ORS Impact News

The ORS Impact team has earned a global reputation for leadership, insight and innovation. We work collaboratively with our clients, bringing our distinctive expertise in planning, measurement and evaluation to their most vexing challenges.

Lessons from Participatory Grantmaking and Meditations on Power

Many people in the social sector hope that participatory grantmaking approaches can help transform traditional power relationships in the sector where those with the most money hold the most power. Our experience suggests that funders need to be more explicit about power and go beyond shifting who determines where dollars go.

Our evaluation led us to realize that perhaps there were different frameworks for understanding power at play among the people involved, and that it could be helpful to explore these frameworks explicitly. We also recognized that we needed to more directly expose how white supremacy and colonialism shape the dominant mental models in philanthropy, even when there are good intentions to shift power. We found three different frameworks for thinking about power, as summarized in the table below. These frameworks are not mutually exclusive or exhaustive; they can be used together to understand, expand, and/or facilitate further conversation about what we mean by power.

For more information, you can read our full findings in “Some Lessons from Participatory Grantmaking and Meditations on Power for the Field.”

Or get a taste of the report via a three-minute video or read the full blog on Fund for Shared Insight's website.



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