Impact Grants Initiative

The Impact Grants Initiative (IGI) employs a high engagement and empowerment approach to grantmaking.

Modeled on social venture philanthropy, the IGI was launched in 2011 to provide donor-participants with an effective, “hands-on” way to make a real difference in our community by making grants that focus on a pressing community need.

Through the IGI approach, we have made substantial grants to both new and traditional nonprofits with the multi-year funding needed to be successful. This process has proved so successful that we have launched many subsequent grant rounds for engaging young adults and families in the Bay Area, for the Russian-Jewish community, in Israel, and in Eastern Europe.

How IGI Works

Donors involved in this approach identify pressing needs in the community, work together to focus the scope and define realistic outcomes, elicit and evaluate grant proposals, and conduct site visits that provide an on-the-ground look at how these programs function. Then IGI donor-participants collectively select a group of organizations to fund and work with them to set goals that will result in measurable change. Together, they organize a learning community to help share insights and develop best practices. Many IGI donor-participants remain advisors to and advocates for the funded organizations for the duration of the multi-year grant to help ensure their success.

A Model for the Future

The IGI approach will result in more effective grantmaking because:

  • It uses measurable outcomes as a key criterion of success.
  • It provides grants for a longer duration – typically, a three-year period.
  • It empowers organizations by providing donor-participants with a hands-on way to make a real difference in our community, and a more involved experience with the Federation.
  • It requires focused results that support innovation in both program delivery and leadership.

This model reflects the Federation’s move toward more results-oriented grantmaking and better positions the organization to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.

IGIs in the News


For more information, please contact:
Julie Golde
Senior Director of Community Impact