Scaling What Works

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Scaling What Works Resource Spotlight

Smarter Philanthropy for Greater Impact: Rethinking How Grantmakers Support Scale

Special supplement on growing impact in spring 2014 edition of Stanford Social Innovation Review

cover_geo_2014_ssir_supplementPick up a copy of the spring 2014 edition (Volume 12, Number 2) of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, which features a collection of articles focused on growing impact in a special supplement produced by GEO’s Scaling What Works initiative. In this supplement Kathleen Enright, GEO's president and CEO, describes what the organization learned over the course of our Scaling What Works initiative. Ten other contributors offer their perspectives on “scaling what works” — what it means, what it takes to do it right, and what needs to happen to increase the impact of successful solutions to social challenges. Read the digital edition and download the PDF.

View a recording of the webinar "Smarter Philanthropy for Greater Impact: Rethinking How Grantmakers Support Scale," featuring Kathleen Enright of GEO, Jeff Bradach of The Bridgespan Group and Dan Cardinali of Communities In Schools discussing how grantmakers can think, act and invest in different ways to grow nonprofit impact. + more



  • The Scaling What Works initiative comes to a close
    Scaling What Works was a multiyear learning initiative of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, a powerful community of more than 450 grantmaking organizations committed to building stronger and more effective nonprofit organizations. For more than a decade, GEO has reshaped the way philanthropy operates by promoting philanthropic practices that enable nonprofits to improve their performance and achieve better results.

    GEO launched the Scaling What Works initiative in 2010 to expand the number of grantmakers and public sector funders who are working together to broaden the impact of high-performing nonprofits. From 2010 to 2013, GEO hosted conferences and skill-building workshops, facilitated networking and peer learning opportunities, and offered tools and resources to connect grantmakers to the practices that help their grantees plan, adapt, and grow their impact.

    Now that the Scaling What Works initiative has concluded (as of early-2014), GEO would like thank and recognize our 22 funders and other partners whose generous support made this work possible!

    After February 2014, this website will not be regularly maintained. For more information about GEO, please visit, follow us on Twitter (@GEOfunders), or contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

  • Apply now for the FY2014 Social Innovation Fund grant competition

    The Corporation for National and Community Service recently announced a Notice of Funding Availability of up to $65.8 million for the Social Innovation Fund’s 2014 competition. This is the largest grant pool in the history of the program, a key White House initiative launched in 2009. The Social Innovation Fund accepts applications from foundations and other grantmakers seeking to grow innovative, effective solutions in low-income communities in the U.S. Applications are due April 22, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern. Successful applicants will be notified in August 2014. Learn more about the 2014 competition, find answers to frequently asked questions and apply here. + more

  • Full series of Lessons Learned from the Social Innovation Fund guides now available

    The Social Innovation Fund has brought new attention to the ways in which private and public sector funders can pool limited resources to yield greater impact for communities throughout the country. Through a series of interviews with SIF intermediaries and others in the GEO community, and research on SIF-funded projects, GEO’s Scaling What Works initiative has captured valuable lessons about effective partnerships to share with the broader philanthropic community. Read the latest guides (published in early-2014), in our Lessons Learned from the Social Innovation Fund series — "Investing for Impact: Building the Capacity and Infrastructure of High-Performing Nonprofits" and "The Promise and Pitfalls of Local and National Funder Collaborations" — and access the entire collection here. Other topics in the series include collaborative funding and running open and competitive grant competitions.

  • Stories of Impact from the Social Innovation Fund
    In 2013, GEO and the Corporation for National and Community Service collected a series of stories that showcase the work of Social Innovation Fund grantees in their communities. These stories feature individuals and families who have benefited from the programs and services of nonprofits receiving support through the Social Innovation Fund and its private philanthropic partners. Read the full collection of stories here.
  • New essay series on accelerating progress in scale-ups

    This essay series, hosted by the Social Impact Exchange, features different perpsectives on the challenges that grantmakers and nonprofits face as they seek to grow their impact and scale programs. In the first of five installment of essays, Lisa Jackson, managing partner at New Profit, writes "Why Should We Collaborate?," articulating four key questions to ask before embarking on the journey. Meghan Duffy, manager of special initiatives at GEO, shares her thinking in "How Grantmakers Can Build and Sustain Strong Collaborations." And, Andrea E. McGrath, consultant and partner at Connecting Capital, reflects on a conversation among three leaders in the Social Impact Bond and impact investing space in, "Multi-Sector Collaboration in Impact Investing." Access parts two, three, four and five online.


The Scaling What Works initiative has come to a close

After February 2014, this website will not be regularly maintained. For more information about GEO, please visit, follow us on Twitter (@GEOfunders), or contact