Key Points

· This article describes the priority grid – an analytic tool to assess grant proposals – and how it has fundamentally changed and improved the work of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust.

· Developed by the Trust, the priority grid focuses staff attention on key strategic elements: alignment with focus areas, depth of impact, and scope of impact. It has also served as an agent to develop, disseminate, and implement a foundation’s grantmaking strategy, helping program officers understand how specific projects serve the larger goal and cultivate projects and applications that align with the foundation’s long-term mission.

· With use of the priority grid, applications have increased in quality and alignment with foundation strategy, and staff recommendations to approve or decline applications have fallen more in line with the grid.

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