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Headwaters Staff Discuss Equitable Evaluation in Alliance Magazine

Stephanie Schilling

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There is a perception that Trust-Based Philanthropy (TBP) is all about the mechanisms of funding – easier applications, general operating funds and multi-year grants. These are certainly components of TBP, but the main goal is to shift the power dynamic that exists in philanthropy: foundations have the money, so they have the power. In a recent article that Brenda (our CEO) and I co-wrote for Alliance Magazine, we shined light on the fact that who defines success in a funder-grantee relationship is a result of this power dynamic, broke down why that can stand in the way of seeing the reality of what is happening on the ground, and explained how we are trying to do things differently at Headwaters. “Doing it differently” shows up in every aspect of Headwaters’ work, from applications to reporting to evaluation. We endeavor to base our processes and culture on relationships, trust, and learning with our grantee partners. While we are far from having it all figured out, we hope articles like this will help start a conversation about how philanthropy can shift the power dynamic and make the sector more equitable.

Read the full article here.