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A Recipe for Success, Part 2

In honor of National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month, we bring you the second in a two-part series on the Johnson Scholarship Program. Now in its 26th year, the program provides scholarships for students with disabilities and a network of support services to enhance student success.

Research shows that there is a great gap between educational expectations and reality for students with disabilities.

A 2006 National Longitudinal Transition Study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs and Institute of Education Sciences showed that 85 percent of youth with disabilities plan to complete some form of post-secondary education (26 percent expected to complete a post-secondary vocational, technical or trade school; 34 percent expected to graduate from a two-year college; 25 percent expected to graduate from a four-year college). However, the same study also indicates that only one in 10 of these students actually complete any sort of post-secondary education (5 percent graduated from a post-secondary vocational, technical or trade school; 4 percent graduated from a two-year college; 1 percent graduated from a four-year college).

Group of students pointing towards Disability Resource CenterThe Johnson Scholarship Program helps to narrow the gap between expectation and attainment. Data kept by Florida Atlantic University finds that 66.1 percent of the students receiving at least one scholarship disbursement have graduated and another 20 percent are still enrolled in post-secondary education. The role of the Disability Support Services (DSS) office in helping students through this process cannot be overstated.

The good work of the DSS in delivering the scholarship program to students is enabled by its partnership with the Johnson Scholarship Foundation and the Florida Board of Governors’ office. The scholarship program depends upon a unique collaboration among the philanthropic, higher education and legislative sectors.

State university system of florida board of governors logoThe Board of Governors Office performs essential leadership functions. It serves as a liaison between the Foundation and the universities, disseminates information on best practices, and helps to standardize processes. It manages and distributes the scholarship money to the various SUSF schools and it also provides expertise on legislative and policy changes that might affect students with disabilities.

The Board of Governors scales the support of students with disabilities to a state level, providing a greater platform for advocacy and building allies across sector lines in Florida. Such allies are invaluable as students with disabilities graduate from college and pursue employment.

At the heart of the partnership among JSF, the Board of Governor’s Office and the campus DSS is a one-day annual meeting, convened by JSF. The purpose of this meeting is to review the performance of the scholarship program, discuss developments affecting students with disabilities and best practices and opportunities for learning and collaboration. Professionals from outside the SUSF are sometimes invited to attend the annual meeting and speak on issues relevant to students with disabilities and their educators.

Group photo of peopleThe underlying reason for JSF’s mission in education is to facilitate meaningful employment. Unfortunately, there is huge underemployment of people with disabilities, even those with university degrees. According to the Current Population Survey (CPS) data released in June 2017, the unemployment rates for people with disabilities is more than double the rate for people without disabilities. The under employment of students with disabilities has been a recurring topic of discussion at JSF Scholarship annual meetings.

The Johnson Scholarship Program for students with disabilities is based upon a unique working relationship among JSF, the State of Florida, the SUSF and the university campuses, particularly the DSS at each campus. It is this partnership that has made the scholarship program successful. We have repeatedly noted that the real value of the program is in the work of the people involved (rather than the money).

Graphic saying "we're all able to do anything!"The program builds on infrastructure, expertise and resources that are already in place in the state of Florida.  The Board of Governors is the governing body for its 12 state universities and DSS are well established at each campus. The delivery of the Scholarship Program causes additional work for these partners but the incremental cost is small compared to the benefits.

The JSF SUSF Scholarship Program is a proven winner that is easily replicable in other states. The administrative machinery, DSS and a philanthropic sector are already in place. All that is required is an individual or group of individuals to champion the program.

For more information about Johnson Scholarship Foundation, visit

A Recipe for Success

In honor of National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month, we bring you the first in a two-part series on the Johnson Scholarship Program. Now in its 26th year, the program provides scholarships for students with disabilities and a network of support services to enhance student success.

What if scholarships weren’t really about the money?

As a private philanthropic foundation, the Johnson Scholarship Foundation invests to obtain the highest possible rate of return. The return on its scholarship grants is defined by the rate of successful matriculation and completion of post-secondary education.

JSF has learned that scholarships that include wraparound support are more likely to help a student to succeed. Money provides the financial stability and opportunity for post-secondary education, but it is not what gets a student through. Non-monetary supports attached to a scholarship contribute more to post-secondary success than money. This is especially true for students with disabilities.

state university system of florida board of governors logoJSF’s scholarship for people with disabilities attending a school within the State University System of Florida (SUSF) delivers both scholarship and non-monetary support by way of a collaboration of JSF, the SUSF and the Florida Legislature. Scholarships are awarded to students with disabilities who enroll at any one of the 12 SUSF campuses.

