Editors' Introduction

Observations on Grantmaking from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Anthology Series

Unlike business, where the goal is to make money, the job of foundations is to give away money. While businesses try to earn a financial return on investment, the return on a foundation's investment is measured by contributions to the public good. The basic tools of business are products (which can be ideas or services); the basic tools of foundations are grants and the communication of information accumulated by their grantees. Investing for financial return is not the same as investing for social return. Thus, while business can offer models and ideas for foundations—particularly in matters of managerial efficiency—the most useful ideas and models come from foundations themselves and the work of their grantees. With this in mind, we have scoured the seven volumes of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Anthology series to find out what its 75 chapters reveal about the craft of grantmaking: What distinguishes effective from ineffective grantmaking? What approaches have led to a strong social return on the Foundation's investments? And why?