Q & A With an Experienced Collaborator

By Sara Beggs, Exponent Philanthropy

Whether across sectors or among funders, collaboration is increasingly touted as a way to achieve impact. But what makes a collaboration successful? Is it a practical strategy for funders with few or no staff?

For insights, I talked with Exponent Philanthropy member Liz Sak, executive director of The Cricket Island Foundation. Liz initiated and participates in several funder collaboratives and uses nonprofit collaboration as a key strategy to affect change in the field of youth development.

What are the ways you use collaboration to achieve your mission?

Liz: We use it to learn about youth development, influence other funders with regard to practices and grantees, and build opportunities for nonprofits to collaborate together.

What were your first steps in creating a funder collaborative? 

Liz: We first invited individual organizations and groups of organizations to the foundation to educate us about the field of youth development. We also met with funders and other key stakeholders, relying on each connection to lead to another. The meetings were about listening and being open, and the collaboration developed organically out of these conversations.

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The Sky Really Is Falling…So What’s Next?

By Liz Sak, Cricket Island Foundation

This posting original appeared on Smart Assets The Philanthropy New York Blog, April 3, 2012.

When the 2008 financial crisis hit, endowments of smaller foundations were hit hard. We all knew the recovery would take time. We just didn’t know how long.

In Diminishing Dollars: The Impact of the 2008 Financial Crisis on the Field of Social Justice Philanthropy, a report we recently helped produce in partnership with Foundation Center, we found that social justice grantmaking levels through 2015 will remain below 2008 levels, unless the smaller funders who primarily support community-based social change see 5 years of above-average investment returns.

We believe these results can be extrapolated to the broader funding community. Continue reading