In March 2011, the RBF board of trustees adopted resolutions delegating authority for approving most grants to the president and/or the vice president. Since then, the president and vice president for programs of the Fund have approved seventy-five percent of the Fund’s grants through delegated authority from the board. The grantmaking due diligence and documentation for delegated authority grants are the same as for board grants. The goals of delegated authority grantmaking are to increase the Fund’s ability to be responsive to grantseekers by making grants year-round, rather than only at three board meetings a year, and to allow the board to focus on strategic issues, such as program reviews and impact assessments, in-depth discussion of issues related to the Fund’s work with external advisors and staff, and consideration of program guidelines for grantmaking. Trustees are regularly engaged in program discussions in between board meetings, review delegated authority grants on the Fund’s trustee portal, and ratify delegated authority grants at subsequent board meetings. Trustees also periodically participate in site visits, conferences, and other meetings to learn more about the context in which the Fund works and to meet grantees. The Fund’s delegated authority grantmaking resolutions follow:

Program Budget Delegated Authority

RESOLVED, that the president of the Fund, and in the absence of the president, the vice president for programs, be and they hereby are authorized to appropriate from each of the program budgets up to 75 percent of each program budget, to be used for grants and for consulting services and other program-related expenditures, provided that:

  • no single appropriation shall exceed $200,000 or extend for more than two years;
  • trustees shall be engaged in the grant development process on grants of $250,000 or more for significant new initiatives or start-ups, and for grants that may be controversial, unusual, or have a higher level of risk, to provide an opportunity for trustees to ask questions, offer advice, and voice concerns;
  • no organization, except for fiscal agents which manage multiple unrelated projects, shall receive grants in excess of $400,000 per year without approval of the board, provided that no project of a fiscal agent shall receive grants in excess of $400,000 per year;
  • grants where there is a conflict of interest related to an officer or trustee of the Fund shall be reported to the board, which will be given an opportunity to review and vote on ratification;
  • it is expected that approximately 10 to 20 grants will be presented to the board at each board meeting; and
  • the officers shall maintain a record of all appropriations authorized pursuant to this procedure, make available to the trustees documentation on such appropriations, and report all such appropriations to the trustees at the meeting of the board following such action.

President’s and Vice President for Programs’ Delegated Authority

RESOLVED, that the president of the Fund, and in the absence of the president, the vice president for programs, be and they hereby are authorized to approve grants or appropriations from the president’s and vice president for programs’ delegated authority budgets, not to exceed in the aggregate the amount included for these purposes in each annual budget authorization, provided that no single appropriation shall exceed $50,000 and no single grant shall extend for more than one year. The officers shall maintain a record of all appropriations approved pursuant to this procedure and shall report all such appropriations to the trustees at the next meeting of the board following such action.

Philanthropic Stewardship and Other Budget Grant Authority

RESOLVED, that the president of the Fund, and in the absence of the president, the vice president for programs, be and they hereby are authorized to approve grants or appropriations from the philanthropic stewardship and other budgets, not to exceed in the aggregate the amount included for this purpose in each annual budget authorization, provided that no single appropriation shall exceed $100,000 and no single grant shall extend for more than two years. The officers shall maintain a record of all appropriations approved pursuant to this procedure and shall report all such appropriations to the trustees at the next meeting of the board following such action.

Donor Contributions

WHEREAS, from time to time donor contributions are offered to the Fund to allow a grant or grants to be made that relate to the Fund’s program but require spending in excess of the authorized program budget, now be it

RESOLVED, that the president of the Fund, and in the absence of the president, the vice president for programs, be and they hereby are authorized to accept or refuse such donor contributions to the Fund based on the congruence of the intended purpose with the program interests of the Fund, and to approve grants for such purposes provided that no single grant shall exceed $200,000 and no single grant shall extend for more than two years; each such grant to be made under the Fund’s regular procedures, including appropriate pre-grant investigation and reporting requirements. The officers shall maintain a record of all appropriations authorized pursuant to this procedure and shall report all such appropriations to the trustees at the next meeting of the board following such action.

Staff Grantmaking Fund Authority

RESOLVED, that the president of the Fund be and he hereby is authorized to approve grants, consistent with the overall mission of the Fund, recommended by the Staff Grantmaking Fund Committee, not to exceed in the aggregate the amount included for this purpose in annual budget authorizations, provided that no single grant shall exceed $25,000. The officers shall maintain a record of all appropriations authorized pursuant to this procedure and shall report all such appropriations to the trustees at the next meeting of the board following such action.