Operating Reserves

Mindful that our sunset would mean a loss of grant income for our nonprofit partners, we prioritized strategies to help those organizations build greater fiscal resilience.

Toward that goal, we created an operating reserves program, ultimately generating $13.2 million in reserve funds for 34 grantee partners. Nearly all of these partners had annual budgets of less than $5 million and none had more than three months of cash reserves prior to the program.

Core Operating & Multi-Year Support

A vast majority of the Kendeda Fund's grants were made without restrictions or program-specific requirements. We also made multi-year grants whenever possible. These strategies were designed to give our nonprofit partners an enhanced ability to plan beyond one-year cycles, while also building greater organizational resilience.

Organizational Development Consulting

Many of our core grantees in our Atlanta Equity portfolio represented either new organizations or young leaders.

Our fund advisor brought in national and local organizational development consultants to support each organization on their growth journey. Her goal was, in part, to position these grantees, often led by BIPOC leaders, for future grants from Atlanta’s more risk-averse funders.

Ed Chang, Executive Director, redefinEd Atlanta

Scenario and Succession Planning

In 2020, just weeks before the pandemic hit, Kendeda staff underwent a timely training in scenario planning to help us prepare for uncertain futures. As the pandemic and racial reckoning of 2020 raged on, we decided to offer a similar training for our grantees, to support their own resilience in navigating economic, environmental and political uncertainties.

For organizations undergoing (or anticipating undergoing) leadership changes, Kendeda often supported organizations’ succession plans, including everything from search costs, relocation expenses, consultative support, professional development for second-line leadership, and more.

Support each organization on their growth journey.

Planning Grants

Sometimes, before Kendeda provided a large grant to a nonprofit partner, we offered the organization a chance to prepare for the monetary infusion with a planning grant. This approach was utilized only when a project, plan, strategy, or initiative needed to be developed from the beginning stages of an idea. 

This created time and space for organizations to dream, align staff, board and stakeholders, visit aspirational partners and prepare to run a much larger organization. To be clear, planning grants were not "tests" that grantees needed to pass in order to qualify for additional funds. Rather they were intended to be a stepwise and supportive option for partners -- a way they could prepare and get ready to deploy grants that were often scale-jumping.

“Kendeda Fund’s planning grant was brilliant by encouraging multiple stakeholders to envision not just the organization’s future, but to become emboldened and inspired by the promise of our work – a promise buried slightly below the surface that had yet to rise to our collective consciousness as an embodied possibility.”

—Doug Ammar, Executive Director, Georgia Justice Project

Fund Advisor Advice

Above all else, our fund advisors understood that being a non-judgmental, trusted thought partner or listening ear constituted some of the most valuable things they could do. Fund advisors were encouraged to play this role versus having a judgmental posture.