    A Sharp Investment FocusWhat is it?

    Singular investment focus Supports a specific theory of change

    Consistent over time

    Transparent

    Why it Matters Develop a rich understanding of a field, the communities affected by

    an issue, and the programs and interventions that reap the mostsuccess.

    Select grantees in a more educated way.

    Assess outcomes and impact more clearly.

    Inform a broader field that can help both grantees and fundersachieve more profound results.

    Become a true partner in the field of impact.

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    Defining Risk

    Supporting small and young organizations Seeking out grassroots grantees

    Supporting untraditional leaders

    Working with organizations whose spaces are raw, shared, or nonexistent

    Working with limited infrastructure for things like evaluation, technology orrecord keeping.

    Innovation at the Edges

    Indigenous leadership

    Deep commitment to outcomes

    Out of the box solutions

    Diverse voices

    The most resonate, and passionate ideas

    It may be safer and less risky to support larger, more established organizations,but if we are trying to achieve real change, we must support those solutionswhich are born in and by the communities most afflicted.

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    Risk Taking to Support Innovation

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    When making a commitment to risk taking and innovation, it isimportant to develop systems of diligence and high standards tosafeguard against failure.

    Extensive outreach process to small organizations, affinitygroups, local foundations, and personal contacts to ensure that

    grassroots organizations are aware funding.

    Intentionally market grants opportunities in non-traditionalcircles.

    Extreme accessibility to potential grantees.

    Thorough and transparent review process using objectiverubrics, multiple scorers, site visits, and board engagement.

    Relationships, relationships, relationships!

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    Diligence to Support Risk

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    Relationships of Shared Valued

    Grantees and funders can work together as partners to achieve mutual

    goals. A good first step is for the funder to reflect on their strengths, gaps,

    communication style, and desire to learn.

    Defining roles in the funder/grantee partnership

    Grantees have the most important job of doing the most innovativework at the grassroots levels

    Funders have the most important job of supporting grantees aseffective, efficient organizations while enhancing their visibility inthe field

    Open and candid lines of communication early help grantees andfunders understand the gaps in the collective knowledge and figureout how to fill them.

    Engage grantees as partners, teachers, and leaders in this work. Pursue active learning with grantees and other partners to understand

    how this work is done most effectively.

    Reflection and improvement

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    Varied & Targeted ResourcesMoving from Charity to Change

    Traditional check writing philanthropy misses a huge opportunity toensure that the grantees and funders outputs and, more importantly,outcomes and impact are stronger and the organizations are moresuccessful.

    When Variety New York designed its approach, it wanted to offergrantees targeted and varied resources to help them achieve their goals.

    Secure investments Launches grantees on to bigger funding opportunities

    Types of Resources

    Monthly workshops

    One-on-one technical assistance

    Collective infrastructure Enhanced visibility

    Publication opportunities

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    Example Resources

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    Example Resources

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    Collective Infrastructure Some grassroots grantees would not have the internal

    capacity to implement some strategies for organizationaldevelopment.

    One of the biggest challenges small non-profits face is

    developing the infrastructure necessary to support

    sophisticated processes and systems that will allow themto grow.

    VarietyNew York decided to enhance everyones

    capacity by developing systems of collective

    infrastructure

    Variety New York creates and manages systems that can

    be shared by all.

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    Evaluation as InfrastructureAt Variety New York, we centralized evaluation systems creating threesurvey instruments for grantees to use and submit to the team at Variety

    New York. Uniform protocols

    Centralized data entry, analysis and reporting

    Higher statistical power

    Initial Results 98% of youth demonstrating the ability to work as a team,

    92% of youth expressing increased confidence,

    91% of youth creating products that demonstrate a high level of insightinto their communities,

    86% of youth being able to express their ideas more clearly,

    82% of youth reporting the attainment of skills that will be helpful intheir future career, and

    76% of youth reporting an increase in motivation to do better in schoolas a result of the programs.

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    Possibilities of the Model

    Become honest about the current limitations of

    philanthropy.

    Develop relationships and investment partnerships that

    recognize power dynamics and work to address them.

    Ensure the most innovative ideas better inform a field.

    Use grantee and funder assets in strategic ways to achieve

    mutual outcomes of deeper and greater impact.

    Achieve a higher return on investment for philanthropic

    dollars.

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    Next Steps

    Enlist grantees and other funders as advocates.

    Expand research to better track, measure, and

    transparently report on the effectiveness of philanthropy

    overall and value-added approaches in particular. Prove higher returns on investment with true, not

    assumed, calculations of net social impact.

    Encourage a greater circle of funders to embrace value-

    added philanthropy.

    The Art of Adding Value by Jessica Bynoe, Executive Director of

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