Threshold Foundation’s Grantmaking Overview

Since its inception in 1981, Threshold has pioneered and experimented with collaborative philanthropy in pursuit of positive change in the world. Our grantmaking serves as a quiet catalyst for the social and environmental change movements nationally and internationally by annually raising over $1,000,000 from Threshold network members to fund innovative non-profit organizations. 
Threshold’s grantmaking engages our volunteer network of members who bring a wide array of philanthropic experience to the process. Each annual grant cycle is a learning environment for members new to philanthropy and provides more experienced members opportunities to catalyze interest in areas of their own expertise. 
In our quest to effectively mobilize philanthropic dollars and invest in new ideas and strategies, we regularly review and renew our grantmaking program. In 2007, we developed and added Funding Circles – Threshold’s interpretation of Giving Circles – to our two standing Committees doing grantmaking in our core social justice and environmental sustainability focus areas. Since 2007, we have seen Funding Circles flourish amidst growing interest in collaborative grantmaking in the broader philanthropic landscape. 
In 2015, we evaluated our grantmaking program employing both Funding Circles and Committees and saw an imperative to both simplify our structure and shorten our year-long grant cycle. 

Threshold Grantmaking Program and Calendar 

Each year, Threshold Funding Circles will have a single, 6-month grantmaking cycle from February to August. General grant cycle guidelines and the 2017 calendar are below. Specific Funding Circle guidelines and revised mission statements will be posted online by early December 2016.

Funding Circles Re-envisioned 

Funding Circles are collaborative donor funding vehicles driving the philanthropic visions of the Threshold network. We are moving forward with a single, responsive model for our yearly grantmaking program.
All Funding Circles are aligned with Threshold’s progressive mission and core values of social justice and environmental sustainability and embody the culture of the Threshold network. Funding Circles are authorized and overseen by Threshold Foundation’s Circle (Board of Directors) and administered by Tides.
Funding Circle members contribute time and money to pooled funds, engage in dynamic decision-making processes inspired by Threshold’s culture and rich history of grantmaking, and engage the larger Threshold community to contribute funds to support the local, national, and global issues they are addressing. The Funding Circle structure enables members to increase their awareness of, and engagement in, the issues most important to the Threshold community and, in turn, share their stories of impact across the growing global Threshold network. 
Currently, our five Funding Circles are: 

Grant Cycle Guidelines

In 2017, all Funding Circles will issue invitation-only Requests for Proposals (RFPs) beginning in February. The process for determining invitations is decided by each Funding Circle – interested applicants should be aware that the resources of the foundation are limited and only invited organizations can be considered. 

2017 Threshold General Grantmaking Calendar

December 2, 2016

Funding Circles post 2017 grant guidelines online

February 17, 2017

Request for Proposal (RFP) invitations sent to selected organizations

March 24, 2017

Proposal submissions due by 5pm Pacific

May 5, 2017

Evaluation invites/declines sent to all proposal applicants

August 1, 2017

2017 Final grant decisions made and announced

August 18, 2017

2016 Grant award checks mailed


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