Key Points

In 2013, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving began to offer unrestricted general operating support grants in response to grantees’ expressed need. The foundation hired Technical Development Corp., a Boston consulting firm, to evaluate the process and implementation.

This article shares early indicators of the impact of the new grantmaking approach on both grantees and the foundation. Grantee outcomes include enhanced infrastructure and financial health, continued progress on strategic plan goals, and more creative thinking about programs. Beyond the adoption of a new funding option, the decision led the foundation to modify its overall grantmaking process.

The greatest challenge – which appears to be a factor across the sector – has been determining how best to capture the impact of the investment for grantees. Partnering from the outset provided data that helped both the foundation and TDC to assess the benefits of general operating support.

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