SECF: They Came and They Listened

Posted on November 22, 2011 by Pam Truitt

Judging from the looks on their faces,the message we were sharing at the Southeastern Council of Foundation annual meeting was 'new' information.

We brought together a great group to share about collaboration:

Diana Bucco, The Forbes Funds

Lois Savage, The Lodestar Foundation

Dawn Martz, The Foellinger Foundation

Lita Pardi, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Pam Truitt (me) The Patterson Foundation

So what is this ‘new information’? Collaboration.

A conference time slot after lunch is always tricky, but of the 40+ attendees, I only saw one nodding off, and I interpreted this as a good thing! What were the others doing?

Listening.

Listening to the results of their own survey indicating that many want to know about the nuts and bolts of collaboration. And listening to examples of funder collaborations. Here’s a brief description of the example that Lois Savage from the Lodestar Foundation shared:

Summer Youth Program Fund

For six years, a group of foundations in Phoenix have been collaborating to make grants for summer youth programs. This is how it works:

  • A common grant application was developed, eliminating duplication so that nonprofits only have to complete one application.
  • Each funder deposits their grant funds into an account at the Arizona Community Foundation (to confirm the total amount available for grants).
  • After the application deadline, the foundations get together to decide how to allocate their respective grant funds to assure that grants do not duplicate each other or ignore community needs.

What’s on the horizon for these collaborative funders? A possible future step is convening staff of the various programs to discuss best practices and to receive joint training on matters of common interest.

Do you think these funders would be willing to talk about best practices and joint training if they had not been collaborating on the Summer Youth Program Fund?


  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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