With long-term sustainability in mind, Northern California Grantmakers, San Diego Grantmakers and Southern California Grantmakers recently announced the launch of a new joint initiative – The Real Cost Project – to increase the impact of philanthropy across California.

“Real cost” is all the necessary investments for a nonprofit organization to deliver on a mission and to be sustainable over the long term. The initiative changes the approach to grantmaking by starting with the end in mind and asking “What are the desired outcomes?” and “What does it cost to deliver those outcomes?”

Created by funders for funders, The Real Cost Project aims to support foundations, individual donors, corporations, governments and community leaders as they adapt their grantmaking to strengthen outcomes. This means an organization can cover its direct program costs, fund its infrastructure and capacity needs, have the necessary liquidity and reserves, and have the investment capital to adapt the organization’s business model to meet the needs of a changing world. Sounds like a great idea to me!


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Donella Wilson

Donella Wilson, CPA, leads GHJ’s Nonprofit Practice and is also President and Chief Philanthropy Officer of GHJ Foundation, GHJ’s vehicle for purposeful and proactive giving to the community. A leader in both the nonprofit and accounting communities, Donella was named a finalist in the 2021 Los…Learn More