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Essential Skills and Strategies for New Grantmakers

Essential Skills & Strategies for New Grantmakers (ESS) was developed by several organizations that believed the field would benefit from a standardized curriculum that would provide a common introduction to grantmaking. The volunteer leadership team that developed this curriculum included representatives from the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, the Council on Foundations, the Council of Michigan Foundations, and Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania. Development of the ESS curriculum was supported by Council on Foundations grants from The Lumina Foundation for Education and the Ford Foundation.
This turnkey resource allows providers to easily deliver a training session that provides highly engaging learning activities and carefully selected content drawn from the most reputable national sources.
The training can be delivered over three consecutive days or be broken up and delivered in seven modules, making it adaptable to the needs and program schedules of the regional associations. The topics covered in this curriculum include:
  • Being Grounded in Philanthropy
  • Navigating Legal and Ethical Issues
  • Making Sound Funding Decisions
  • Communicating Funding Recommendations and Decisions
  • Managing the Grant Portfolio
  • Maximizing the Impact of Grants
  • Managing Personal & Professional Challenges
Learn more about the curriculum at To access the materials, please contact Mary O'Neill.

Member Spotlight

Philanthropy Northwest

Since 2007, Philanthropy Northwest has offered Essential Skills and Strategies programs to build the capacity of foundation staff and trustees of grantmaking and corporate giving programs to be effective in their work.  Designed by regional and national experts, the Essential Skills and Strategies is designed to be interactive and discussion-oriented to provide attendees with the expertise needed to thrive in philanthropy. These trainings are perfect for individuals who are new to the field, or individuals who are looking to boost their expertise with the tools, insight, skills, and network to deepen their knowledge of philanthropy.


Program Spotlight

Council of Michigan Foundations and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy

Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) is a national network of foundation professionals and social entrepreneurs who strive for excellence in the practice of philanthropy. EPIP has partnered with a number of regional associations to present programming for emerging practitioners and new grantmakers. Focusing on Gen X and Gen Y grantmakers, EPIP and the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) produced a successful run of programming including a luncheon with leaders and professional development sessions. Find sample resources from EPIP and CMF's collaboration by clicking through below.