The 2023 Center for Effective Philanthropy RBF Grantee Perception Report

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is committed to transparency, which promotes accountability and knowledge-sharing within the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. A key component of that commitment is regularly participating in the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) Grantee Perception Report and publishing the results. 

CEP has provided foundations with candid feedback from grantees through its Grantee Perception Reports (GPR) since 2003. They also provide comparative data from philanthropic peers that help grantmakers understand their effectiveness in context and identify opportunities to improve their grantmaking practices and impact. 

The RBF’s 2023 results reflect continued evolution of the Fund, with significantly higher ratings on nearly every thematic area compared to our last survey in 2016. (The RBF also participated in the GPR in 2005 and 2010.) Areas with higher ratings include subject matter expertise, the grantee selection process, impact on the field as well as on grantees, grantmaker accessibility, and transparency and consistency of communications.

2023 Ratings and Trends


Key Findings

Areas of Improvement

  • Grantees rate the RBF’s understanding of the field in the top 10 percent of all foundations in the CEP’s dataset. 
  • There was significant improvement in ratings for the RBF’s impact in grantees’ fields (81st percentile) and on grantee organizations (73rd percentile). 
  • Grantees found our grant application and reporting process thorough but relatively painless. The reporting process, in particular, was rated as straightforward (94th percentile) and adaptable (89th percentile). 
  • There was significant improvement in ratings of the helpfulness of our selection process, from the bottom 20 percent of funders in 2016 to the top ten percent in 2023. 
  • Our grantee portal—introduced in 2019 to streamline the application process—was reviewed as effective and easy to use. 
  • In a new question since 2016, the Fund ranks in the 88th percentile for exhibiting trust in staff of grantee organizations. Grantees also report increased comfort in approaching RBF staff
  • Compared to other similarly situated organizations, the RBF receives high marks for clarity and consistency in communicating our goals and strategies. There was significant improvement in rankings of the RBF’s transparency with grantees overall. 
  • Ratings and written comments indicate that the RBF is viewed as a leader in communicating its understanding of and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Areas for Further Work

  • Grantees would like to be connected to more nonmonetary resources and other donors and would appreciate more communication, interaction, and connection with RBF staff.
  • A new area for growth emerged in 2023: grantees would like more information to help them understand how their work fits into their particular portfolio and the RBF’s broader efforts.
  • Time-limited special initiatives received lower ratings than the Fund’s thematic and pivotal place programs.

We are proud that our grantees consider the RBF a strategic and trustworthy ally. The RBF is always working to improve its processes, strengthen its relationships, and respond to changing context to support the people and organizations building lasting solutions to the challenges facing today’s increasingly interdependent world. We always welcome feedback from grantees.