The Criteria Project: Creating a Meaningful Methodology for Evaluating Core Operating Support and Grants

By Susan Friedman

Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA), Winter 2010

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Jewish federations as funders, differentiating them from the majority of traditional private foundations, is that most federations designate some significant portion of their support to affiliation grants of core operating support: dependable, flexible dollars used at the agencies' discretion to further their own missions and that of the federation. The value of these unrestricted affiliation grants has always been understood by their nonprofit recipients, but only more recently has begun to be appreciated by the private grantmaking community. Once viewed with skepticism by funders, as fodder for the "black hole" of fungible agency budgets, these grants are increasingly being redefined as the "oxygen" that allows nonprofi ts to survive and thrive, thereby providing the platform from which to test innovation grants and foster the health of local communities. However despite this growing recognition of the critical role that core operating support plays in the health and effectiveness of nonprofi ts, broad acceptance of this approach by funders is still stymied by the challenges of evaluating its impact. As opposed to project-based grants, for which evaluation parameters are circumscribed and methodologies well established, the assessment of core operating support grants requires the funder to achieve an understanding of how the agency as a whole helps the philanthropy achieve its aims.

Topic: Methodology, Management and Administration, Philanthropy and Fundraising, Development, Jewish Federations, Allocations, Organizational Philosophy, Fundraising and Philanthropy

Name of Publication: Journal of Jewish Communal Service

Editor: Naron Chalew, Gail

Volume/Issue: Vol.85/No.1

Page Number(s): 62-65

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Genre: Article

Coverage: New York, New York , United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Friedman, Susan. The Criteria Project: Creating a Meaningful Methodology for Evaluating Core Operating Support and Grants. Journal of Jewish Communal Service. Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA). Winter 2010: 62-65. http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=8129


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