Session #3: Transparent Communication, Soliciting Feedback, and Support Beyond the Check

GWP Members Only Program
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
1:00pm to 2:30pm EDT
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In this deep dive session, we will explore the nuts and bolts of the final three trust-based principles: being transparent and responsive as a strategy to minimize power imbalances and build honest communication, soliciting and acting on feedback as an opportunity to inform and strengthen your work, and offering support beyond the check to support nonprofits more holistically while deepening your relationships with them. Since there is no one-size-fits-all approach to these principles, this session will spotlight three foundation’s stories of embracing these principles -- including the steps they have taken to embrace these practices, how they’re bringing the staff and board along, and what they are learning as a result.


  • John Esterle, Co-Executive Director, The Whitman Institute
  • Brenda Solorzano, CEO, Headwaters Foundation
  • Mailee Walker, Executive Director, Claneil Foundation

GWP Breakout Moderator:

  • Michelle McMurray, Vice President, Program and Community Engagement, The Pittsburgh Foundation

This will be offered as a virtual meeting. Connection details will be shared after registration.

This session is the third in a three-part series on the values and practices of what it means to be a trust-based grantmaker, developed for Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania members, in partnership with The Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, along with Philanthropy MissouriGrantmakers of Oregon and Southwest Washington, and New Mexico Association of Grantmakers

As the challenges of the past year have illuminated, effective philanthropy relies on partnership, dialogue, and transparency with nonprofits and communities. It also requires grantmakers to reexamine traditional practices in service of a healthier and more equitable nonprofit sector. But what does it take to embody this spirit of partnership in our work? What is the process of building trust and mutual accountability? What is the internal work required in order to be sure that we are building relationships centered on equity and power-awareness?

While the journey of trust-based philanthropy can be at times uncomfortable, for many trust-based grantmakers, this journey IS our work. Why? Because in addition to offering more space and flexibility for nonprofits to focus their time and resources where they are most needed, it also helps funders learn more deeply about the efforts that we support.

Join us for a summer learning series where we’ll unpack these benefits, dive deep into the six principles of trust-based philanthropy, and illuminate next steps in your trust-based philanthropy journey. 

Each session will include 60 minutes of presentations and discussion, followed by 30-minute small group breakouts with our own regional colleagues, during which you’ll get to discuss and determine next steps on your own trust-based journey.


We are committed to making GWP programs accessible to all members. If you have questions, or if an accommodation would be helpful to fully participate in this program, please reach out to Paula or call 412-471-6488 and we will make every effort to accommodate your request.

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