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Collaboration in Grantmaking

You’ve probably heard us talk about how we’re stronger together and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to grantmaking. Together we can combine resources, expertise, and connections to better address the needs in the community and move the needle.

One example of this is the North County COVID19 Relief Fund. In March 2020, when the COVID19 pandemic began, we knew nonprofits were going to need support from funders. Moving quickly, we partnered with Coastal Community Foundation and Leichtag Foundation to create a charitable fund through which we could make grants to nonprofits in our region – The North County COVID19 Relief Fund. The three foundations pooled resources, funding, connections, and philanthropy expertise to begin making grants immediately. With representatives from each foundation, the grants committee reviews applications from North County nonprofits seeking funding for their programs addressing the many urgent needs caused by COVID19.

As of the December 2021, the fund has awarded 67 grants totaling $1,148,750, raised over $1,159,200 from donors, including from the three foundations, and leveraged an additional $720,000+ for COVID related needs from other donors.

For more information regarding the North County COVID19 Relief Fund, click here.

Through this collaboration, we accomplished so much more than we would have independently.  And this is true for individual donors as well. The more that donors can partner with a trusted grantmaker like RSFF,  to combine resources and utilize expertise, the more valuable  their grantmaking will be to the causes most important to them.

Community foundations are especially helpful in facilitating collaborative grantmaking and ensuring it meets the most pressing needs in the community. Here are four reasons why you should consider giving to a community foundation to support causes important to you.

  1. They understand the community

Community foundations exist to serve the community. The staff and board spend their time learning about the community’s needs, meeting the nonprofits that serve those needs, and connecting with influencers making a difference in the area. They are able to see the full picture of needs in a community and can address the root causes of systemic problems.

  1. They bring together like-minded philanthropists

Working with donors and learning about what they’re passionate about is part of community foundation work. Staff spend time getting to know donors and connecting them to nonprofits. Staff can help find other philanthropists in the community that are interested in similar programs to pool funding and make larger, more impactful grants.

  1. They know how to evaluate organizations and programs

You can trust that funds will go to vetted programs that will require evaluation and accountability for how funds are spent. Community foundations are familiar with vetting applications, nonprofits, and their proposed programs. They know what to look for in terms of budget, staffing, and long-term sustainability. They also know nonprofits reputations in the community and the work they’ve done to gauge their effectiveness. As we know, nonprofits can be understaffed and spread thin. Community Foundations can work with nonprofits to simplify applications and grant reporting to allow them to focus their attention on serving those in need.

  1. They can distribute money at different stages to multiple organizations addressing the many challenges of the community

The assets at a community foundation are often established into different funds. These funds give the community foundation flexibility to distribute funds as needed. They can make grants immediately and support organizations on the ground addressing the immediate needs. They can also fund projects that address long-term strategies. This funding can also be spread out to multiple nonprofits so different needs are met with different programs. The flexibility the community foundation has, allows them to have a more holistic approach on how to address the community’s needs. When a holistic approach to giving is adapted, we’re able to move the needle and see real change.


To learn more about how you can increase the impact of your grantmaking, contact our staff.