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An Investment Approach to Grantmaking: How Funders Support Grantees’ Long-term Financial Health

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 -
2:00pm to 3:00pm EST
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This webinar is for Forum members and their members.

Grantmakers typically consider a grantee’s finances primarily from a risk management perspective - such as avoiding grants to financially unstable organizations. However, some funders are beginning to regard grantee financial health as a purpose and goal of grantmaking.  This approach helps funders to make strategic investments in the financial sustainability of grantees which ultimately allows grantees to better deliver on their missions. This webinar will explore tools and strategies to develop a deeper understanding of grantees’ finances and to use that insight to make investments that support grantees’ financial position for the long-term. Aa tool for analyzing grantees’ financial position and trends will be presented along with ways to:

  • better understand the grantmaking approaches that support grantees’ long-term financial health and sustainability (“investment” grants)
  • “sell” your board/trustees on grantmaking designed to support financial health;
  • determine what to request from grantees to understand whether an “investment” is the right kind of grant for them; and
  • judge success and “return on investment” of these kinds of grants.

The webinar, developed in partnership with FMA, will also include conversations with funders who have shifted their grantmaking approaches by changing the way they thought about financial health.


Hilda Polanco, Founder and CEO, FMA

Hilda is the founder and CEO of FMA, a capacity-building firm specializing in nonprofit financial resilience. Skilled at navigating the challenging relationships between nonprofits and their foundation investors, Hilda helps them find a common language for resolving their sometimes competing priorities and interests. She delivers training to the staff of nonprofit organizations and supports grantmaker strategies to encourage financial resilience in their grantees. Hilda has been published widely on a variety of topics in nonprofit fiscal management and leads FMA’s nationwide staff in capacity-building partnerships that leverage place-based strategies and anchor institutions to build community around fiscal-management best-practices.

Anna Shireen Wadia, Senior Program Officer, Ford Foundation

Anna Shireen Wadia is part of the Ford Foundation’s Future of Work team. Her grant making has focused on expanding access to unemployment insurance and ensuring that all workers earn a family-supporting wage and have access to paid sick days and paid family leave. Anna has been with the foundation since 2009 and also worked with Ford earlier. She was previously a consultant for the Annie E. Casey and Ms. Foundations, the National Council for Research on Women, and MDRC. Her practice focused on analyzing, implementing, and assessing strategies to improve low-wage jobs and increase opportunities for low-income women and families; providing technical assistance to grantees; and analyzing effective grant-making strategies. Anna co-authored Kitchen Table Entrepreneurs: How Eleven Women Escaped Poverty and Became Their Own Bosses (Westview, 2002), as well as several reports on best practices in women's economic empowerment. She holds a master's degree in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and a bachelor's degree from Yale University.