Trust-Based Philanthropy

Redistributing Power to our Grantee Partners

Since early 2016, the Satterberg Foundation’s grantmaking program has increasingly centered around the approach of Trust-Based Philanthropy, which aims to put Grantees on a more even footing with grantmakers. We do this through:

Multi-year, general operational funding.
We trust grantees know best where and how to spend funds.

Valuing our Partners’ lived experiences and expertise.
They know far better than we ever could what communities need and how to devise solutions.

Authentic relationships in lieu of “reporting.”
We are accountable and accessible to our Partners. We strive to listen and respond with transparency, power awareness, and vulnerability.

​“Often the funder is saying ‘prove to us you used our money well.’ It’s all on their terms. Satterberg is the opposite.”

– Grantee Partner

Trust Starts with Listening

The Headwater People Insight Circle Report

In spring of 2021, we asked our Grantee Partners to participate in one of seven Insight Circles facilitated by Headwater People. After more than five years of building a culture around Trust-Based Philanthropy, we wanted to hear how our Partners experience our community-centered approach to funding, and learn what we should do next.

Read the short and sweet report summary or access the full report.


“Grantees have enough trust to be vulnerable…without fear of losing their funding.”
– Headwater People

Trust in Action

Grantee Partner Stories

In practice, community-centric funding just works better than traditional philanthropy – making room for all those things funders say they want: innovation, emergent action, equity, and sustainability. But don’t take our word for it! Our Grantee Partners have some amazing stories to tell you about trust.


“[Satterberg is] on their own equity journey. It’s felt like a joint evolution.”

– Grantee Partner

Making The Leap Report

Learn how four philanthropy-serving organizations were able to “leap from aspiration to sustained leadership and action” with help from our trust-based approach to funding. Download the report.


“Satterberg is the kind of foundation that nonprofit leaders, especially leaders of color, have been asking for.”

– Philanthropy Northwest

Trust-Based Strategic Initiatives

We are walking the talk of Trust-Based Philanthropy through our strategic frame, operating beliefs, and Strategic Initiatives.


“It provided a safe environment and the space and freedom to innovate. We knew the money was going to be there.”

– Grantee Partner

Resources for Foundations and Funders

When we first started on this journey, we didn’t know what we were doing, either! The Satterberg Foundation would not have come to embrace Trust-Based Philanthropy without a community of funders and innovators with the courage to take real action on redistributing power.

The Trust-Based Philanthropy Project
The Whitman Institute: All In On Trust

Partner With Us!

Join the Trust-Based Philanthropy learning community.