Supportive to the Core: Why Unrestricted Funding Matters

Institute for Philanthropy



Case Study Sector


Making grants is a complex business, and there is no such thing as one size fitsall. However, building more open and trusting relationships with grantee organisations and helping them to improve their performance will always increase the effectiveness of a funder’s philanthropy. A good way to do this is to think about funding for core support.
This paper aims to help donors increase their impact by supporting nonprofit organisations in the most constructive ways possible. It will explore the mutual benefits for funders and grantees of this approach, and look at the reasons why some donors are hesitant to offer core support. It will then move on to the more practical side of things, looking at what donors should consider when thinking about what kind of support to offer to organisations. The final section is a collection of case studies of grantmakers working in this way, and grantees receiving their support.
Organizations examined include the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Arcadia Fund, Trust for African Rock Art, Zennstrom Philanthropies, and Human Rights Watch.



  • Field Building


  • Africa
  • Europe
  • Northern America

Blog Posts

More on time, value, and time limits

April 3, 2017

A new report applies a theory of time and value in philanthropy to three real cases, to see how a foundation could decide whether to operate with a limited life, based on the amount and kind of value it hopes to create.


Oct 05

Rip Rapson
President and CEO
The Kresge Foundation