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Program Peer Community

Philanthropy-serving organizations offer thousands of programs throughout the year for members, nonmembers, grantmakers, and nonprofits. These programs take many forms, from intimate brown bag lunches to elaborate annual conferences. As the hub of the network, the Forum has collected program agendas, ideas, notes, communications pieces, and more to help regional associations replicate successful programs and better serve their members.

Below you'll find some of the best practices and program ideas developed by PSOs through the years. If you have resources to share, please share them online or by emailing Courtney Moore.

Program Peer Community

The Program Peer Community is for those who are responsible for their PSO’s member programming, educations and partnerships.

  • Program Listserv ( You must be a member of the Forum & this Peer Community to post to this list.
  • Three round-robin calls per year
  • In-person meeting at Forum’s Annual Conference

Interested in joining this Peer Community? Submit your email address on the form at the bottom of the Our Networks page

Forum Staff Lead: Traci Slater-Rigaud, (202-457-8784)


Akilah Massey, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations

Akilah Masseyis a director of programs at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and an experienced program designer with over a decade of experience creating educational programs for grantmakers. She oversees GEO’s conference development and delivers other programming for GEO. Before joining GEO, she developed programming at Exponent Philanthropy, an association of small-staffed grantmakers. While at Exponent Philanthropy, she spearheaded the CONNECT Conference, a philanthropy conference devoted to highlighting the connections that sustain philanthropic work. She also led Exponent Philanthropy’s technology content area, writing articles, blog posts and building programs on technology resources forgrantmaking organizations. She further collaborated with grantmakers, colleague organizations, and nonprofit organizations to craft seminars, workshops and online programming on a variety of philanthropy-related topics with the intent of improving the effectiveness of small-staffed grantmakers.

Alex McCray, Philanthropy Massachusetts 

Alex McCray joined Philanthropy Massachusetts as the Senior Director of Programs Summer 2017. With a career in the nonprofit sector that spans nearly 25 years, prior to Philanthropy MA Alex McCray served in Resource Development capacities at several United Ways. Before working within that network, Alex was a Senior Associate at Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), helping to strengthen nonprofits and enabling social sector leaders to make sound strategic decisions. In addition to engaging in resource development and consulting, Alex has held leadership roles within youth, workforce development and arts-focused nonprofits. For four years Alex gained a funder's perspective as a Program Staff member at The Rhode Island Foundation, where he continues to serve on an Advisory Council. Alex serves as a Planning Committee Member of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) 2020 National Conference. He also values his contributions as a Board Member of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN), and Project STEP, which seeks to racially diversify the classical music profession.

By Foundation Type

Community Foundation Centennial
Resources for philanthropy-serving organizations and your members to promote the community foundation field's 100th anniversary.

Corporate Foundation Programming
Sample materials and event descriptions of programming for Corporate Foundations.

Family Foundation Programming
Sample materials and event descriptions of programming for Family Foundations.

Disaster Preparedness and Recovery

During local and national emergencies, grantmakers provide substantial funding for short-term disaster relief and long-term recovery efforts. Here, you can find some practical tips and tools for your grantmaker members on:

  • disaster communications
  • disaster grantmaking
  • disaster preparedness
  • disaster relief
  • sample philanthropic responses

Center for Disaster Philanthropy
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy offers the tools, expert analysis, and advisory services to maximize the impact of dollars given for disaster preparedness, relief, and recovery.

Opportunities from the Unpredictable
From GrantCraft's Reflection on Practice Video Series, this video follows a team of international grant makers as they respond to a natural disaster, laying the groundwork for local cooperation. It looks at how grant makers can promote collaboration among local grantees — helping them build a common vision, address long-term recovery, and develop their own capacity to meet future challenges.

Arabella Advisory Disaster Response Resources
A collection of disaster response resources from Arabella Advisors.

Disaster Grantmaking: A Practical Guide for Foundations and Corporations
Foundations are becoming more active in disaster-related grantmaking. Find eight key principles of good disaster management and practical suggestions from the European Foundation Centre and the Council on Foundations.

Philanthropy News Digest: Disaster Relief 
Coverage of the philanthropy's response to major natural and manmade disasters as relief and recovery efforts unfold from Philanthropy News Digest.

Disaster Recovery Plans for Foundations
Sample disaster preparedness and recovery plans for foundations.

Conferences and Annual Meetings

Philanthropy-serving organizations regularly convene their members in-person for networking and knowledge exchange. Below are resources from PSO annual events and other conferences including agendas, invitations, and sponsorship packages.

Agendas and Brochures
Explore brochures and agendas from past conferences and annual meetings.

Conference Invitations
Invitations and promotional materials for annual meetings aimed at reaching members and prospective members.

Conference Sponsorship Packages
Review the different sponsorship opportunities offered to raise funds for their conferences and annual meetings. 

Programming for New Grantmakers

Many philanthropy-serving organizations offer a training program or series for philanthropy professionals who are new to the field or are looking to update their skills and knowledge.


Of course, no matter how good or poorly your program was recieved, you'll never know until you evaluate. Philanthropy-serving organizations regularly evaluate their programs big and small. Evaluation may be a small as a comment card left on the chairs in meeting room or as complex as an independent long term evaluation study.

PSOs can find samples and template from their colleagues for all types of evaluation tools by clicking through below.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Programming

Serving diverse communities can be both a challenge and an opportunity for enrichment. Philanthropy-serving organizations encourage explorations of diversity in grantmaking, staffing, and representation. 

As PSOs share their best programs with the Forum, they can be replicated in other organizations across the country. 

Program Design

What process does your philanthropy-serving organization use to develop a program? How do you set goals and learning objectives? How do you share those with your program committees and speakers?
See examples from other PSOs on what they are using to guide this process.