Core Course Descriptions

The Grantmaking School’s core courses prepare practitioners to deepen their understanding, strengthen their skills, and ultimately advance their personal and professional impact in philanthropy. View our events calendar to find upcoming open courses, or contact us to learn more about private and custom offerings.

Philanthropy 101

Philanthropy 101 grounds new professionals in the basics of foundations, nonprofits, grantmaking, and the field of philanthropy. Course participants gain a deeper understanding of what philanthropy is, what makes it distinct from the business and government sectors, and how their own roles fit into the broader field. The course introduces many essential concepts — including ethics, accountability, equity, and power dynamics — along with providing an overview of key legal issues and the fundamentals of grantmaking.

Financial Analysis for Grantmakers

Dive into the fundamentals of grant proposal financial review and analysis — including organization and project budgets, financial statements, audits, and the IRS Form 990/990EZ — with an emphasis on centering equity in practice. Participants workshop the due diligence process together to analyze and interpret data relevant to a real-life proposal and arrive at a decision to recommend funding (or not). Course content is consistently updated to account for changes in FASB regulations and the financial implications of current events.

Proposal Analysis in Grantmaking

Why, what, and how projects and organizations are identified and funded has a lasting impact on communities and populations. Participants in this course explore how the processes of proposal solicitation and analysis can set the stage to build capacity, foster meaningful relationships, advance equity, and authentically share power — all within the context of a foundation’s overall mission and grantmaking philosophy. This course is equally valuable for program officers new to the role, or veterans looking to refine their process.

Persuasive Writing in Grantmaking

Whether preparing a grant recommendation for the board, developing a strategy document to share with stakeholders, or drafting blog posts, writing persuasively is an essential component of a grantmaker’s role. This interactive, group-coaching workshop focuses on sharpening the analytical skills that are the basis for good writing. Participants bring their own writing samples and put new skills into practice with our grantmaking experts, with additional time to focus on individual foundations’ unique requirements.

Strategy and Evaluation in Grantmaking

Strategy and Evaluation in Grantmaking is a two-day learning experience designed to help you develop or refine your grantmaking strategy and to develop evaluation approaches that support learning, strategy improvement, and promote equitable evaluation practices. This course gives you the opportunity to examine the history, strategy, design, and theory behind the process of programmatic and strategy evaluation and helps equip you with the necessary tools to respond to the diverse nature of evaluation in foundations.