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What We Care About

Collaboration

No organization has the resources to address the complex issues facing our communities. Working together gives us an opportunity to create real change.

80%

of grantmakers believe it is important to coordinate resources and actions with other funders

Collaboration takes place in many forms (like networks, movements, collective impact) and in many funding possibilities (such as co-funding or pooled funds). But regardless of the specific details, one thing is always true — if we want to go far, we have to go together.

Collaboration requires everyone to be honest, trusting and humble. It means being open about what our strengths are as well as what knowledge and expertise our partners bring to the table. And once we understand what role we should play, solving complex challenges together becomes possible. Funding collaboration successfully and being productive partners requires that we do the hard work to set ourselves up for success. But doing so means we’re able to make faster progress on the issues we care about most.

For us, collaboration is about joining with others to try to move the needle, whether on issues such as improving the social, emotional and physical well-being of our youth or ensuring that more kids graduate and go to college.

Cheryl Walker, board chair of the Deaconess Foundation

Helpful Tools and Resources

Stay informed of the emerging trends and promising practices from the field of philanthropy through GEO’s publications and research.

  • GEOList Members Only

    GEOList Summary: Examples of place-based funders collaborating to build capacity?

    We are a small family foundation funding in Dane County, Wisconsin, interested in collaborating more formally with other Dane County funders to elevate the effectiveness of our nonprofit sector. I am looking for examples of other collaborative efforts, namely place-based funders working together to: identify capacity needs, bring and/or develop learning opportunities for nonprofits, and evaluate capacity gains.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • February 2019
  • Perspective

    Findings from GEO’s Language Survey

    In 2018 and 2019, GEO is developing a publication, workshop and conference to help grantmakers think through what it takes to do this work well. As we embarked on the development of these programs, the language around these topics proved tricky. Nonprofit partners told us that phrases like “grantee inclusion” are frustrating because they reinforce power dynamics and define nonprofits by their relationship to a funder. In addition, language that doesn’t encompass both nonprofits and community members doesn’t reflect the entirety of our goals. Other organizations working on similar issues shared their own struggles with the lexicon. So, we reached out to our contacts, including members, other grantmakers and nonprofits, to help inform the language we use moving forward. Here is a summary of the key results of that survey.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • November 2018
  • Perspective

    Complex Problems Require Collaborative Solutions

    After 17 successful years of inspiring and nurturing people with innovative, grassroots ideas to positively impact their communities, The Sprout Fund has decided to sunset in 2018. In doing so, the Pittsburgh-based organization has decided to share their lessons learned in "The Sprout Fund Field Guide for Philanthropy & Civic Action." This is part two of a two-part series sharing their lessons learned.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • September 2018
  • GEOList Members Only

    GEOList Summary: Structuring matching grants

    What requirements do you put on the match? For example, must the funds be from a new donor to qualify, or do you simply look at total contributed income in one year versus the previous year? How do you calculate/verify the amount of qualifying funds raised? For example, do you require final 990s or audited financial statements?

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • September 2018
  • Event Materials Members Only

    2018 National Conference Discussion Guide: The GEO Community at 20

    Over the last 20 years, the GEO community has worked to transform a desire for results into real improvements by creating spaces where grantmakers learn together and use that learning to drive concrete changes in the way grantmaking work gets done. As a field, we've made progress. And, as we continue learning together, our understanding of effective philanthropy evolves.

    • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
    • June 2018

Upcoming Events

  • Remote Learning and Webinars

    2/20/19 Change Leaders in Philanthropy Informational Webinar

    Join us to learn more about the Change Leaders in Philanthropy Fellowship, a 10-month peer cohort program for senior leaders who are responsible for developing and shepherding key change efforts in their organizations. We will provide an overview of the program’s structure and goals, as well as an opportunity for you to hear and learn directly from program facilitators and current cohort participants.

    • February 2019
  • Remote Learning and Webinars

    3/14/19 Change Leaders in Philanthropy Informational Webinar

    Join us to learn more about the Change Leaders in Philanthropy Fellowship, a 10-month peer cohort program for senior leaders who are responsible for developing and shepherding key change efforts in their organizations. We will provide an overview of the program’s structure and goals, as well as an opportunity for you to hear and learn directly from program facilitators and current cohort participants.

    • March 2019
  • Conferences

    2020 National Conference

    • April 2020

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Perspectives on Philanthropy

Interesting thoughts and ideas circulating in the GEO community.

Related Topics

Equity

No matter the outcome we are working toward, our institutions and systems were built to advantage some but not all — and data shows that inequities persist to this day. These inequities become more apparent when we take race into account.

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Strengthening Relationships

When we build trust and tap the knowledge and perspective of nonprofits and the communities we serve, we create better solutions.

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Akilah Massey

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