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Leading a sector to deliver impact, Gemma Bull & Tom Steinberg

Gemma Bull and Tom Steinberg, Founders of Modern Grantmaking join Purposely to share their mission and their story.

In the pursuit of fostering positive change and meaningful impact within the grant-making sector, Gemma Bull and Tom Steinberg have united to form Modern Grantmaking. They both joined Purposely to share their journey as well as their mission to empower individuals within the sector to transform the grant making sector and deliver greater impact.


Gemma and Tom's familiarity with the charitable sector and grant making is deeply ingrained. They met when they both held senior positions at the UK National Lottery Fund, following their prior experiences in senior leadership and governance roles within the sector.


The culmination of their shared insights, coupled with their expertise in philanthropy and social change, has propelled them to establish their own education and consultancy venture. This endeavor is complemented by the publication of their book, "Modern Grantmaking – A Guide for Funders Who Believe Better Is Possible."


United by a shared vision, Gemma and Tom aimed to confront the inefficiencies and constraints pervasive in the traditional grant-making landscape. Forthright, they portray the grant-making domain as an arena populated by "dedicated employees trapped within a creaking system and outdated conventions." They spotlight the lack of professional advancement, alongside a paucity of innovation and outdated methodologies stifling the sector's capacity to engender positive impact.

Beyond serving as a practical guide for enhancing grant-making practices, their book delves into the significance of values. These values, they contend, are pivotal in reshaping how funders catalyse positive change and address social and environmental challenges.


Conceived during the throes of the pandemic, the book aims to disrupt entrenched norms while simultaneously empowering both grant makers and grantees. Their mission revolves around amplifying transparency and optimising the impact of each dollar disbursed. Their efforts facilitate astute decision-making, empowering grant makers to allocate resources judiciously and enabling grantees to channel their energies into their missions, unburdened by administrative encumbrances.

Driven by a resolute desire to empower change agents, "Modern Grantmaking" stands as a call for transformation within the philanthropic sector. It assumes the role of a comprehensive guide, fostering contemplation across diverse facets of a grant maker's role – from strategising and cultivating relationships with grantees, colleagues, and boards, to honing research, management, and self-development skills.


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