Key Points

· This article explores the California HealthCare Foundation’s internal efforts, inspired in part by the process of design thinking, to institutionalize organizational learning.

· One outcome of this process has been a “grantmaking toolbox,” which represents an attempt to document new, effective, and innovative grantmaking tactics.

· While creating this toolbox, the foundation realized that the process of learning holds as much – if not more – value as the products of learning. Moreover, we gained three valuable insights that may be relevant for other foundations interested in advancing their learning efforts: effective learning is a collaborative, rather than an individual, process; a willingness to experiment is an important aspect of a learning culture; and both experienced and new staff members have significant roles in organizational learning efforts.

· Though the grantmaking toolbox may not be relevant for all foundations, we believe that the lessons from our experience are. Through sharing the process that we implemented, we hope to encourage other foundations to experiment with new approaches to learning and innovative methods to identify the learning needs of staff members – and perhaps even grantees.

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