The program was founded in 1991. It began with an agreement between JSF’s founder, Theodore Johnson, and the State of Florida, which was expressed by an Act of the Legislature entitled “…The Johnson Scholarship Program.”  This Act provides for a scholarship program for students with disabilities to be funded by JSF. It also provides for a 50 percent state match for JSF grants and charges the Department of Education to administer the program.

Over the past 26 years JSF has made grants exceeding $9 million, which have all gone to student scholarships, together with the state match. However, the State’s commitment to administer the scholarship program has proven even more valuable than its matching funding.

Johnson Scholarship Foundation logoThe Florida Board of Governor’s office and each campus of the State University System form the backbone of a comprehensive student support system, which accompanies the scholarship. This is the secret sauce that makes the scholarship work. The award of the scholarship may capture a student’s attention, but the real magic of the scholarship lies in the mentoring and assistance that goes with it.

This is not to downplay the importance of money. Without it, JSF has no mission and there are no scholarships. Money is assuredly the main course. But it is the secret sauce that enables students to sit down and stay for dinner. And it is the secret sauce that students remember long afterward. Scholarships plus Supports equals Achievement ($ + S = A).

Secret sauce can be defined as the personal, non-monetary support, wrapped around the scholarship. The Disability Support Services (DSS) at each campus plays a critical role. It advertises the scholarship, receives the applications, leads the selection process, makes the award and provides ongoing support to scholarship recipients. JSF believes that the DSS’ ownership and control of this scholarship process and the support that they provide to each student throughout their college careers is central to the increased persistence and graduation rates of students with disabilities on each campus.

inclusion drives innovation posterThe scholarship program provides reciprocal benefits to the DSS offices, one of which is enhanced awareness of disability issues in other areas of the university. Ten of the 12 DSSs surveyed indicated that they use a selection committee to determine scholarship recipients. The selection committees are comprised of faculty and professionals drawn from various university departments. This increases knowledge of the special aspects and requirements of students with disabilities, thus producing allies for these students across campus. Another enhancement of the DSS profile within the university stems from a supplementary matching grant for scholarships that JSF offers to each SUSF campus. The local DSS office typically takes a leadership role in negotiating the grant and advocating for the matching funds within the university and the development office.

The most important reciprocal benefit that the scholarship provides is the enhanced opportunities for students to connect with the DSS staff and services. Eight out of 12 DSS offices report an increase in the use of services because the scholarship has heightened awareness of the office and the services it has to offer.

The enhanced relationship between the DSS and scholarship recipient gives the DSS access to the recipient’s academic progress. Some schools take advantage of this to determine when they need to offer appropriate guidance, support or to consider or reconsider accommodations. Even the act of applying for the scholarship can help students form social and support networks.

Ability Not Disability Graphic

The benefits of mentoring and support for post-secondary students, particularly those at risk, seem self-evident. Anecdotal evidence abounds. However, there is not much reported research. In Mentoring Individuals with Disabilities in Postsecondary Education: A Review of the Literature, Brown, Takahashi, and Roberts find distinct themes in the research that was available:

Within these 10 articles, however, several themes did emerge, including: a) the positive role of technology; b) the desire to use current mentees to become future mentors; c) a focus on specific disability groups, such as learning disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, and disabilities perceived as mild; d) the usefulness of mentoring for academic, career, and social skills; and e) the value of establishing long-term mentoring relationships.

The DSS at each SUSF campus responds to most of the themes identified by the authors. These offices typically provide adaptive technology, expertise and focus on specific disability groups, academic and social mentoring and long-term relationships. The JSF Scholarship Program also strengthens long-term relationships between the DSS and scholarship recipients. In addition to the annual application and award process, local DSS offices organize recognition events attended by students, parents and faculty. Many times, JSF representatives are in attendance as well.

Next week: Bridging the gap between educational expectations and reality for students with  disabilities.

3 Tips for Measuring the Success of Your Grant

As a funder, we are well-aware of how frustrating it is to measure success. The ever-present question about this very thing oftentimes yields ever-elusive responses. So howplant growing out of a stack of coins can you nail down what it means to succeed? And how can you provide tangible results?

