Professional Development for Grantmakers
Highly rated by foundations across the nation, The Grantmaking School helps you build critical knowledge and skills across every stage of the grantmaking cycle.

Expand your understanding of the sector.
Increase your knowledge of the philanthropic sector by learning with and from leaders in the field.

Strengthen competencies and skills.
Develop or refresh core grantmaking skills within the context of your foundation’s philosophy.

Network with experts in the field.
Limited course sizes ensure the opportunity to collaborate with grantmaking peers and experts.

View the work in context.
Uncover the sector’s history, dig in to current trends, and situate your own work and impact.

Foundations Served
The Grantmaking School has been providing top-quality professional development for grantmakers and donors like you for more than 15 years.
Grantmakers Reached
Together, we’re creating an ecosystem of highly effective, connected grantmakers and donors with the skills and knowledge to do more good.
States & Countries
Grantmakers from more than 25 states, the District of Columbia, and at least three countries have participated in our courses.

Grounded in Research-Based Competencies

Our competency model for foundation program officers — rigorously validated by fieldwide experts — maps the knowledge, skills, and behaviors of successful program staff. These competencies form the bedrock of our professional development courses.

Cross-Cutting Competencies

From inclusive practice to strategic thinking, these competencies represent the professional skills and knowledge program officers need to be successful across all aspects of their work.

Relationships & Field Building

Sector knowledge and capacity-building are examples of the types of skills program officers rely on to engage with the broader philanthropic sector and recognize opportunities.

Proposals & Due Diligence

Once potential opportunities have been identified, program officers shift to proposal solicitation and analysis. This process relies on a broad range of technical skills and knowledge including financial analysis and organizational assessment, all while honoring the foundation’s theory of philanthropy and incorporating equitable processes.

Strategy, Evaluation, and Learning

Program officers rely on strategy development, implementation, and evaluation design and management to implement the grants process and engage in continuous improvement.


The Program Officer Competency Model©

Foundation program officers play a critical, nuanced role at the intersection of resources, strategies, and stakeholders. The Program Officer Competency Model is intended to help philanthropy practitioners and organizations chart a path towards transformative grantmaking and trust-based relationships. This model especially elevates the importance of demonstrating core skills and abilities over the holding of traditional credentials and formal networks — all in the service of supporting professional and personal fulfillment.

The Proposal Analysis in Grantmaking course from the Johnson Center was one of the most helpful and engaging trainings I took in 2020, especially as a person new to philanthropy and grantmaking. The course outline and notes I saved from that experience are proving to be very useful in planning for AAACF’s 2021 robust grant programs.”

Amina Iqbal

Senior Community Investment Officer, Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation

Amina Iqbal

Senior Community Investment Officer, Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation

Since taking Financial Analysis in Grantmaking, I feel much more confident in my ability to analyze our grantees’ finances and, most importantly, to work with them to strengthen their financial positioning.”

Chris Crawford

Senior Associate, Democracy Fund

Chris Crawford

Senior Associate, Democracy Fund

Resource for grantmakers

The Foundation Review

Launched in 2009, The Foundation Review is the nation’s first peer-reviewed journal of philanthropy written by and for foundation staff, boards, and those who work with them. New issues, published quarterly, share evaluation results, tools, and knowledge about the philanthropic sector to improve grantmaking and support greater impact and innovation.

Interested in custom trainings?

Our expert instructors are available to provide private offerings of our courses for your organization or network. We are also happy to work with you to design a program that fits your foundation's particular needs or focus areas. Let's work together to find what's right for you — including offerings delivered online or on site.