Nonprofit Performance 360 Issue 12
CYNTHIA M. ADAMS
Funding Public-Private Partnerships
We are also seeing a number of regional funders, particularly foundations, step into the public- private partnership arena. For example, the Frey Foundation primarily supports nonprofit organizations in Grand Rapids/ Kent County, and in Charlevoix and Emmet counties in northern Michigan. The Foundation focuses a lot of their attention on building community, something that is quite in line with public-private partnerships. Their specific goal is stated thus: to foster civic action to improve the livability of existing urban centers and towns. Their grantmaking priorities include building strong and attractive city centers and revitalized neighborhoods, fostering public/private partnerships that further city center revitalization, and encouraging well-planned development with broad community input. The Frey Foundation issued a call for proposals to be submitted during a five- week period in September and October 2018. That request stated that it was to “focus andmobilize talent in the community to generate innovative ideas that will accelerate access to sustainable, quality housing opportunities in Kent County, with an emphasis on ALICE populations (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). The ultimate goal of this initiative is to catalyze creative place-based solutions that help position Kent County and West Michigan among the best in class for housing affordability.” They were clearly looking for collaborative efforts via this RFP (request for proposals). The award was up to $150,000 for such a partnership.
Understanding exactly what a public- private partnership is can be a bit of a brain twister. The World Bank offers a fairly traditional description of these sorts of partnerships that is worth checking out. And I am sure many others in this issue have discussed this in great depth. My assignment is to help you figure out who actually funds these types of partnerships. Let me share with you a few examples of grant makers that completely understand, and financially support, public-private partnerships. U.S.GrantMakers FundingPartnerships There is a whole raft of grant makers stepping into this field, funding partnerships and collaborative efforts of all kinds. The interesting thing is that most of these funders have a much broader definition of how a public-private partnership might look. Instead of being limited to governments working alongside private enterprises and nonprofit organizations, they are also interested in nonprofits working hand in hand with business, not even engaging government participation, or perhaps a group of nonprofits working alongside government, excluding any sort of private enterprise. As the definition of these types of partnerships expands, so do the funding sources. One of the major reasons these collaborative efforts have become so very popular is one word: sustainability. Collaborative efforts that address a particular problem or issue have shown great results when it comes to working together. And they have consistently demonstrated that these partnerships generate a very real, very sustainable effort.
A quick search on the GrantStation data- base, using Community Development and Collaborations as key words, resulted in over 300 grant makers. As you can see, the depth of any sort of collaborative effort drives the number of interested funders way up. Let me share with you a few funders that are clearly interested in the more traditional model of public-private partnerships. Enterprise Community Partners creates op- portunities for low- and moderate-income people through affordable housing in di- verse, thriving communities. Enterprise prides itself in supporting neighborhood so- lutions through public-private partnerships with financial institutions, governments, community organizations, and others that share its vision. One example of the type of partnership funded via Enterprise is the Community Adaptation Program launched in New Orleans in 2017. This is a huge effort to deal with the city’s continual flooding problems, sometimes due to hurricanes and sometimes due to just a downpour. In this article “Building Resilience in New Orleans through Public, Private and Nonprofit Partnerships” (published March 27, 2018, on the Enterprise website), it is clear that these partnerships can sometimes be fairly complex.
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