1. I think that the most meaningful and impactful part of the experience for me was the site visits. Reading about the organizations gives you a pretty good understanding about what each organization is about and what they value, but seeing the organization in person is much more touching and leaves a much stronger impact on me as I was able to fully submerge myself into the lives of both those who work in the organization as well as those who the organization helps out.
2. The most challenging thing for me was to obviously narrow the organizations down before I saw them. Reading about an organization gives you an overview, but when all the organizations are displaying all of their best qualities it makes it really hard to chose one over another like you can when you actually go on the site visits and meet the staff and see the enviorment.
3. I personally don't think that I would change much about the grant making process. One thing I did notice however was that looking at the websites really did help us come to a decision as opposed to just looking at the RFP. I know this could potentially add a lot of time to the already long grant reading process, but I feel like looking at the website for at least some of the organizations could be extremely helpful in understanding and organization's values and goals.
I found that visiting Home Away from Homelessness and seeing where the money would be going to was the most impactful aspect of the entire process. Although I was relieved to see that the money was going to the organization I had chosen, it was still difficult to eliminate other nonprofits from contention which I believed would have had a similar impact on the homeless community in SF. If I were to change anything about the application process it would have to be the grading and ranking of nonprofits by the point system. I feel that there are more effective ways of narrowing down the list such as having students pick their favorite 10 or so and proceeding from there in a similar way. There were several applications which scored poorly on the point system due to grammatical errors whose nonprofits I would have liked to seen in contention for the $20,000.
I would also rewrite the grading rubric so that it corresponded to the question we actually asked
1) I think what I found to be the most meaningful and impactful aspect of the grant making process were the site visits. They gave us an opportunity to connect with several of the organizations in a more "hands on" way, rather than being separated by a computer screen. They allowed for us to witness community spaces, while maintaining privacy for the people within the community. We also were able to witness many different leadership styles, and structures of power that ultimately played big roles in our final decision.
2) What I found to be the most challenging aspect of this process, was narrowing down the top 3 organizations. I think filtering out a top 10 is far easier because you don't have to consider very logistical parts of an organization, you can just really support their overall goal. However in narrowing it down to the top 3 we had to consider an umbrella of topics regarding the organization (budget, leadership, programs, etc). Eliminating very strong and worthy organizations was extremely challenging, and I think personally made me feel quite guilty.
3) I found this process to be very well organized and surprisingly simple considering the grant. However, I think we may have experienced a lot of "group think" as my opinions (and others as well) were often shaped by other voices in the room. It's not that I would prefer the process to be anonymous, because I recognize that the discussions are extremely helpful in gaining new perspectives. But I did see my opinions and original ideas shift as a result of the majority of the class feeling a particular way.
1) I think I found learning all the different ways to combat homelessness most meaningful because going into the project I assumed there were only a few generic ways to combat homelessness. After reading the forty something proposals I saw that although there is one more "generic" way to combat homelessness there is also other ways in which people combat homelessness that stem off of the more generic way that I went into the project thinking. This is impactful because it shows me that for every issue there is always multiple creative effective ways to solve that issue.
2)I think the most challenging part for me was being able to read all the proposals after I new the organization I liked most, I say this because I was tempted to be very bias and rate all the other proposals off of the one I liked and see if the matched up. Looking back at it I was probably bias but I found it hard to thoroughly read every proposal even if I didn't like the organization from the start. I think this was my biggest challenge but once I got passed that I was surprised at how effective all the organizations methods were that is something that I didn't think would be as effective.
3) I think I would change the time frae so that if we wanted we had more time for site visits because I think that I had visited some of the organizations on the top ten than it probably would have changed my opinion.
The parts of this class that I found most impactful were honestly the small things in the beginning of the class. The talks about what philanthropy is and what it meant to us, the going out into the neighborhood with 25 dollars. I think this was truly the most meaningful because it was completely our work and our thoughts, which later seemed to be somewhat constricted in later parts of the class. While we were still going good, it wasn't necessarily what I had imagined and felt almost too pressuring and in-genuine to have to eliminate organizations. I was surprised that out of the many organizations that I wasn't really inclined to give the money to one a lot more than another. I guess that goes to show how hard it is to be perfect.
1) WHAT YOU FOUND MOST MEANINGFUL AND IMPACTFUl
Although I didn't have the time to go on all of the site visits, the visit to Dolores Community Center was very meaningful and impactful. I feel that homelessness is a larger systemic issues, and for me it was reassuring to know that places like Dolores exist, and that all the RFP’s we received are trying to combat a larger institutionalized issue. Additionally, I feel that exploring homelessness in connection to our lives and the bay area was very meaningful and impactful. The research we did, and exploration around homeless helped debunk a lot of misconceptions I had about homelessness, and also helped draw more attention to the binaries created within being homeless.
2) WHAT WAS MOST CHALLENGING AND SURPRISING
The most challenging thing for me was choosing recipient, and determining which organization was “better”, and a “better fit” for the grant. I am not sure why, but I felt all the organization were great, and for me it's hard to critique and judge something that I have an outside view on, and then deem it “not worth the $20,000.
3) ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT OUR GRANTMAKING PROCESS
I wouldn't change anything.
1) While I did not attempt many site visit, my trip to Dolores Street was very meaningful. As a society, we often discuss how we would like to make an impact in our communities or the world at large, but not often do we pursue this route. To have the opportunity to meet social workers who were devoting their lives in order to light the hardship of homelessness for others was very inspiring. Additionally, their description of their progress over the years (extra beds, wider variety on the menu) was a testament to their hard work and efforts to provide the best services possible for the population they are serving.
2) Two challenging aspects of the process were reading all of the RFP's, and eventually coming to a decision. Interestingly, this created a bit of a paradox; sometimes I felt that we had choose to many organizations. The, coupled with their amazing track records and unique approach to the issue of homelessness, I did not want to discredit one more than another. While A Home Away from Homelessness is a fantastic nonprofit, at the end of the day it is difficult to see 39 other capable organizations walk away empty handed.
3) If I were to change something about the grant making process, I would be more explicit on the RFP and ask organizations to discuss their leadership structure at a bit more length. While no organization failed to list their directors, heads, etc, we did not always have a strong idea of their function within the organization, how long they had been working there, and other key information. Otherwise, the process was very comprehensive and the ideal way to evaluate so many non profits.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.