“The way we worked before, whatever worked before is changing, transforming. Are we prepared, proactive?” That was the over-arching question from last week’s Joint Conference of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and the Minnesota Council on Foundations.
Right in line with our conference theme, “Transforming Our Work: From Challenging Times to Hopeful Futures,” Steve Gunderson, president and CEO of the Council on Foundations, shared his thoughts on transformations in philanthropy.
Foundations are moving toward mobilizing resources and making strategic philanthropic investments. The reality is, after the federal stimulus money is gone, resources will not be available to return to the way we worked before. “How will we respond?” Gunderson asks. “Now is the era of partnerships.”
Gunderson cites education as an example. In the past, the public, private and philanthropic sectors worked separately in their own way to tackle their priorities. In this new time of partnering, these sectors are playing not just side by side but together.
Philanthropy’s role can be to create innovation – to connect the dots – to connect funding resources with those who need it. Gunderson outlines the four Cs key to public/private philanthropic partnerships:
- Connections: Nonprofit delivery systems and the philanthropic sectors need to be connected with the public sector. This needs to occur on the federal level, and just as importantly, on the state and local levels. Regional associations and local governments must be involved too.
- Communication: Sharing, opening and broadening communication that is two-way is important to partnership success and future efforts.
- Capacity-building: What role can philanthropy play in equipping nonprofits and government?
- Convenings: Bringing diverse groups in each community together to define strategies and move forward is key. Nonprofits who are on the ground, know the needs of their communities and provide delivery systems to meet those needs must also take responsibility for bringing the many players together.
Join the conversation: What’s your take on this new era of public/private/philanthropic partnerships? What can and should be the role of each sector? What’s a great case study or partnership example?
– Chris Murakami Noonan, MCF communications associate