Novel Metric for Assessing Non-Profit Grantmaking Impact

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2020

Authors

Rommel, Amy
James, Joel

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Abstract

Purpose: Non-profit organizations give to specific mission-driven programs and are tasked with assessing their level of overall impact and progress to achieving that mission. A novel scientific impact metric was developed to evaluate the Rainwater Charitable Foundation's (RCF) medical grant making in hopes to inform future funding decisions within the organization. Methods: This novel metric assesses several years of impact factors from publications resulting from that organization's funding as a function of total grantmaking dollars over several years. The formula Σ (# articles/year) (Impact Factor/Journal) was used to calculate total journal publication impact scores. Three-year average grant making for each non-profit organization was calculated using data from IRS 990's, annual reports and financial statements. Impact per grant making dollar was calculated using the formula Σ (Impact Scores) / (Previous 3yr-Avg Grant making). This novel metric was used to assess several organizations' impact including RCF, Lundbeck Foundation, Alzheimer's Association, Michael J Foxx Foundation and CHDI. In addition to this impact analysis, the organizations were assessed through publicly available data and interviews as to their grantmaking, infrastructure, and internal best practices. Results: RCF and Lundbeck had the highest 'impact/millions of grant dollars allocated ratios', and both were found to heavily use diverse internal and external scientific advisory boards (SAB's) and a board of trustee approvals to direct their decision making in their grant making process. Conclusion: This study suggests that using diverse internal and external SAB's, and board of trustee approvals are integral in maximizing grantmaking impact.

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