New Guide Explores Participatory Grantmaking in the Jewish World


We are delighted to publish “Participatory Grantmaking in the Jewish Community and Beyond” as part of our Guides for Intelligent Giving series.

Authored by Third Plateau Social Impact Strategies and funded by Crown Family Philanthropies, the new guide offers a comprehensive look at participatory grantmaking (PGM), a practice that seeks to make philanthropy more inclusive of and responsive to the needs of communities being funded. JFN’s new guide details the philosophy, mechanics, and benefits and dilemmas of PGM, exploring its relevance for all grantmakers, with a particular focus on its potential role in Jewish philanthropy. It also offers cases studies, as well as extensive resources for those considering incorporating elements of PGM into their work.

Watch "Participatory Grantmaking in Action"

Watch "Exploring Participatory Grantmaking in the Jewish Community"

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Increasingly popular in the mainstream philanthropic world, yet not widely known in the Jewish funding community, PGM offers a range of opportunities for grantmakers to incorporate and empower community voices in philanthropic decisions. PGM is a spectrum, ranging from integrating perspectives of those with lived experience to shifting decision-making power to the communities that grantmakers seek to support. It continues to gain attention from many corners of the philanthropic landscape.

“At a moment in time when many organizations and foundations are examining their roles in complex systems of power, it is our hope that the knowledge and ideas shared in the pages ahead will help grantmakers reflect on their own practices and explore the benefits and challenges of sharing power,” the guide’s authors wrote in its preface.

“In publishing this guide, we are neither championing nor dismissing PGM,” said Andrés Spokoiny, JFN’s President and CEO. “Rather, we are affirming that it is an important innovation in philanthropy, one that funders can use to varying degrees, and one that offers many potential benefits. In particular, PGM has the potential for strengthening grantmaker-grantseeker relationships and leading to more informed funding decisions, ones that incorporate the perspectives of the people and communities most affected by these decisions.”

In researching this guide, Third Plateau’s staff studied the extensive existing literature on PGM and interviewed a wide range of leaders and thinkers in the philanthropic community. They also consulted with a committee of expert reviewers, composed of leaders from the Jewish and general philanthropic communities.

JFN’s Guides for Intelligent Giving (previously called Greenbooks) are topical, user-friendly research reports for funders, published by JFN. Each volume highlights a different funding challenge or practice Jewish funders may wish to explore. Recent guides in this series include “A Guide to Jewish Impact Investing” (published in June 2021) and “Young Adults at Risk in Israel” (published in 2019). The entire series can be downloaded for free at