What Do You Know?

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Dear GrantCraft User,

We don’t often get a chance to step back from our work to reflect on what we’ve learned. Most of us are moving on to the next task or project or meeting before we can pat ourselves on the back for completing a goal, let alone share what we learned in the process to improve our efforts going forward. In my last five years at Foundation Center, I’ve learned just how crucial that practice of regular sharing is to our progress as a sector.

As an associate in our Knowledge Services department, I’ve worked on a variety of exciting initiatives, from creating the first-ever platform dedicated to connecting people and resources in the growing youth giving movement, to managing a hub for funding information focused onwater access, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), to producing a GrantCraft paper on underlying foundation frameworks. Every project I’ve been involved in has touched on the same basic goal of sharing funder data and know-how for smarter decision making and coordination across issue areas.

As more and more foundations tell the story of what they do, why they do it, and what difference it makes, we get more effective at impacting the issues dear to our hearts, and we reinforce trust in philanthropy as a key agent of change in our communities.

In fact, Foundation Center just launched the #OpenForGood campaign to more actively push foundations to learn from and share with their peers (more info below!). And being open doesn’t have to mean investing in a formal evaluation or publishing a polished report—through GrantCraft we’ve seen funders share their unique (and bite-sized!) wisdom on topics like engaging in the policy spaceconnecting grantees across the world, and getting smarter about site visits. Every bit of knowledge shared makes us stronger.

As Jen shared in her letter last month, I’m moving into a new role as manager of stakeholder engagement at Foundation Center. In plain English: I don’t want to be in “broadcast mode” shouting into a megaphone about what we’re doing and hearing. That misses the point; and it misses the opportunity to regularly connect with you, lift up your voices and knowledge, and spark conversations that can change how we all do our work. While I’ll continue to spread the word about valuable new resources, I’ll also aim to listen more intently to you all about your needs and interests, and share some fun insight into the people and practices that make Foundation Center tick—so catch me on Facebook,Instagram or on the Twittersphere! And hey, let’s start now, here’s asuper quick Twitter poll on what issues you’re itching to know more about.

See you online,
Erin Nylen-Wysocki
Manager of Stakeholder Engagement,
Foundation Center

P.S. What’s a giraffe got to do with philanthropy? Curious folks can find out in our recently released annual report!

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