When smaller, place-based foundations collaborate and align their work, they provide unique value to local communities and nonprofits. Still, many foundations shy away from working together, assuming it will require considerable time and a loss of independence.

Funder collaboration need not be burdensome, nor does it require perfect alignment. You can start by sharing information and agreeing to work on something for a few short weeks or months. Exponent Philanthropy members are demonstrating ways to partner light to amplify their impact.

Smaller, place-based foundations are managed by individuals with deep ties to the community. Their donors, staff, and board members have extensive knowledge of local needs and organizations, and they also have relationships with local leaders in business, government, and education. When these foundations work together, even briefly, they can leverage these assets to amplify each other’s efforts and meet priority needs that fit their community’s particular culture and environment.

Coalitions of place-based funders offer opportunities for partnership to larger foundations, who may not have extensive knowledge about local needs and cultures, nor have local relationships.

First Steps to Learning and Working Together 

  • Start with one conversation.
  • Ask people what they want to talk about.
  • Consider inviting more funders.
  • Rotate hosting and facilitation.
  • Consider flexible ways to participate.
  • Be open to new opportunities.

Read the full article about funder collaboration by Andy Carroll at sgENGAGE.