How We Work

How We Work

Our hope is to be responsive and adaptable in our grantmaking while maintaining a consistent commitment to our nonprofits and the communities they serve. We value the expertise of our grantees working in the areas we care about and trust that they know how to best serve their constituents. We look to closely aligned organizations as learning partners to help inform and guide our approach to grantmaking.

We identify grantees through a number of ways:

We scan the landscape to identify organizations aligned with our initiatives and look to relevant research to inform our approach. We also reach out to community and thought leaders to learn about community needs, trends in the field, and nonprofits working in our areas of interest.

How We Fund

We are committed to giving a minimum of 5% yearly across our philanthropic entities, including our donor advised funds. We strive to apply best practices in philanthropy to our grantmaking. To that end we work toward the following:

Mission Alignment

We prefer not to restrict grants to specific programs, but rather to offer general support to organizations that squarely align within the priorities of our giving areas.

Flexible Funding

We provide flexible funding, typically in the form of general support grants. We may also offer capacity building, capital, and other types of grants.

Longer-Term Funding

We offer multi-year support for some of our grantees, acknowledging the benefits of securing stable, longer-term funding.

Minimal Requirements

We are mindful of the time and effort we request from grantees throughout the funding process and attempt to minimize procedure and reporting requirements.

Grant Size

We determine our grant sizes based on organizational capacity and alignment with our mission, using the priorities spelled out in each initiative and program area to help determine an organization’s alignment.


Our team meets three times a year to make grant decisions, usually in May, August and October. The average grant process takes between two to three months from start to finish. For most organizations under consideration for funding in the Empathy Building Initiative, a typical process is as follows:

  1. A program officer reaches out for an introductory conversation
  1. The program officer extends an invitation to apply for funding or shares the decision not to proceed at this time
  1. Prospective partners complete an online application, usually with a deadline at least one month prior to a grant meeting date
  1. The program officer and grants team perform due diligence, summarizing information and recommending a grant amount, term and support type
  1. The staff and board meet to review grant recommendations and hear updates about current partners
  1. Shortly after the grants meeting, the program officer notifies partners of an award or declination
  1. Within one month after the grants meeting, partners receive formal notification in the form of an award letter and grant funds

After a Grant is Made

We believe in minimizing our partners’ donor requirements, so grantees can do their best work. In this way, we do not require any reporting, presentations, continued site visits, or donor cultivation. Given the number of grantees we have, and their scattered locations, we conduct one follow up call with each grantee per year — typically within three months of their grant renewal date. We do not attend fundraisers, galas, or other events.