  1. Know the nature of your project

Grantees are the ones providing on-the-ground support and are the experts in both their fields and programs. At JSF, we value their input as such. When applying for grants, keep this in mind. You are the expert.

Know the nature of your project – the population it will impact and the ideal picture of success. Brainstorm outcomes that reflect the core purpose of the project, and do so with as much clarity and brevity as possible.

  1. Be realistic

Keep the ideal outcome in mind, then pair it with reality. The nature of the project is just letters spelling be realisticas important as the reality of the project’s environment. Ask questions like:

  • How long will it take for the ideal outcome to succeed, if ever?
  • Is there a difference in short, intermediate, and long-term goals?
  • What is a tangible goal at each programmatic stage?

Let these questions guide how you measure success. Create a timeline in which you envision specific measures of growth, and be as objective as you can in this stage. Funders like to know what to expect and when to expect it. Be honest, realistic, and objective in your application so that everyone can be on the same page throughout the entire process.

  1. Leave room

Nothing ever goes 100% as planned. While you are determining measures of outcomes, leave room for flexibility. Be honest about potential and predicted setbacks at the

Young design team brainstorming together in creative office

beginning stages of the grant, and build in a “pivot plan” if or when these happen.

But don’t just plan for setbacks, leave some wiggle-room for extra, unexpected positive outcomes. These might not be things you planned to report on, but they’re vital to measuring the success and the impact of your program. As the grant progresses and the project evolves, be aware of the ripple-effect, and keep in mind that success doesn’t always look like what you originally thought it would.

3 Ways Social Media can Enhance Your Philanthropy

Last year, we shared a post on JSF’s social media strategy and how we planned to use social media to expand our communication efforts. Since then, we’ve continued utilizing social graphic of a sign post with social media phrasesmedia and have found a few concrete ways that it can help us support grantees and enhance our philanthropic efforts:

  1. Share the messages of your grantees

Social media is all about sharing a message, so why not use the platform to share the message of the programs and organizations you support? Budgeting for the purchase of ads and campaigns to promote grantee messages is an indicator that your organization is dedicated to supporting grant-funded programs through unique and flexible means.

  1. Connect

Social media is in its nature social. At JSF, we are consistently search for other graphic of people networkingorganizations and content that we could learn from. We often connect with our grantees and the beneficiaries of those grants, providing the opportunity for a public show of partnership and mutual gratitude.

  1. Partner with grantees to provide individual communications wraparound support

The world of social media and communications is rapidly changing. At JSF, we want our communications strategy to be something that benefits us and the organizations with which we partner. We have found that we can do this creatively – whether it’s technical support, communications expertise, sharing content, or promoting initiatives, there are multiple ways that we, as a private philanthropic foundation, can and should support our grantees via a graphic of raised hand with center hand having a heart shape inside itcommunications strategy.


For more information about JSF or to discuss incorporating social media and a communications strategy in your foundation, visit our website or contact Tori Lackey at

3 Reasons Why Indigenous Students Merit More Philanthropic Investment

Since inception, the Johnson Scholarship Foundation has invested in the lives Indigenous Peoples. Our Founder believed they got a “raw deal” and thought it fair to give back to the communities and people who – through no fault of their own – do not have the same opportunities for success. For over 25 years, Native communities have proved themselves well worth the investment. Here’s why we believe others should consider investing, too:

There’s Great Opportunity

Indigenous Peoples can sometimes be referred to as the “Invisible People” or the “asterisk nation” because in national surveys, Indigenous Peoples either fail to be represented, or are represented by a * indicating the population is too small to survey. However, the National Congress of American Indians reports:

  • The total American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) population (including people who identify with a combination of other races) is 5.2 million or 1.7% of the US students walking along a wet sidewalkpopulation.
  • About 32 percent of Natives are under the age of 18, compared to only 24% of the total population who are under the age of 18. The median age for American Indians and Alaska Natives on reservations is 26, compared to 37 for the entire nation.
  • The AIAN population from birth through age 24 makes up 42 percent of the total AIAN population; whereas the under 25 population for the United States is only 34 percent of the total population.

Needless-to-say, these statistics indicate that Indigenous youth are a notable portion of the population and there is both great opportunity and need for investment in them.

