#77: Transparency Talk Welcomes the VNA Foundation to Glasspockets
October 14, 2015
In late September, the VNA Foundation joined our growing collection of “Who Has Glass Pockets?” (WHGP) profiles, which serve as both an assessment tool and a demonstration of a foundation’s commitment to transparency. VNA became the 77th foundation to join WHGP.
We thought it would be helpful to use our Transparency Talk blog as a way to introduce our audience to the newest foundation participant, and point out some of the interesting ways in which this Chicago-based foundation that supports healthcare for the underserved is employing innovative methods in how they communicate grantmaking and open up the work of philanthropy.
VNA Foundation, established in 1890 as the Visiting Nurse Association of Chicago, supports nonprofit organizations offering home- and community-based health care to the medically underserved.
About its Glasspockets participation, VNA states on its website: “We believe that foundations need to understand the value of transparency, be more open and clear in our communications, and highlight how the philanthropic sector partners with its grantees to serve the public good.”
"We believe that foundations need to understand the value of transparency, (and) be more open and clear in our communications."
The grantmaking process, from what a successful proposal looks like to what to expect when a funder says they want to meet with you, is often shrouded in mystery—but not at VNA. The website features an informative prospective grantee area that not only shares the grantmaking process but reaches a high bar in transparency by sharing complete grant applications of successful proposals in addition to providing helpful insights into the foundation’s grantmaking process and its expectations from a site visit. VNA also has an open invitation for grantees to highlight their work via the VNA Foundation’s YouTube channel.
VNA also shares contextual and historical information about its current and past special initiatives, and includes links to 14 years of its annual reports, an unusually comprehensive report collection.
Additionally, VNA provides a unique and interactive infographic that discloses a great variety of grantmaking information in a very user-friendly format. In the infographic, VNA openly shares geographic and financial information, as well as diversity data about its grantmaking in Chicago, from the city to the suburbs.
Infographic data highlights include:
- Grant overview & total grantmaking
- Grant demographics by population, gender and ethnicity
- Types of medical services and service settings among grantees
- Types of grant support
Additionally, VNA’s infographic details what its grantees have learned, which may be helpful for other service organizations wanting to build on the work, while also providing other healthcare funders and grantees with helpful knowledge about their shared field. For example, one grantee shared new and unforeseen challenges in light of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion. Although the expansion has provided more people with insurance, the number of clinics and providers has not grown to meet the demand.
Does your foundation have glass pockets? Please take our "Who Has Glass Pockets" assessment. Your foundation could be #78!