We believe in due-diligence that fits the partnership in question. The Foundation has a history of operating on trust, and believes that sometimes a handshake can be enough. When funding partnerships are being analyzed which involve larger investments with multi-year commitments, there is certainly cause for a more rigorous analysis of the partnership.
Aside from justifying funding decisions, due diligence should lead toward a deeper understanding of the model, but more importantly an understanding of the entrepreneur behind it. No amount of paper can substitute for the confidence and trust needed to make an investment.
In general, our due diligence process follows this pattern:
Initial screen: Review of introductory materials or website content; determine if the Peery Foundation is a strong enough potential fit to warrant asking for an organization's time.
Meet leadership: Spend time with the organization's leadership; build an understanding of abilities, insight, dedication, and vision.
Deep dive: Organizational assessment by meeting stake-holders (board, team, funders, clients); analysis of documents an organization should already have (strategic plan and financials).
We do not have specific decision making rounds or funding cycles. We make grants on a rolling basis. We try to align the timing of our grant disbursements with the individual needs of our grantees.
Once we fund an organization we plan quarterly or semi-annual, zero-paper check-ins regarding their progress on milestones, their challenges, and to look for ways to help them be successful. Our role is to serve our grantees, so we try to work on their timetable and give them the biggest return on time invested.
In each portfolio, we have a different process. Our Local Portfolio grant making is primarily guided by the community, schools, and school district. We provide both project specific and unrestricted funding in this portfolio. To learn more, visit our Local Portfolio page.
Throughout our funding relationship, we are involved at the level to which we can be useful. If a grantee can benefit from our involvement, we’ll roll up our sleeves. If they’ve got it figured out, we’re hands off and cheer them from the sidelines. We believe any funder should know when to “lead, follow, or get out of the way!”. For more information, visit our Regional Portfolio page and our Global Portfolio page.
We solicit continuous feedback from our grantees. Through the Funder Feedback tool we gather and review anonymous ideas and critique on a quarterly basis. This lets us know if we are maintaining the level of performance and respect our grantees expect of us. It also provides us with specific suggestions of how we can improve grantee-centric practices. Like many of our grantees we're attempting to do a lot with a very small team--we haven't figured out how to do our work perfectly, but we're intent on understanding what they might look like.