They Have Much to Teach Us

Indigenous students have seen their communities endure hardship and change in the face of the progression of modern society. But they’ve also experienced the traditions of their tribes and have become passionate culture-bearers among the threat of dying cultures. They’ve become advocates for the cultures and their futures, threading a positive narrative students in caps and gowns holding up their diplomaabout Indigenous communities while still challenging and cultivating change. The narrative of native youth is one of hope and resilience. It is one that is dedicated to serving its people and preserving its culture. We all can learn a great deal from Native youth.

Great Results

Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) is a Native youth initiative focused on removing the barriers that stand between Native youth and their opportunity to succeed. It gives a voice to Native youth and encourages them to use their talents, creativity and education to benefit their communities and culture. So far, Native youth have jumped at the opportunity to engage with positive solutions in their communities and society.

United Tribes Technical College Spring Graduation on May 8, 2015

Investing in Indigenous students equips them with the skill and knowledge necessary to implement change and influence culture. It is a way to empower them and indicate faith in their ability to make a difference.


For more information on JSF Indigenous Peoples investments, visit our website.

9 Things to Know Before Applying for a Grant

Grants are the catalyst for much of the change that non-profits create and sustain. But the process of applying and receiving a grant is no small feat. After nearly 25 years in the field, the grant making process of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation has become a well-oiled machine. Having given over $100 million in grants, here are some pieces of knowledge we wish every grantee to know before applying.

First and foremost, grant makers want to get to know you. The President of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation, Malcolm Macleod, puts it this way: “The application process is our way of saying, ‘Let’s dance.’ If we enjoy dancing together, then we’ll ask if they want to go steady.” A grant Pathways grantee agreement is an offer to “go steady.” Wise grant makers won’t ask to be in a relationship with a grantee before first getting to know them, so do your best to build that relational collateral. Be confident in what your organization or program has to offer, invite them to be a part of the impact you intend to make, and be patient in awaiting a response.

Similarly, grant makers want you to get to know them. Letter of Intent and grant applications from organizations or programs that have little or nothing to do with the grant maker’s goals almost always lead to immediate rejection. To work collaboratively, you have to be heading in the same direction on the same road. Before applying for a grant, make sure that you do your research and get to know the mission, values, and grant qualifications of the grant maker. How do your organization or program goals align with theirs? Websites JSF Logoand social media are good outlets for this type of information.

While you are researching, note that every grant making process is different. There’s a saying that “If you’ve met one philanthropic donor, then you’ve met one philanthropic donor.” The same goes for grant making processes. Not only should you get to know the organization from which you are asking funds, you should also get to know their processes. Do they prefer an online application or a hard copy? Are unsolicited requests welcomed or is it invitation only? What is the time frame of the process? Finding these answers will affect the appeal and success of your request.

Next, know what you’re asking for. Whether it is a teacher helping student at a computerfoundation or a private donor, someone has worked hard to earn the money you are asking for, so it is important that you know exactly what you plan to do with it. When engaging in the grant making process, be sure that you have a detailed budget ready to share with the grant maker at the appropriate time. A detailed, thought-out budget lets the funder know that they can trust you will take care of their money.

It’s always a good idea to be straightforward. No grant maker wants to read your organization’s life story. Know what you want to say and do so clearly and concisely. Always pay attention to word counts when answering application questions.

Remember, a good grant maker will recognize the power imbalance. Money should not equal power. A grant maker should not pretend to have the expertise and know-how of your organization’s vision, but they do need to have confidence that you know how to implement it. When building a relationship with a grant maker, find ways to assure them of your expertise. This will give them confidence in you, your program, and the promised impact of their dollars.PBAU grantee

In addition to your expertise, commit to being a financial partner. Make sure that your organization is financially investing in the program. Grant makers want to know that organizations are also stakeholders in their programs because it creates a partnership, helping to answer the question of post-grant sustainability.

Remember that communication is key. To a grant maker, effective and clear communication is a good indicator of who can become a trusted grantee. Ask questions. Often, grant makers are happy to make accommodations to grantees who are upfront, honest, and good at keeping the grant maker in the loop. The desire to communicate is always appreciated.

Finally, get inside the head of a grant maker. Giving is an investment. Investments are calculated risks that result in an expected return. Similarly, giving money to non-profits is an investment. Good grant makers want to make sure their money is actually making a return in the form of sustainable change and impact. Questions about evaluation and sustainability are necessary drudgery. Grant makers are investing in the potential impact of your organization. Be sure to have a good system of evaluation set in place. Make it clear that you understand this and are joining them in the mission of achieving a high return on their investment.

