The Other Foundation, an Atlantic Philanthropies grantee working to advance the rights and well-being of LGBTI people in Southern Africa, wanted its first grant making initiative to be special. They devised a unique process dubbed "participatory grant making" that is a model for transparency and simplicity.
Rather than consider grant proposals entirely on their own, the foundation's Board asked the public to nominate a panel of "peer reviewers" to help review and judge grant applications. The 12 peer reviewers included academics and activists from six different countries in southern Africa. They worked in four teams, each team facilitated by a board member, to come to a consensus about which projects to recommend for funding. After reviewing a total of 114 proposals, the teams approved 32 grants, across five countries in Southern Africa, totaling about ZAR 3,1 million ($310,000).
The report outlines the development and implementation of this unique participatory grant making process. The sample documents, assessment materials and conclusions in the report should have wide application for foundations and philanthropists interested in more accountable and transparent ways of making grants.