Strategic Reserves and Endowments: Guidance for Forward-Thinking Funders and Grantees

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For many nonprofit leaders, the promise of an endowment is alluring. It conjures a world in which you can fund everything from critical organizational infrastructure to coffee in the office kitchen without shaving precious dollars from every contract or nudging your board members and donors at every turn. But for most organizations, an endowment is an unreachable illusion. To make matters worse, those who succeed in building a permanently restricted endowment may be narrowing their organizations’ strategic flexibility by committing them to specifically enumerated deliverables.

Alternatives to endowments are not well described for nonprofit leaders, funders, or donors, and there are scant opportunities to discuss them. In this webinar, we will showcase an emerging trend among some forward-thinking funders and their grantees: Funding strategic reserves that are available to nonprofit leaders over the long term to strategically pursue their missions. No settled language exists for describing this kind of funding, but let’s think of it as money entrusted to an organization that enables it to pursue opportunities and repel threats, or whenever action is needed…an Action Trust!

In this webinar, Hilda Polanco will facilitate a discussion between the Greater New Orleans Foundation and the Youth Empowerment Project-one of the foundation’s grantees-to showcase a reserve grant program and the impact it has had in supporting the grantee’s financial sustainability.

Presenters:

Hilda Polanco, Founder & CEO, FMA

Joann M. Ricci, Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness, Greater New Orleans Foundation

Kellie Chavez Greene, Senior Program Officer for Organizational Effectiveness, Greater New Orleans Foundation

Melissa Sawyer, Co-founder/Executive Director, Youth Empowerment Project