There are many challenges facing the communities we serve–healthcare, education, income inequality, immigration, environmental issues, and social justice, among others. To address these pressing issues, many grantmakers have joined together in collaborative efforts. We have national organizations such as Grantmakers in the Arts, Grantmakers in Aging, and Grantmakers in Health as well as local networks such as Bay Area Early Childhood Funders, Bay Area Democracy Funders, Bay Area Asset Funders Network, and Bay Area Justice Funders Network.
These grantmaker collaborations have been able to bring focus and expertise to a number of critical issues as well as helping to focus philanthropic dollars. They have also allowed grantmakers to launch initiatives and projects that otherwise would have stalled. As a broad based membership association, what role can Northern California Grantmakers play in supporting these efforts? The reality is that organizations such as NCG play a critical role in the success of these issue-focused collaborations because we recognize that no issue is an island.
Who can link the education funders with those focused on immigration and a path to citizenship?
Who can bring together the funders focused on supporting resource starved communities in Marin, the East Bay and Silicon Valley?
Who can bring together the corporate funders with government agencies and private foundations?
Who can bring together public policy, research, and resources to move grantmakers to action?
NCG’s track record for bringing together grantmakers speaks for itself:
- AIDS Partnership California (APC): The APC started as an NCG collaborative fund in 1987 and later transferred to the California HIV/AIDS Research Program as one of its funding programs in 2009.
- NCG’s Arts Loan Fund (ALF) and Emergency Loan Fund (ELF): The ALF and ELF have been around since the early days of NCG. Using these pooled loan funds, NCG members have given over 2,500 low-interest bridge loans–over $40 million–to Bay Area nonprofit organizations.
- Disaster Preparedness Task Force: NCG housed this member-led initiative to develop a disaster preparedness toolkit for grantmakers which culminated in a disaster preparedness toolkit.
- Nurturing networks: NCG has assisted a number of member-led networks including the Bay Area Asset Funders Network, the Bay Area Health Funders Group and the newly formed Mad Hatters Network to bring together funders to discuss issues and job roles.
We cannot allow critical issues to exist in silos. The balkanization of philanthropy will only result in less impact. Whatever your area of interests is, we must realize that the solutions to these critical issues are related and often interdependent. We know lasting solutions need holistic approaches.
At NCG, we firmly believe that it is only by working together, collaboratively, across issue areas and geographic regions that we can develop comprehensive and sustainable solutions that result in real impact.
Together we can ensure more people have access to critical services, build vibrant arts and cultural institutions, and create healthy, resilient communities. Together we can work towards a thriving society for all.
Together we can be the change.