Trust-Based Philanthropy Learning Cohort

Drive trust-based change at your foundation through:
• Compelling speakers + galvanizing examples from funders
• Action-planning for your unique context
• Catalytic peer support + deep connections


Trust-Based Philanthropy 7-month peer-leader learning cohort

Data-driven practices and peer support to implement
trust-based principles

Informed by CEP’s decades of research on the drivers of effective grantmaking and funder-grantee dynamics, this Learning Cohort will help you lead your organization in implementing trust-based philanthropy practices. Connect with a supportive group of peer leaders while you deepen your knowledge of trust-based philanthropy principles, troubleshoot barriers, set and achieve goals, and create change at your foundation.

This peer-leader learning cohort will include seven virtual sessions between May and November 2023. Sessions will include data-backed practices, funder examples, guest speakers, and structured time for participants to set goals, discuss implementation challenges, and receive peer support.

Engage with a group of supportive peer leaders

Implementing ideals of trust-based philanthropy in your grantmaking can be difficult. Change can be easier when done with a supportive group of peer leaders tackling similar challenges. CEP’s learning cohorts emphasize peer-to-peer learning and connection. In these virtual sessions you will have the opportunity to engage with small groups of peer leaders to foster deep connections and learn from each other’s challenges and successes. Participants will be encouraged to set concrete goals for their foundation, and to support and hold each other accountable in pursuit of these goals over the 7-month program. Participants will also be assigned a peer partner for the duration of the cohort, who will serve as a resource and confidant outside of scheduled sessions.

Learn from CEP’s deep roots and practical know-how

The Center for Effective Philanthropy has been a driving force in the movement towards more trust-based, mutual, and transparent practices in grantmaking for over two decades. CEP’s research has resoundingly shown that funders who prioritize transparent and responsive relationships with grantees, and who operationalize trust through their grantmaking structures and approaches, receive higher ratings from grantees regarding their perceptions of a funder’s impact on organizations — and the issues and communities grantees and funders seek to help. Every day, CEP staff work to raise up the voices of grantees and to encourage funders to adopt data-backed philosophies and practices of trust-based philanthropy. Learn more about CEP’s deep roots in trust-based philanthropy.

Session Dates and Content

This Learning Cohort will begin in May 2023 with two half-days of immersive sessions to ground participants in the principles of Trust-Based Philanthropy, CEP research, and to get to know your peer participants. Subsequent sessions will take place in July, September, and November of 2023.

The utility and success of the learning cohort will depend on meaningful participation from each member. So that we can foster a strong group, have fruitful conversations, and best support members in their work, we ask that each participant join with the intention of attending each of the seven planned sessions.

Sessions in Detail

2023 Kickoff Immersive: Introduction to TBP Principles and Your Peer Network + Deep Dive on Multi-year General Operating Support (MYGOS)

  • 12:30-2:00pm Eastern Session 1: Kickoff and Introduction to TBP
    • Understanding and Unpacking Trust-based Philanthropy Principles
    • Peer cohort introductions: Your journey and interest in TBP


  • 3:00-5:00pm Eastern Session 2: Relationships Matter
    • What does CEP data tell us about the importance of trust-based grantmaking?
    Guest Speaker: Austin Long, Senior Director, Assessment and Advisory Services, CEP
    Small groups: What does TBP currently look like at your foundation? What areas for growth do you see?
  • 12:00-2:00pm Eastern Session 3: Multi-year General Operating Support (MYGOS): Why?
    • CEP research on multi-year general operating support
    Guest Speakers: Phil Buchanan, President, The Center for Effective Philanthropy and Jesús Gerena, CEO, UpTogether
    Small groups: MYGOS in the context of your foundation


  • 3:00-5:00pm Eastern Session 4: Multi-year General Operating Support: How?
    • Addressing common barriers
    Guest Speaker: Mailee Walker, Executive Director, The Claneil Foundation
    Small groups: Discussion and peer-supported action planning — set specific goals for your organization

June: Break for Individual Reflection, Peer Partner Connection, and Implementation

  • 3:00-5:00pm Eastern: Respectful Selection Processes
    • TBP principles “Do the Homework” and “Simplify and Streamline”
    • Operationalizing equity and inclusion in your selection process
    • CEP research findings on what makes or breaks a positive selection process
    • Guest speaker on helpful, streamlined processes
    Small groups: Discuss selection processes at your foundation; progress check-in on MYGOS goals; set selection process goals.

August: Break for Individual Reflection, Peer Partner Connection, and Implementation

  • 3:00-5:00pm Eastern: Learning-Oriented Reporting Requirements
    • Reporting in the context of MYGOS
    • Guest speaker on reporting processes that foster mutual learning
    Small groups: Discussion and progress check-in

October: Break for Individual Reflection and Implementation

  • 3:00-5:00pm Eastern: Capstone Nonmonetary support and capacity-building
    • Strengthening grantee organizations
    • Guest speaker on nonprofit capacity building
    • Progress updates, celebration, and momentum!

Calendar Quick Look

  Date Pacific   Mountain Central Eastern
Session 1: Intro to TBP Principles and Peers May 11 9:30-11am 10:30am-12pm 11:30am-1pm 12:30-2pm
Session 2: TBP Funder-Grantee Relationships May 11 12-2pm 1-3pm 2-4pm 3-5pm
Session 3 MYGOS: Why? May 16 9-11am 10am-12pm 11am-1pm 12-2pm
Session 4 MYGOS: How? May 16 12-2pm 1-3pm 2-4pm 3-5pm
Session 5: Respectful Selection Processes July 20 12-2pm 1-3pm 2-4pm 3-5pm
Session 6: Learning-Oriented Reporting  September 14 12-2pm 1-3pm 2-4pm 3-5pm
Session 7: Capstone Nonmonetary Support November 14 12-2pm 1-3pm 2-4pm 3-5pm

About CEP Learning Communities

Through learning cohorts, CEP helps foundations and foundation staff deepen their knowledge, improve their practice, and ultimately strengthen their personal and organizational impact.

Contact CEP to learn more

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