Schumann Fund for NJ Grantee Survey Results & Next Steps

Press Release

March 2023

Dear Schumann Fund for NJ Grantee Partners,

On behalf of the board and staff of the Schumann Fund for NJ, we are pleased to share the results of the anonymous survey you completed last summer. The Grantee and Applicant Perception Survey (GAPS), administered by Exponent Philanthropy, was designed to identify areas of strength and improvement for the Schumann Fund.

As many of you know, the Schumann Fund experienced a leadership transition last year and I was honored to begin serving as its Executive Director in January 2022. This change provided an opportune time to reflect on our strengths while considering new opportunities with guidance from you – our grantee partners. Approximately 50% of you participated in the survey and we thank you for your time and thoughtful feedback. We were heartened to hear that you consider the Schumann Fund to be a leader in the community and in our funding areas. You also believe we show a genuine interest in providing support to the community we collectively serve. You said we stay well-informed and share resources to enhance grantee partner work. As importantly, you recognize and value our investment in your racial equity work. This encourages us to redouble our commitment to our mission and the communities we collectively serve.

You also had suggestions for improvements in the areas of communications, grant application processes, and learning and collaboration. Here are the key take-aways that emerged from your feedback which encourage us to:

  • Define current and future priorities while creating a space for open dialogue with new leadership.
  • Bring together grantees more formally to encourage cross-grantee learning and collaboration.
  • Simplify application and reporting processes.
  • Communicate regularly and publicly uplift grantee work.
  • Consider multi-year grants, general operating support, and pooled/increased funding.
  • Offer more training, convening, and community engagement around diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Support parent engagement, community organizing, and policy advocacy.

Know that this feedback is taken seriously, and we are grateful for your ideas and engagement. In response, the Schumann Fund will take the following steps during the next several months:

  • Revised strategic direction. We are in the process of completing an updated vision, mission, strategic direction, and program priorities. Central to this new strategic direction is an increased focus on parent engagement, community organizing, and policy advocacy approaches that you deemed essential to advancing the work you do. We will also seek enhanced opportunities to invest in racial equity work, which you identified as a priority.
  • Improved communications. We will complete a website redesign during the coming months. This will help us to regularly communicate with our partners and potential applicants. The website will include information on our new strategic direction, streamlined application guidance, and current information about the organizations we fund. We also anticipate creating opportunities to uplift grantee partner work.
  • Opportunities for convening. You asked for more opportunities to engage with each other and with the leadership of the Schumann Fund. As a first step, we are excited to welcome you to our Grantee Partner Breakfast on Friday, May 12, 2023, from 8:30 am – 10:30 am at the Van Vleck House & Gardens in Montclair. Please save the date. Detailed information will follow soon.
  • Advancing philanthropic best practices. We plan to benchmark our current levels of general operating support and multi-year grants with the aim of increasing levels of each over time. We will also clarify and streamline our application and reporting guidelines in keeping with best practices.           

Thank you in advance for taking time to view the Executive Summary of the GAPS survey results (attached). As we work to implement our refreshed vision, mission, and program priorities, your ongoing feedback and collaboration are welcome.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and Staff of the Schumann Fund for New Jersey, thank you for sharing your views and ideas with us. We value your partnership and commitment to our communities!

Kind regards,
Lucy Vandenberg
Executive Director