We are deeply grateful for the time you spent in responding to our Grantee Perception Survey. You offered a great deal of wisdom on many different facets of our work. Here are some headlines of what we heard from you, as well as our commitments to you for responsive action.
You said: we appreciate GAR’s interest in our organization, and we want gar staff to get to know us better.
We hear you! We understand that you, our hardworking partners, want to spend more time, not necessarily in the context of the grant application process, getting to know us and allowing us to get to know you better. We are shaping up a variety of ways to make this happen – from “office hours” where grantees can sign up for an informal live or virtual check-in, to “walking meetings” when you can catch up with a GAR program person while taking a walk, to site pop-ins where a GAR staffer can see your program in action. We also know that one size does not fit all. We will not be requiring anyone to spend more time with us; we’ll simply create some new avenues for those who wish to do so.
Now that it is a little safer to get out and about, you’ll also see more of the GAR staff at your convenings, performances, and events.
You said: we appreciate GAR’s leadership on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion and we want to learn alongside you.
GAR has been on its own learning journey with regard to DEI issues and how they show up in our work. We will be sharing more about our learning through our blog, our newsletters, and perhaps through some informal convenings. (Keep an eye out for a feature on this topic in July). By no means do we have all the answers, but we’d value the opportunity to share what we are learning and to glean more from you about what you are learning.
You said: GAR needs to look at organizations that are closest to the issues the foundation cares about, especially organizations led by people of color. The foundation’s work should be more connected to such groups.
We agree! We are actively working to deepen our knowledge of and relationships with Black-led organizations doing important work in our community. We have also put together a Community Voice Committee comprised of Black Akronites who share a depth and breadth of perspective about our community. We are working with this talented group to gain better insights into how our work “lands” in the community and how we can achieve outcomes that are more meaningful.
We are preparing to embark on a strategic planning process later this year, which will give us a prime opportunity to think differently about how we live out our DEI values in the work. More to come on this.
You Said: GAR Has a “bird’s Eye View” of the Community, Across a Number of Issue Areas. We Want You to Do More to Bring Us Together, to Help Us Network With Other Nonprofits, to Build Relationships, and to Learn.
We will offer more convenings. Some will be shaped around a specific topic or issue of interest; others may be a “brown bag” opportunity to get together and talk about what your organization is facing; still, others may be a chance for you to learn from a speaker or trainer. Stay tuned to our website, newsletter, and social media for more information on convenings.
We will also do more to highlight quality nonprofit training opportunities offered by others in the region. Again, we’ll rely on our social media channels to disseminate more of this information.
You said: can you make our lives a little easier from a process perspective?
We can sure try! We are currently reviewing our grant application with an eye toward streamlining and simplifying wherever we can. We will keep you posted as this work progresses.
You said: can GAR help us meet other funders and pursue other funding opportunities in support of our work?
In some cases, relative to some topics, GAR is well-positioned to help grantee partners meet funders and potentially access new funding streams, particularly with national funders. We can’t do it in every case due to our limited bandwidth, but we will be revisiting areas where it makes sense for us to do more. This work will be considered in our upcoming strategy-shaping sessions.
You said: we want to have more dialogue with GAR about what works well and what could be better.
We appreciate that. We’ll be adding a “Comment Box” feature to our website soon so that we can keep the conversation flowing.
This is not the end of what we will take from the Grantee Perception Survey process; on the contrary, it’s just the beginning. There is nothing more valuable to us than candid, constructive feedback. We greatly appreciate your effort to weigh in, and we commit to making the most of your input!