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Funder Sponsored Technical Assistance

I’m writing to see if any of you are aware of funders working together in your regions to provide technical assistance. We have a few funders who are doing workshops, etc. for their grantees independent of one another but some are now looking to see if they could collaborate. I’d love any leads you may have that I could forward onto them. They’ll be meeting in about 2 weeks to begin formal discussions/planning.

~Nina Stack, Council of New Jersey Grantmakers

 

Philanthropy New York

We have one group of 4 funders who have been doing this for the last two years – group sessions with TA providers for all of their grantees (which do overlap some), with some individual stuff added on for specific grantees. We (PNY) have also recently got a grant from one of the 4 funders to spread the message to members generally about the importance of providing TA support, especially now, through programming, creation of web resources, and other types of convening’s this year. We are just putting together our work plan around this.

Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers

We have one funder that has a specific TA grant program, but not offering the TA themselves. I am sure some do this informally though…. Would love more information about this…

Maine Philanthropy Center

In Maine, several funders along with the nonprofit association have been funding a series of "Viability Clinics" that is more of an assessment process leading to focused technical assistance.

I'm attaching a report (see below) that is a bit dated but it's a model you could pass along. If they want additional information, the contact person is Elizabeth Banwell at the Maine Association of Nonprofits ebanwell@nonprofitmaine.org

Connecticut Council for Philanthropy

We have had a few different groups of funders collaborating on providing technical assistance in specific regions of the State for a few years. We also have one of the oldest and most expansive and successful Nonprofit Management Assistance programs in the country as part of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving – has a multimillion dollar budget and provides supports and programs for the nonprofit organizations and the consultants who work with them..

In the beginning of January, the community foundations in the state met to see how they can be more effective together at sharing and using key speakers brought into the state by others. We will be providing a place to share their information.

Grantmakers Forum of New York

We have a number of funders in different parts of the state that have been providing technical assistance resources to selected nonprofits in their communities. In particular, one member has made significant investments in bringing Susan Kenny Stevens in to work with nonprofits from her Nonprofit Lifecycles portfolio. She has been brought in by other funder groups in other parts of the state since we had her do a workshop at our 2009 funders conference.

Also the NY Council of Nonprofits, our state nonprofit organization, specialized in certain types of technical assistance that is funded by a number of funders around our region. They have focused more on early stage conversations for collaboration and mergers.

Grantmakers of Oregon and Southwest Washington

We do have funders who provide financial support but do not do the training themselves. One of our women's funds builds TA scholarships into each grant that the grantee can apply to nonprofit association training.

Minnesota Council on Foundations

We have a group of management support organizations created in the 1980s that provide TA to nonprofits and were created largely by our corporate grantmakers. One is MAP for Nonprofits http://www.mapfornonprofits.org/, another created by the Minneapolis Foundation is the Nonprofits Assistance Fund http://www.nonprofitsassistancefund.org/ which Susan Stevens used to run years ago, and there are multiple TA providers from United Way to a handful of college and university nonprofit centers here in MN. Hope this is helpful. Our members often use these resources to refer nonprofits to. United Way has put together a major convening each of the last couple of years called United Front. Here is a link to that website http://unitedfrontmn.org/ .

Arizona Grantmakers Forum

A number of our funders provide technical assistance/capacity building programs for their grantees. One, St. Luke’s Health Initiatives, operates a technical assistance program open to all nonprofits in Maricopa County. The program requires that 4-5 nonprofits identify a project they want to work on collaboratively (ie designing a shared data base for domestic violence shelters) and the foundation will provide groups with a professional facilitator who will guide them through the discovery process. The foundation also hosts a peer support group for technical assistance consultants in order to promote learning among the consultants. Several of our funders also support the Alliance of AZ Nonprofits which provides technical assistance. The Arizona State University Lodestar Center also provides some technical assistance.

I’m not aware of any funders who have collaborated around providing technical assistance.

Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania

We have a slightly different model here: one of our members, The Forbes Funds, focuses specifically on funding capacity building in nonprofits as well as research on the nonprofit sector. TFF is a supporting organization of The Pittsburgh Foundation. So, when there is interest in technical assistance, there is a member of the funding community that can act as a partner or the vehicle through which dollars can flow. TFF has been partnering for the past two years with a respected consultant here, Kate Dewey, to provide TA to groups considering program collaborations, restructuring and/or mergers.

Indiana Grantmakers Alliance

We have a number of funders that provide TA to their grantees in a variety of ways, from doing the training themselves, to bringing in an external consultant for individual or multi-organization training, to specifically offering TA grants. I’m not aware of any that have collaborated with other funders, although there was some discussion of it related to NFP collaboration and mergers (ah, the irony ).

Several years ago IGA received a grant from one of our funders to support a study on what TA and capacity building actually means to Indiana nonprofits—here’s a link to the report: http://www.indiana.edu/~nonprof/results/npcapacity/charitycapacityassess...

Colorado Association of Funders

Our biggest community foundation (The Denver Foundation) has an active technical assistance grant program. It's explained here: http://www.denverfoundation.org/grants/page/technical-assistance-grants

Some of our foundation folks provide what they refer to as technical assistance when they can't make grants. In other words, for example, we have one family foundation staffer (a family member) who encourages nonprofits who don't get grants (because they have a relatively small amount to give each year) to seek his advice and guidance on various issues they face. We also have a foundation CEO who is a former accountant and while her foundation only funds a very specific type of nonprofit, she has developed a list of red flags on financial statements and talks to nonprofits of any stripe about how to improve their reporting, budgeting, financial controls etc. so they can improve their chances of getting grants from other groups.

At the annual C3 Forum (where we bring together grantmakers and grantees for a day of conversation and learning), we had some foundation folks who once were fundraisers conduct a training session on building endowments and two others from our two large capital funders who gave an intensive session on capital campaigns, etc.

We have a nonprofit in Denver, the Community Resource Center (crcamerica.org), that specializes in providing technical assistance and training to nonprofits.

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