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Linda Walder Fiddle's Letter to the Editor of the NY Times

Author: Linda Walder Fiddle
Written On: Sun, 13 Jan 2008

Linda Walder Fiddle's Letter to the Editor of the New York Times Sunday Business section disputed the contention that grant makers should only award grants for general operating expenses rather than to specific programs and services. Ms. Walder Fiddle raised the point that such an approach would not honor the intention of donors.

Here is the letter that appeared in the NY Times by Linda:

Directing the Grants

To the Editor:

“Can Foundations Take the Long View Again?” (Re:framing, Jan. 6) presented the argument that grant makers should focus on grants for general operating expenses instead of supporting specific programs and services.

I couldn’t disagree more. I am a grant maker of a public foundation, and our supporters rightfully expect that their donations are directed to programs that our mission specifies. If we were to provide grants for general expenses, the money could and most likely would be used for purposes outside our grant-giving mission and would not honor the intention of our donors.

I also disagree with the idea that project-related grants sacrifice an organization’s ability to focus on strategic work like advocacy. Organizations, if well managed, should be able to devote time to every aspect of their missions without sacrificing one thing for another. The challenge is to support organizations with a demonstrated track record of fiscal and program management that yields accountable and transparent results to donors and society at large.

Linda Walder Fiddle
Ridgewood, N.J., Jan. 6
The writer is executive director of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation, which provides grants to programs for adolescents and adults with autism.