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. Our 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.   

According to the most recent FOMRsixty percent of our members collaborate with other funders. While some work in formal partnerships, many more engage in informal ones where they align funding, or work on a project together, for a limited time. These informal collaborations usually consist of two to six foundations, but can encompass a dozen or more. Oftentimes, local government agencies and other funding organizations like United Way participate.

Read the full article about collaboration by Andy Carroll at Exponent Philanthropy.