*This week’s blog was originally published in Philanthropy Journal, a publication of NC State University. The original post can be found here.

Success: 3 Insights from a First-Generation College Grad

Gadwin Stewart, a Johnson Scholarship recipient from Palm Beach County, graduated from Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania. He was the first in his family to do so. Gadwin StewartBeing a first-generation college student comes with its many challenges, as indicated by Leslie Pendleton in a recent blog on the University of Florida Opportunity Scholars Program. Overcoming various obstacles, Gadwin thrived in college and graduated with several opportunities ahead of him. He currently teaches at Kipp Delta Collegiate High School and is in pursuit of a graduate degree that will equip him to help kids reach their potential.

Gadwin’s story is one of success. He recently returned to his high school to speak with current Johnson Scholars and shared 3 important keys to success that are valuable and applicable to us all.

  1. Success is earned

“Do what you have to do now, so you get to do what you want to do later.” Few model this idea better than Gadwin. As a high school junior, Gadwin spent hours writing essays and gathering references for college scholarships. While the Johnson Scholarship was a start, Gadwin Stewart speaking to group of studentshe would need more to cover the cost of his post-secondary education. The effort he put in literally payed off. Gadwin received over 20 scholarships, including the Gates Scholarship that gave him a full-ride to his institution. Because the cost of college was covered, Gadwin could join several on-campus clubs and organizations to maximize his learning experience.

What do you have to do now to get where you want to be tomorrow and beyond? Think about the future and let it affect how you’re living right now.

  1. Don’t let anyone downplay your success

It’s tempting to let others downplay your success. But success is earned and your hard work deserves the appropriate amount of recognition. Knowing your value and the value of Mentors, Wanda & Bothe opportunities you’ve created for yourself is an important piece in continuing to strive for accomplishment. When success happens, trace it back to the root of your dedicated
effort and the encouragement of others. When you celebrate, don’t just celebrate what you attained, but reward yourself for the focus and effort it required of you. Then you can refocus and keep moving forward onto your next goal. Doing so will also help guide others in better understanding how to earn their own success.

  1. Your success can lead to others’ success

As a first-generation college student, Gadwin is acutely aware of the impact his success has on his family. When he got accepted to college, he knew that he was paving the way for his younger siblings to believe they, too, could attain a post-secondary education. He used his success to encourage a new precedent for his family members. Success has the students speaking to johnson scholars representatives potential to generate a snowball effect of change, starting with the life of the individual and – if properly handled – growing to include the life of the community. Recognize that your success has potential to make an impact and use it to catalyze and inspire others to succeed, as well.

Take a look around and think about how your very next actions can have consequences on your surroundings and those within it.

3 Ways to Turn Failure into Success

For the third year in a row, the Florida Philanthropic Network hosted its annual “Fail Fest,” a time when funders are given the platform to share and celebrate specific illustration of man with bow and arrow missing targetinstances of failure. Some shared small failures and others leaned into the opportunity for vulnerability and shared oversights that cost them over $2 million.

As funders, grantees and human beings, failure is never a fun topic. Nor is it something that we typically enjoy reflecting upon. But if there’s anything to be learned from FPN’s #FailFest, it’s that failure is an opportunity for success. Here’s why:


When things don’t quite go as planned, we can either hide and hope no one notices, or beside view of an iceberg in the ocean vulnerable and share our shortcomings. The beauty of sharing our shortcomings is that it makes us more trustworthy. Admitting failure tells others that we value honesty and open communication. It takes off a mask of perfectionism and – as a funder – it makes us a little bit more approachable. When we are transparent, we invite others to be, as well.


There’s no better moment to invite others to the table than when our own solutions and strategies have failed us. Failure can reap its rewards when it leads us to valuing someone illustration of a man standing on another man's shoulders holding a light bulbelse’s input.

When things haven’t gone according to plan, do you wrack your brain to find another way? Or do you accept the failure and turn to outsiders for their support and advice? Diversity of thought often leads to better solutions and can empower others in the process. Whose voice can be of help and value to you? Sometimes it’s only out of the desperation following failure that we become aware of the value of an outside perspective.


