Grants:APG/Funds Dissemination Committee/Additional Information and Analysis/Interviews/Matt Halprin

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Interview date: 4/25/12

What should the authority of this group be?

  • From the legal sense, the FDC will make recommendations to the foundation. It cannot have final decision-making authority because of the foundation’s responsibility to donors.
  • However, the goal is that, with the right processes and collaboration in place, the foundation will ultimately accept the vast majority of the FDC’s recommendations. It may take 1-2 years to get there.

What types and sizes of requests should go through the FDC?

  • Large requests from organizations (legal entities), not individuals.
  • Other processes within the foundation should handle smaller requests.

What support will the FDC need to do their work?

  • The FDC will not have the capacity or time to handle all of the logistics needed to effectively manage grants of this magnitude.
  • A group of dedicated people on WMF’s staff (maybe 2-3 people with deep expertise in finance and grant making) will need to be focused on facilitating this process to ensure it is done with fidelity. It is critical that we invest sufficient resources to help make this process a success.
  • The question about whether the FDC should get financial compensation is difficult—either invest in the staff to do the heavy legwork, or pay the FDC and expect them to do more. I prefer the former.

What do you think the membership of the FDC should be?

  • It should be a small committee—no more than 5-7. Five is a better number. A larger number will make decision-making challenging. The larger the committee, the slower decision-making will take. It should also be an odd number for voting purposes.
  • FDC members need financial expertise, experience managing and evaluating budgets, experience with the movement, and proven ability to work well with others and build relationships, even in the face of conflict. And they have to have the time to dedicate to this.
  • It’s our responsibility to ensure we don’t make mistakes with donor money that we can avoid by getting the right people working on this.

What is the biggest risk of this process?

  • We have to avoid getting to a “let’s make everyone happy” recommendation that makes dangerous tradeoffs. It is critical that this FDC works—we’re talking about millions of dollars.
  • We need to ensure that we invest the right resources in this process—staff is critical.
  • We also need to ensure that we’re clear about the roles and expectations so that we enter into this process with clarity.