The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park, California, has announced that its most recent Center for Effective Philanthropy Grantee Perception Report shows that the foundation has improved on nearly all measures since it commissioned its first GPR in 2003.
Based on a survey of more than five hundred nonprofit organizations that receive funding from the foundation, the 2011 Hewlett Grantee Perception Report (37 pages, PDF), the foundation's fourth, compared the foundation to its peers, CEP's full data set of private foundations, and responses from Hewlett grantees since the foundation first began participating in the survey. Among other things, the report found that Hewlett received higher than average marks for its impact on its grantees' fields and organizations, for its communications efforts, and for its administrative process.
At the same time, the report highlighted the foundation's impact on grantees' ability to continue their funded work in the future as an area for improvement. According to CEP, this measure typically correlates with ratings of a foundation's understanding of a grantee's goals and strategies, of the fields and communities in which it focuses, and of the strength of its relationship with a grantee — all areas in which the foundation's ratings have remained stable. Neither the foundation nor the staff of CEP understand what underlies the finding and will continue to work together to learn more about why the rating has fallen off.
"These anonymous surveys, benchmarked against our peers in the foundation world, are an invaluable way for us to learn more about how we are doing and how we can become more effective," said Hewlett Foundation president Paul Brest. "The result helps not just us, but our grant recipients, too, as we respond to their comments and look for better ways to support their work."