A Case Study in Participatory Grantmaking: RSF Shared Gifting

Session materials from PEAK2019.

For eight years, staff members at RSF Social Finance have employed a participatory grantmaking method called “shared gifting.” Shared gifting invites community members to provide wisdom or exercise full decision-making authority in almost every aspect of grantmaking. RSF has applied shared gifting to its own grant funds and has used variations of shared gifting in partnerships with individual donors and with a family foundation. Other groups have tried shared gifting on their own, using the RSF Shared Gifting toolkit. With almost a decade of experience under their belts, RSF grant managers share the benefits and challenges of using a participatory grantmaking framework.

Participants will learn about:

Various ways to infuse participatory options into the grantmaking process

Benefits and challenges of using participatory models

Partnering with donors, grantmakers, and community entities with alternative models

Kelley Buhles

Senior Director, Philanthropic Services

RSF Social Finance

Kelley leads the Philanthropic Services Program at RSF Social Finance. She has cultivated the Shared Gifting participatory grant program and led RSF’s effort to make visible the role of gift in our economic system. Kelley also plays a key role in coordinating RSF’s Integrated Capital approach to financing. Previously, she served on the board of the Haight Ashbury Food Program and coordinated the Bay Area Fair Trade Coalition. She graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in anthropology.

Ellie Lanphier

Program Manager, Philanthropic Services

RSF Social Finance

Ellie manages the day-to-day operations of RSF Social Finance's Philanthropic Services program including coordinating and supporting Collaborative administration, co-leading the Shared Gifting program, and overseeing the Seed Fund and Flow Funding activities. Previously, Ellie was Program Outreach Associate for the Climate and Energy Funders Group at the Biodiversity Funders Group. She received a BA in Arts (Strategic Communication) and Spanish from The Ohio State University.

Grants Management Professional Competency Model

Cross-Cutting Competencies

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in grantmaking practices.