In addition to mission fit, The Leon Levine Foundation analyzes an organization’s leadership, track record, and sustainability.
Below is a general description of each characteristic followed by a button to expand these criteria into a detailed list of best practices we’ve identified. The lists are by no means a checklist of requirements, as failure to meet any single criteria will not stop an organization from receiving funds. Rather, they are descriptions of the ideal elements present in organizations that the Foundation funds, and a sharing of some best practices we’ve learned over years of grant-making.
Leadership – The organization has highly effective leadership at both the Board and staff levels. Leadership is the single most important determinant of success for any nonprofit; an organization’s impact and culture is a reflection of its leadership.
Track Record – While there are many stories about lives changed by the good works of a nonprofit, an organization must be accountable for its impact to its constituents, and the community, by showing that these stories are repeatable and sustainable. Accordingly, impact should be measured on a quantitative basis, consistent with mission, and comparable over multiple cycles.
Sustainability – The organization must prove it has sufficient and diversified resources to maximize the effectiveness of its mission and program, as well as sustain impact into the future. A nonprofit should also be able to describe operational sustainability, beyond finances, to show thoughtful creation of an organization poised for continued success.