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Special Grants

Applying a Vibrant Resource for Philanthropic Impact

The landscape of U.S. philanthropy is populated with many foundations that are guided by a long-term commitment to move the needle in a finite set of issue areas. These foundations frequently also hold funds that can be flexibly deployed for nascent opportunities, innovative ideas, emergencies, local causes, and/or areas of special interest to their leaders.

Such funds support a range of pursuits and go by a variety of names, including but not limited to “president’s initiatives,” “special initiatives,” “special projects,” and “special grants” – the term of art used by the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

A Foundation essay takes a closer look at this aspect of philanthropy, informing others who are conducting or considering special grantmaking.

Special GrantmakingSpecial Grantmaking: A Purposeful, Flexible Resource for Foundations

This essay provides perspective and practice considerations for those involved in designing or managing special grant funds. Authors Matthew La Rocque and Barbara Kibbe explore the purpose of special grants, address how they are made and monitored, and review the advantages and challenges of this form of grantmaking.