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Innovations in Open Grantmaking

December 07, 2016 by Andrew Miller, Andrew Young, Beth Simone Noveck

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Of its $4.1 trillion fiscal year 2016 budget, the U.S. federal government and its grantmaking agencies will give out billions of dollars in the form of grants to states, localities, and individuals, supporting a dizzying array of activities, from scientific research and economic development to arts, culture, and education. Grantmaking, in short, plays a vital role in helping our government, our researchers, and our communities confront 21st-century challenges. Despite grantmaking's importance, we have a decidedly 20th-century system in place for deciding how we make these billions of dollars of crucial public investments. To make the most of limited funding—and help build confidence in the ability of public investments to make a positive difference—it is essential for our government agencies to try more innovative approaches to designing, awarding, and measuring their grantmaking activities.