IAC Year-End Report: What We Learned

The mandate of IAC is to monitor the progress of our grantees for a period of three years, communicate the impact of our grants to our membership, and provide feedback to the grant committee. We visit the grantees to appreciate and learn more about the work they do, celebrate their successes, and understand their challenges, all in a supportive manner. The visits over three years allow us to build deep meaningful partnerships with them.

This year, the IAC comprised of 50 members including 15 Executive Directors (EDs) of past grantees. We invite the EDs to join IAC to gain from their incomparable and unique perspective of running non-profits. Their valuable informed insight helps us better understand the challenges faced by our grantees. A heartfelt thank you to the EDs for their precious gift of time and talent: Stan Ledington (The Health Center), Deb Salls (Bike Works), Holly Jacobson (Path With Art), Jorge Barón (Northwest Immigration Rights Project), Line Sandsmark (Shunpike), Annie Blackledge (The Mockingbird Society), John Bradshaw (Seattle Shakespeare Company), Deeann Puffert (Child Care Resources), John Floberg (Washington State Parks Foundation), Brain Knowles (Bailey-Boushay House), Kate Tibone (Powerful Voices), Christine Charbonneau (Planned Parenthood of the Great NW and the Hawaiian Islands), Helen McGovern-Pilant (Emergency Food Network), Mary Ellen Stone (King County Sexual Assault Resource Center) and John Morse (Amara).

Thanks also to the amazing IAC team members for their commitment to reading the grantee reports, conducting effective site visits, submitting detailed written reports, and giving verbal presentations at the meetings, followed always by a robust, lively, and informative discussion! We share the grantee reports with the entire membership through the weekly newsletters, and hope you’ve enjoyed these updates.

As always, we learn a lot from our site visits each year. One topic was the rising importance of grants for general operating costs. General operating expenses continue to be one of the biggest fundraising challenges in nonprofit grant writing. While they may seem less tangible, they are necessary for the everyday operations of any given nonprofit. Often, those are what an organization needs most, at times giving them breathing room during a trying time. When nonprofit organizations are able to invest adequately in staffing and infrastructure— “overhead”—they are better able to carry out their mission.

We also saw a higher than usual turnover of Executive Directors among our grantees. An ED’s job is taxing and challenging in a daily competitive atmosphere. Our wrap-up session had us reflecting on ways we can support EDs, share common trends and an overview of current issues with our grantees, and perhaps facilitate conversations between groups with shared interests.

This year, the Pooled Fund Grant Committee honed their criteria to focus on increasing equity and reducing disparities in communities throughout our state. Their emphasis is on organizations focused on providing services to communities affected by inequity due to race, gender identity, and/or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination and/or exclusion. Click here to read about the five new grantees we will be visiting on IAC next year. It will be interesting to see how the new grant criteria impacts the work done by IAC, and we had a great discussion at our last meeting on just that. What a wonderful time to join IAC and find out for yourself!

Let me close with a sincere thanks to our remarkable Foundation staff and a special thanks to Aviva, whose immense behind-the-scenes-work keeps the wheels of IAC running so smoothly! 

A warm welcome to incoming IAC Chair 2019-20 Margit Rankin and vice chair Ginny Trethewey!

Thank you.

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