Something didn’t work or go according to plan? While starting from nothing isn’t always the best solution, it is a solution. And sometimes it is the best solution. When you startplant in hands from scratch, you’re offered the opportunity to rebuild correctly, applying the lessons you learned from your most recent failure. So instead of thinking of failure as a dead-end, think of it as a new beginning. This will help you get up and continue to move forward – this time with a renewed sense of how you plan to do so.

What’s a time when you’ve failed? How has it paved the way for success? Let us know! We want to hear your stories!


3 Ways to Better Tell Your Organization’s Story

Our Board and staff recently met with Dr. Malia Villegas of the National Congress of American Indians. During our time together, Dr. Villegas discussed the power of narrative. In her extensive work with Indigenous Peoples, she has found that “Storytelling is an essential part of community transformations.” The story that we tell about a place, about a people, about a project, all have the power to either “deepen or constrain [our] impact.”

So what can we do? How can we be sure to honor the people and places with which we work the stories that we tell and the narrative that we weave?

  1. Collect Data

The most impactful stories have their root in accurate information. Prior to weaving a narrative, do the work to collect and analyze data. Data is the first step and gives a point ofman looking towards two younger men at a table reference that can guide your steps further into the heart of the story.

Our grantee partners at the Martin Family Initiative (MFI) are good at letting data begin the story, but not complete it. MFI “seeks to improve elementary and secondary school education outcomes for Aboriginal Canadians through the implementation of specific programs and the application of appropriate research.” They know that 1 in 3 Aboriginal persons has not completed high school. And they understand that only half of Canadians claim any understanding of Aboriginal issues. These data points – and many more – guide the work of MFI. Because of this, they are best able to help the narrative of Aboriginal people in Canada become one of success, resilience and hope.

  1. Listen Beyond the Data

Research indicates that first generation college students graduate with college degrees at a drastically lower rate than their peers. But theses statistics are not the story.

To go beyond the data, the Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program (MFOS) has spent good time listening the first-generation students and understanding the challengesgroup photo at a reception they face throughout their college education. No piece of data can encapsu
late the guilt a first-generation student might feel when leave home to go to school or what it must be like to have no frame of reference when it comes to signing up for classes. By listening to these pieces of information, MFOS has created a program that truly meets the needs of students, rewriting their story and instilling in them that they deserve a college education.

  1. Recognize the Larger Story

The Marriot Bridges from School to Work program works diligently to place qualified people with disabilities in successful work environments. The national unemployment rate among youth ages 16-24 stands at 16%; factor in disability and young adults are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as their non-disabled peers. Bridges recognizes that young man in a kitchenpeople with disabilities only represent a small fraction of the unemployment narrative. The larger story of the problem lies within inaccessible systems that prevent proper accommodations and success in the workplace in addition to unqualified workers. Understanding this has allowed Bridges to engage with both employers and potential employees in a manner that allows everyone to achieve success.

Everyone has a story to tell. As Dr. Villegas teaches us, how we tell it and how we share it will either “deepen or constrain your impact.” What story will you tell?


On the Art of Exiting Well

“As much as we love our students, we want them to leave after they’ve been successful.” The room filled with chuckles as university coordinators resonated with Lynda’s statement.

The mark of a successful student is their ability to be launched from their post-secondary foundation into employment or graduate opportunities. As much as an institution may have loved the student or bonded over the progress made in the past few years, a healthy trajectory involves leaving.

But leaving is difficult. It necessitates adaptation to big changes, perseverance, new support systems and a different way of relying on the old ones. Sometimes it’s uncertain and other times it’s not.Exit sign

But for the most part, leaving for the sake of launching into something new offers exciting opportunities for growth and expansion.

Philanthropy and nonprofits must view exit strategies through this lens. A responsible discontinuation of funding is a healthy step forward, offering opportunities for both organizations to revel in their impact and launch into something new for the sake of growth and expansion.

Exit strategies are an art form; a delicate balance of support and release. We must see them as such and attend to them with the appropriate amount of attention and care. We must apply the Hippocratic Oath to our philanthropy and “do no harm” in our exit or our stay.

A good exit requires wisdom on behalf of both the grant maker and grantee. If the goal is to do no harm, then there can be no one-size-fits-all strategy. Open conversations are to be had to land on an agreement that leaves neither party high and dry. Whether it’s a gradual decline in funding, an increased proportion of matching funds, endowment building or a cold turkey goodbye, the exit must be beneficial to both parties.

What are good exit strategies you and your organization have come across? We’d love to hear from you!