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We measure our effectiveness as a trust-based funder through an annual Grantee Perception Survey to understand how our grantee partners perceive our processes and approach to partnership. We regularly identify and share how we’re looking to improve and where we’re making changes.  

2023 Grantee Perception Survey

Reflection & Next Steps


In 2023, Foundation for Community Health (FCH) teamed up with Karen Horsch, an external evaluator, for the third year running to gather feedback from our grantee partners through our grantee perception survey. We engaged 27 grantee partners, achieving a 73% response rate. All surveyed partners had funding periods that ended by December 2023, a majority were grant recipients from 2022, and a few from 2023.

This survey remains essential to our dedication to trust-based philanthropy, guiding us as we endeavor to improve processes and cultivate mutually accountable relationships with our grantee partners.

We’ve summarized our reflections and next steps below.

Key Findings

In 2023, similar to previous years, our grantee partners continued to express a positive perception of FCH. These results underscore that FCH is regarded as an outstanding partner, offering respectful and supportive processes, supplemental non-grant assistance, and valuable communication, echoing sentiments from earlier surveys.

Changes made to processes have improved the experience of organizations

A comparison of ratings across the last three surveys revealed that FCH grant processes have become easier and less burdensome for grantee partners overtime.

FCH staff are fostering trusting relationships grantee partners

Based on the 2021 and 2022 survey results, FCH’s grantee partners think highly of FCH and how they interact with the foundation. They appreciate the trust, honesty, respect, empathy, openness, responsiveness, and transparency in these interactions. Trust stands out as the top-rated quality across all three years of surveys.

Grantees seek FCH’s involvement in state-level advocacy efforts

When asked about other ways the Foundation could deepen its community engagement, the most frequently mentioned was state-level advocacy. These responses mirror those in 2022 and 2021.


Enhancing Transparency in Grant Decision-Making

Our efforts to prioritize clarity in grant decision-making were well-received by around 80% of this year’s survey participants. However, for smaller organizations or new grantee partners, we learned that we have more work to do in clarifying our process and how we make funding decisions. We plan to provide expanded information on our website and increase our outreach efforts, so all prospective grantees and new grantee partners have clarity on what we fund and how we make decisions. 

Expanding Non-Grant Support: Meeting Grantee Needs for Grantwriting Support and Education

Our grantees are looking for more learning opportunities from content experts and support with securing grants from other funders. We plan to offer more learning opportunities in 2024 and will explore ways in which we can provide grantwriting support to current grantee partners, as a part of our support beyond the grant efforts.

Getting Our Grantees’ Voices into State Advocacy Efforts

To be honest, we had high hopes last year of sitting down with our nonprofit partners to really understand the specific advocacy issues that matter most to them. The goal was to use those insights to map out some targeted state-level advocacy strategies. But between staffing transitions, launching a new website, implementing new internal systems, and other behind-the-scenes changes, we just didn’t have the bandwidth in 2023 to execute that plan like we wanted.

That said, we didn’t totally drop the ball on advocacy either. When key rural healthcare access topics came up at the state level, we stayed engaged and active in those conversations.

For 2024 though, we’re re-committing to circling back with grantees on their policy priorities. The idea is to develop some right-sized advocacy tactics that fit our small organization’s capacity but still move the needle on the work nonprofits are doing in our communities. Through candid dialogue, we’ll get a ground-level view of the systemic challenges and opportunities, then strategize ways we can lend our voice in Hartford and Albany to create more amenable conditions for lasting change.

Addressing Grantee Needs for Inclusive Practices

Over half of our survey participants indicated they are not seeking support from FCH in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives due to progress already made in this area. While this interest has waned since 2022, we do see an indication from grantees that they are looking for opportunities and support to foster inclusive practices within their organizations, in particular board composition. We aim to offer a learning opportunity in 2024 related to this.