Initiatives: Pros and Cons

Although the approach is by no means new, it is undeniable that initiative-based grantmaking can be a very powerful way for a foundation to pursue its mission. As with any approach to philanthropy, however, trade-offs are inescapable. Any foundation choosing to employ initiatives should therefore be aware of both the advantages and the opportunity costs involved in this type of programming.


There are at least six major advantages of initiative-based grantmaking. Some of these advantages are powerful indeed.

1.  Focus. It is all too easy for foundations to suffer from the sin that Frederick Gates, John D. Rockefeller Sr.'s philanthropic adviser, called scatteration. Potentially high-impact opportunities beckon ...

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