Strategic Co-funding: An Approach for Expanded Impact

Publication date: 
October, 2012

Recognizing that we can achieve more working together than acting alone, there is increasing interest among private and public sector funders, nonprofits, community organizations and corporations alike to find ways to effectively align resources to grow impact.

Strategic co-funding is a key way grantmakers of all types and sizes can expand the impact of their grants, leverage knowledge and resources (both philanthropic and public funds), and reduce administrative burdens on themselves and grantees.

Co-funding is not a new idea — grantmakers have been pooling resources and other support for a long time. However, recent efforts have contributed to a more sophisticated understanding of how to ensure that co-funding arrangements have the desired impact. REDF’s 2008 article “Out of Philanthropy’s Funding Maze: Roadmap #1, Strategic Co-Funding” offered a framework to think about structural options as well as recommendations for a successful co-funding journey. From 2007 to 2012, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, a GEO member, has shared lessons learned from its Growth Capital Aggregation Pilot, three co-investment funds investing $120 million of growth capital over five years in three high-impact grantees. Since 2010, the federal Social Innovation Fund program has mobilized public and private resources to grow promising, community-based solutions that have evidence of compelling impact in three areas of priority need: economic opportunity, healthy futures and youth development.

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