This report follows the journey of one foundation from its inception to the present day. It highlights the work of an effective funder, and shares lessons that can be applied to funding more widely. The Stone Family Foundation is an example of how a relatively new and mid-sized foundation has looked to scale up and develop how it works and what it funds. The lessons learned from implementing the major grants program influenced the shape of its subsequent WASH funding. While this exact journey may be specific to the Stone Family Foundation, the general process -- starting out, planning, delivering, learning and then adapting -- will be relevant to other funders grappling with the same questions about how to become an effective funder.
- The process that the foundation used to develop its strategy and choose NGOs for its major grants program included: 1) a strong portfolio of charities; 2) well-structured funding; 3) a good context for monitoring; and 4) important lessons.
- For a foundation starting to build up a portfolio of grantees, it is important to maintain a flexible and reflective approach, continuing to learn while doing, because the process of making grants will help to bring out further interests and opportunities, as well as lead to a deeper awareness and understanding of the sector and where funders can have more impact.
- As an initiative develops and scales, staff will often require different skill sets. The skills necessary to design and set up a successful pilot are not necessarily the same as those required to scale it and put in place the necessary systems and processes. Managing this transition, potentially by changing staff or developing staffs' skills, can be difficult.
- Although there is no one template to follow, there are a set of common questions and dilemmas faced by funders.