Maximizing Your Impact: Risk Management in Grantmaking

Funders are often described—and describe themselves—as being able to take risks that neither the private sector nor the government can or will take. However, no industry standard currently exists for defining, assessing, and managing risk in philanthropy. Few grantmakers assess risk during the application process and even fewer have processes in place to manage risks to impact after a grant is made. Without being aware of the parameters of risk, one can’t adequately plan or manage risk—let alone take risk. This gap materially contributes to sub-optimal planning, implementation, and transparent and/or trusting interactions between funders and grantees. 

While managing risk is a shared responsibility, funders are in a unique position to foster an environment that allows nonprofits to be more transparent about possible risks to impact and more trusting of funders as partners for impact. 

In this webinar, Maya Winkelstein of Open Road Alliance introduces the topic of risk management in philanthropy, as well as a toolkit that was produced in 2016 that can be adopted or adapted for considering risk practices more fully in grantmaking work.

Viewers will:

  • Hear about the latest research and case studies about the state of risk in philanthropy
  • Learn best practices for risk management in grantmaking
  • Explore risk-adjusted grantee-funder communication

Maya Winkelstein

Executive Director

Open Road Alliance

Maya Winkelstein is executive director of Open Road Alliance where she is responsible for the organization’s investment strategy and management of both Open Road Alliance and Open Road Ventures.

Prior to her role as executive director, she worked with Open Road as an associate director with the consulting firm williamsworks. Former clients also include Eastern Congo Initiative, Nike Foundation, PATH, and TOMS Shoes.

She is a frequent speaker at forums and her work has appeared in a number of publications including SSIR and The Foundation Review. Maya has been featured in Chronicle of Philanthropy’s ‘On the Rise’ series and Huffington Post’s ‘Women in Business.’ She is a Board Member of Global Press Institute and a member of the Leadership Advisory Council for

Maya holds a BA from the University of Michigan; MSc from the London School of Economics; and Certificate in Corporate Finance from Georgetown University. She lives in NY with her husband and two young sons.

Grants Management Professional Competency Model

Cross-Cutting Competencies

  • Strategic Management: Promote organizational mission and goals and inspire colleagues to achieve them.

Lifecycle of a Grant Competencies

  • Planning and Pre-Grant: Design and implement the review process to support an informed grant decision.
  • Award and Monitoring: Monitor grantee activity to support grantee success and determine compliance with grant agreement.
  • Post-Grant: Review grantmaking to determine success in meeting goals and objectives.