Grantmaking for Social Justice and Peace: Approaches Drawn from Shared Practice

February 2016

Grantmaking For Social Justice And Peace: Approaches Drawn From Shared Practice by Avila Kilmurray and Barry Knight is a study drawn from a wide range of independent funders into the nature of philanthropy for promoting social justice and peace.  The aim of the study is “to share the experiences and practices of many different funders and, in doing so, to encourage self-reflection.”

The report is divided into six key sections. The first section ‘The variety of the sample’ explains the range of grantmakers who have contributed to this research based on their fundamental features such as the nature and size of the foundation. The second section ‘What grantmakers need’ describes the key qualities necessary for good social justice grantmaking; ‘Framing Social Justice’ issues explores how a foundation conceptually develops their grant programmes within a social justice and peace framework – who do they listen to and how do they make a case for this work within their organization. This section also explores the common barriers grantmakers face towards achieving social justice and peace grantmaking programmes. The fourth section, ‘What does social justice grantmaking look like in practice?’ is about the nuts and bolts of this work; it explores five different approaches to social justice and peace grantmaking; it discusses different criterion for finding and selecting grantees; the kinds of support (including financial and non-financial) that a social justice grantmaker can provide, the level of risks involved and importance of alliance building in this work. The fifth section ‘Evaluation and learning’ talks about different evaluation approaches adopted by various social justice grantmakers; the sixth and final section ‘What funders have learned: patience and courage’ shares reflections from the research about what funders have learned through their experience of social justice and peace grantmaking.

The paper is accompanied by a brief guide that draws out some of the practical lessons from the research. Grantmaking for Social Justice and Pace: Some Practical Lessons is designed as a ‘nuts and bolts’ guide to funders trying to find their way in the landscape of social justice philanthropy.

We hope that your work will benefit from this research and we look forward to your feedback at