My Spruce Grantmaking Story
When I first moved to Philadelphia five years ago, I was looking for a meaningful way to volunteer. A co-worker recommended The Spruce Foundation based on my experience in fundraising and interest in youth-related causes. Now I’m finishing my fourth year on the Spruce Foundation Grantmaking Committee, this year as the Committee Chair. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to play an instrumental role in philanthropy led by young professionals.
Based on this experience, I wanted to share a little sneak peak into Spruce’s Grantmaking process:
- First, Spruce board members recruit and train a committee of 20-25 young professionals who will conduct the grant review and make recommendations to the full board.
- At the same time, Spruce opens up an online portal for two months where eligible non-profit organizations can submit applications for youth-serving programs in Philadelphia within the following program areas: Career & Technical Education, Health & Wellness, Arts, and LGBTQ. We offer at least two information sessions for non-profit organizations to learn more about our process and ask questions.
- Now, it is time to review submitted applications! First, we go through all applications to ensure each submission meets basic eligibility requirements, such as an organization budget maximum of $800,000 and a local Philadelphia address. Then, we assign two committee members to review each application using a streamlined rubric that evaluates important criteria, such as innovation, community impact, and sustainability.
- Each program area subcommittee meets to discuss reviewed applications and selects the top 5 applications to share with the full Grantmaking Committee. At the full Grantmaking Committee meeting, subcommittees present these applications and we conduct a blind vote to rank the top two applications in each program area.
- The top two applications by program area are then presented at the next full Spruce Foundation Board meeting. At the meeting, board members vote for the recipient in each program area. The organization with the most votes is awarded the grant.