Innovations in Open Grantmaking

Of its $4.1 trillion fiscal year 2016 budget, the U.S. federal government and its grantmaking agencies will give out billions of dollars in the form of grants to states, localities, and individuals, supporting a dizzying array of activities, from scientific research and economic development to arts, culture, and education.

Grantmaking, in short, plays a vital role in helping our government, our researchers, and our communities confront 21st-century challenges. Despite grantmaking's importance, we have a decidedly 20th-century system in place for deciding how we make these billions of dollars of crucial public investments. To make the most of limited funding—and help build confidence in the ability of public investments to make a positive difference—it is essential for our government agencies to try more innovative approaches to designing, awarding, and measuring their grantmaking activities.

Innovations in Open Grantmaking seeks to provide inspiration and early proof of concept regarding innovative practices at every stage of the grantmaking process. The examples and lessons included can act as suggested guidelines for future research and experimentation around more openly and effectively providing access to public money.

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What's in the Paper?

  • Introduction to Open and Effective Grantmaking: What it is, why it matters
  • Innovations Pre-Granting: Ideation challenges, improving the quality of applications through matchmaking, and prioritizing bottom-up participation
  • Innovations in Granting: Open peer review and participatory judging, evidence-based grantmaking, expert networking, and open alternatives to grants
  • Innovations Post-Granting: Opening data about grants, grantors, and grantees, standardizing reporting, and opening access to
    grant-funded work product
  • Conclusion and Reflection

Of its $4.1 trillion fiscal year 2016 budget, the U.S. federal government and its grantmaking agencies will give out billions of dollars in the form of grants to states, localities, and individuals, supporting a dizzying array of activities, from scientific research and economic development to arts, culture, and education.

Grantmaking, in short, plays a vital role in helping our government, our researchers, and our communities confront 21st-century challenges. Despite grantmaking's importance, we have a decidedly 20th-century system in place for deciding how we make these billions of dollars of crucial public investments. To make the most of limited funding—and help build confidence in the ability of public investments to make a positive difference—it is essential for our government agencies to try more innovative approaches to designing, awarding, and measuring their grantmaking activities.

Innovations in Open Grantmaking seeks to provide inspiration and early proof of concept regarding innovative practices at every stage of the grantmaking process. The examples and lessons included can act as suggested guidelines for future research and experimentation around more openly and effectively providing access to public money.

Tweet about this paper using #opengrantmaking.

What's in the Paper?

  • Introduction to Open and Effective Grantmaking: What it is, why it matters
  • Innovations Pre-Granting: Ideation challenges, improving the quality of applications through matchmaking, and prioritizing bottom-up participation
  • Innovations in Granting: Open peer review and participatory judging, evidence-based grantmaking, expert networking, and open alternatives to grants
  • Innovations Post-Granting: Opening data about grants, grantors, and grantees, standardizing reporting, and opening access to
    grant-funded work product
  • Conclusion and Reflection