What is a Public-Private Partnership?

When public agencies or municipalities work with community foundations, they rely on the strengths of those organizations to help distribute funds for programs that help community members.
When public agencies or municipalities work with community foundations, they rely on the strengths of those organizations to help distribute funds for programs that help community members.

Nonprofits represent a key component in the social and economic fabric of our communities. Many nonprofits create and develop important programs and initiatives that improve the quality of life for those in their region. Without grants or funding from a public entity, government agency or generous individuals and businesses, many community projects would never come to fruition.  

Public-private Partnerships

Fortunately, public-private partnerships are bringing together the financial resources of donors, public agencies, and municipalities to support nonprofits strengthening our communities. Financing a project or program through a public-private partnership allows a project to be completed on time, and might even make the project viable in the first place. 

The “public” part of the partnership is funded by the public through tax dollars, such as those received by school districts, municipalities or public agencies.

The “private” part of the partnership in this example is a nonprofit organization, such as The San Diego Foundation, but can also include businesses.

Community Benefits

Public-private partnerships can help communities make the most of limited resources. The funds from the private or public sectors support projects that create economic growth and strengthen much-needed social programs.

Public-private partnerships can improve infrastructure, create job opportunities and transform communities with better funded social, health, economic, and environmental programs and services.  

The Work of Community Foundations

People and corporations inclined to give to charitable organizations often turn to community foundations to be their philanthropic guide and partner. Community foundations create a “trust” of charitable resources to be distributed to fund nonprofits supporting programs in their community.

When public agencies or municipalities work with community foundations, they rely on the strengths of those organizations, such as their nonprofit network or grant-making ability, to help distribute funds for programs that help community members.

Community foundations like The San Diego Foundation are an important resource for public-private partnerships because they help navigate where the funds should go to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship between the fiscal source and the nonprofits who will receive the funds.

How Nonprofits have Benefitted

Public-private partnerships have made a big difference in the quality of life for thousands of San Diegans. Despite the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, The San Diego Foundation has successfully guided government, corporations and philanthropists to fund nonprofit organizations that are contributing to the well-being and prosperity of the San Diego region. Here are some recent programs.

San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center

Launched in August 2021, the San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center is a partnership between The San Diego Foundation, regional municipalities and public agencies, and The Brookings Institution, one of the world’s top think tanks. The Policy & Innovation Center, a new 501(c)3 nonprofit organization of The San Diego Foundation, builds partnerships to create cross-sector, multi-jurisdictional solutions to problems that require massive collective effort and extend beyond the reach of any single agency or department. These include regional challenges such as climate resilience, critical infrastructure, creating stable, high-paying jobs, homelessness, housing affordability and health equity.

Level Up SD

After receiving funds from San Diego Unified School District earlier this year, grants were awarded to 88 local nonprofit organizations to support afternoon summer enrichment programs for San Diego Unified families. The Level Up SD program provided free summer enrichment camps and programs for students to participate in, including Girls Scouts San Diego, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego, Junior Achievement of San Diego, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, Elementary Institute of Science and La Jolla Playhouse, among others.

The San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund (CRF) 

The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for many in San Diego but even more so for under-resourced families. In response to the ongoing pandemic, a coalition of philanthropy, government and business partners created the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund at The San Diego Foundation.

With federal funds given to the Foundation from San Diego County, the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund has supported more than 2.3 million services delivered by local nonprofits to San Diegans impacted by the pandemic—and granted more than $67 million to organizations countywide. These important services were provided thanks to donations from more than 3,700 individuals, foundations, government, donor-advised funds and businesses.

Because of the CRF’s success addressing the needs of those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, The San Diego Foundation received The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships in July 2021.