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Is Giving Together for Social Impact the Right Philanthropy Model For You?

Philanthropists who have donor advised funds at The San Diego Foundation are generous people who want to make a difference with their grantmaking. One bold approach to giving back that often targets systemic issues is called collaborative funding, or giving together.

This model of philanthropy is designed to leverage the resources, efforts and knowledge of numerous funders to tackle challenges that would otherwise be insurmountable.

The value of giving together is shared learning, shared specialized expertise and shared commitment to invest in positive social change. Individual donors have confidence their charitable investments will be deployed with maximum impact when giving together.

How Does It Work?

When giving together, a group of foundations, community-based organizations, donors and other stakeholders collaborate to address an issue through coordinated philanthropy.

A regional example is The San Francisco Foundation, which has several programs focused on long-term solutions that combine its deep grantmaking expertise with extensive relationships.

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The San Francisco Foundation works with funding partners including the East Bay Community Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the California Endowment, Ford Foundation, Hewlett Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Some of The San Francisco Foundation’s cross-sector initiatives include: public and private investments to strengthen and expand the Bay Area’s workforce training system; a loan program to build affordable housing near Bay Area rail and bus stops; and a three-year public-private partnership that aims to promote citizenship and civic participation among San Francisco’s naturalization-eligible immigrants.

Several collaborative efforts among national funders are profiled in “High Stakes Donor Collaborations”, an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review that evaluates efforts to improve New York City public schools, increase energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, expand marine reserves and reduce over-fishing.

How is Giving Together Different from Collective Giving?

Collective giving, sometimes referred to as giving circles, represents a form of participatory philanthropy where groups of individuals donate to a pooled fund. They decide together where to grant the funds, and seek to increase awareness of and impact on community challenges.

The San Diego Women’s Foundation and The San Diego Foundation’s nine regional affiliate organizations (including Carlsbad, Escondido and Chula Vista) are examples of collective giving.

Share how you give together with other charitable San Diegans in the comments below!

What to Look For

According to “Funder Collaboratives: Why and How Funders Work Together”, when giving together, donors should seek out collaboratives where partners have defined goals, set clear operational guidelines, and ensure the collaborative functions well for grantees.

The San Diego Foundation mobilizes resources to advance a vibrant quality of life, maximize the impact of social investments and champion civic engagement.

We provide opportunities for donors to give together as a catalyst for change for at-risk youth, the environment, arts & culture, climate change, age friendly communities, community development and more.

Donors who support giving together can achieve systemic change by taking advantage of partner reputations, networks, expertise and financial resources to advance the common good. Giving together through collaborative funding models offer donors a compelling way to make a difference because they maximize philanthropic investment.

For more information on giving together at The San Diego Foundation, please contact us.

Share how you give together in your community in the comments below!

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