Giving Compass’ Take:
• The Jim Joseph Foundation created a Funder Collaborative that encouraged philanthropists to create or improve upon local initiatives for youth development in their own communities, while also receiving support and sharing lessons about how to run these initiatives efficiently.
• How could funder collaboratives advance work in your issue areas(s)? Are you ready to participate in a collaborative?
• Learn when collaboration in valuable.
In 2013, about a dozen funders from across the U.S. began meeting together to better understand how to develop and invest in local opportunities to educate and engage Jewish teens. Convened by the Jim Joseph Foundation, members of the group were already supporting teen programming but seeking ways to do it better in order to significantly expand teen involvement in active Jewish life.
By the end of 2014, the group had developed into a Funder Collaborative in which at least half of the members were in the midst of or ready to begin grantmaking to support comprehensive, innovative and sustainable new community-based teen initiatives. The purpose of the Jewish Teen Education & Engagement Funder Collaborative is to provide a platform for shared learning and collaboration among grantmaking professionals at Jewish Foundations and Federations planning to invest in community-based Jewish teen education initiatives designed to achieve the group’s shared measures of success.
As a young Funder Collaborative, the group has been strikingly successful in moving toward its goals. Here are some below:
- Almost all members report a high or extremely high level of satisfaction with their participation in the Collaborative.
- The Collaborative’s content and structure are meeting members’ needs, and members continue to commit the time required for active participation.
From the start, as noted in the shared measures of success, one of the Collaborative’s goals was to create community initiatives with staying power—initiatives that would capture the imagination of local funders and donors and continue to receive adequate local funding in future years when the national funding pools were exhausted.
To increase the likelihood of this, local funders in the Collaborative have agreed to engage other stakeholders in planning and financially supporting their new teen initiatives.
A local funder’s work includes bringing together the right set of players for their community to craft the initiative design, creating a shared vision locally, ensuring that the local goals and expectations align with the larger national visions.