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Partnering In Place

Strategically navigating complex ecosystems to achieve shared goals

Communities are asset-rich and best positioned to assess their immediate needs and plan for better outcomes in the future. Accompanied by funders who respect their insights, support their ability to lead, and commit to sticking around long enough for new ways of engaging to take root, communities can make the enduring gains in collective well-being that we all seek. 

We build and sustain the deep, trusting, and equitable relationships across communities that ensure your vision aligns with critical needs and priorities. This includes working with you to understand the wholeness of communities, strategically navigate these complex ecosystems, and establish tailored, collaborative partnerships with the dynamic leaders, institutions, and other drivers of local change to achieve shared goals.  

Working effectively in place is sometimes challenging, always time-consuming, and often surprising work. But if you are committed to ensuring that your philanthropic resources continue to yield benefits well into the future, we at TCC Group welcome the opportunity to partner with you in envisioning and fulfilling your place-based approach.

Supporting a Place-Based Approach

Across numerous partnerships, TCC Group has facilitated the work of funders in place. Selected examples of our engagements include:

  • Addressing HIV and disrupting health disparities through collaborative community action in major cities. In partnership with a major corporation, for nearly a decade, TCC Group has been working directly with communities in more than 10 cities across the country with a high prevalence of HIV to activate a comprehensive approach to ensuring access to HIV education, prevention, healthcare, and other supportive services. Our collaborative work includes:: conducting  deep listening tours that engaged community leaders alongside organizations and individuals operating in adjacent HIV spaces to inform our collaborative approach; instilling  community collaboration as a fundamental tenet of the initiative; ensuring direct community engagement in the decision-making process for grants;  co-creating transformative cultural activations, and applying deliberate evaluation and learning all along the way. TCC’s place-based strategies have served to build trust, strengthen community voice, leadership, and sustainability, and accelerate community change.  
  • Fostering community resilience and innovation through place-based infrastructure strengthening. In close partnership with anchor foundations and corporations in locales ranging from New Haven to San Antonio to Northwest Arkansas , TCC Group has implemented numerous comprehensive place-based strategies that bolster entire nonprofit ecosystems. From helping important and promising organizations prioritize their own and community capacity needs to building an infrastructure of intermediaries, consultants, and community members equipped to provide ongoing expert guidance and coaching, TCC has fostered place-based innovation that delivers both immediate and long-term impact.
  • Identifying how to increase the impact of place-based investments as they happen. Over a seven-year collaboration with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, TCC Group led an ongoing evaluation of the foundation’s new “strategic co-investor” approach in Buffalo, Columbus, and San Antonio. TCC’s evaluation process flipped the lens to focus on how Casey showed up in communities with its novel community-led approach to place-based work. These learnings enabled the foundation to make adjustments to its strategy in real time that resulted in greater community impact and long-term benefits.

Working effectively in place is sometimes challenging, always time-consuming, and often surprising work. But if you are committed to ensuring that your philanthropic resources continue to yield benefits well into the future, we at TCC Group welcome the opportunity to partner with you in envisioning and fulfilling your place-based approach.

Our Approach Includes

Strategic Communications

Championing the relationship between you and the community

No funder should feel the need to engage in place alone. We at TCC Group can be your guide, your bridge, and your companion. Through our vast experience in building and maintaining trusted relationships in place, we can develop and evolve an approach that meets your needs and those of the community you seek to serve. We can also serve as a bridge between you and the community, minimizing power differentials and nurturing mutual understanding and the establishment of shared goals. Finally, we will be beside you throughout this journey, learning and adapting together to maximize the potential for positive outcomes and equitable and enduring community strengthening and impact.

Stakeholder Engagement

Listening deeply to community needs and priorities

The only way to understand what a community really needs is to build the kind of trusting relationships that reinforce that you are there to listen and not instruct, learn and not judge, lift up and not displace. We at TCC Group term this deep listening, and it guides the relationships we have built and sustained with communities across the country. 

There is no single way to listen deeply to the needs and dreams of communities, and TCC tailors its approach to the particularities and nuances of each one. Building relationships with community leaders, grassroots organizers, local residents, area funders, and government officials may all be part of our approach to identifying priorities, opportunities, resources, and potential partners for you—as well as identifying possible obstacles to success. Deep listening ensures that from the outset community members fully understand your commitment to working with them to make positive, lasting change. 

Grantmaking Services

Activating multiple systems to advance community change

Even the smallest communities represent complex ecosystems built on existing and emergent relationships, priorities, and needs. TCC Group approaches working in place from a perspective of leveraging local assets through a mix of systems-attuned, intersectional strategies customized to the social change aspirations of each community. Grantmaking, leadership development, and technical assistance may unlock change in one community, while public policy work, support for community organizing, and investments in the arts may make it happen in another. 

Critical to success is a setting aside of preconceived agendas and being receptive to the often innovative, as well as practical ideas that come from those living and working in place. TCC’s role in this process is to serve as a prism for clarifying, refining, and, if needed, enhancing the ideas of both community members and funder partners to foster approaches with the greatest potential for yielding lasting results. 

Initiative Design and Implementation

Sustaining the positive social impact of your place-based approach

Supporting lasting change is an intentional act. Place-based initiatives guided by TCC Group embed a focus on how community partners are seeking to expand and enhance their skills and knowledge and provide the means for them to access that learning. We also co-create opportunities – through convenings, peer exchanges, etc. – for community partners to engage with others in their own communities and well beyond for shared support, knowledge generation, and inspiration. Through this reinforcement of positive change leveraged by TCC’s extensive national networks, we can help you to ensure that your funding will result in long-lasting benefits.

Evaluation and Learning

Amplifying learnings and insights to magnify the benefits of your funding

Core to TCC Group’s work in place is facilitating processes that continuously reflect upon and advance learning from ongoing community-centered efforts. We prioritize creating space for communities to pause and take stock of what they are learning, how the environment is changing, and what should be tried a different way through structured, intentional feedback loops. We also work with stakeholders to choose and collect evaluative data that enables them to understand the impact programs are having and where they could be doing better. Finally, we also work with partners to assess the effectiveness of the funder as an integral partner–the extent to which they are showing up effectively and ensuring that evaluation and learning is a two-way street.

This engagement builds upon lessons learned from our years of experience in evaluating place-based initiatives. When it comes to understanding long-term impact, we know evaluation has to be about more than what was achieved and by whom. TCC creates comprehensive understanding that encompasses anticipated and unanticipated outcomes, as well as how community institutions and relationships have evolved as the result of funder support. Our evaluative frameworks also lay the groundwork for regular monitoring and reporting, facilitating emergent learning, and providing technical assistance and capacity building support when needed.

Landscape Analysis

Understanding the landscape and community readiness for your investment

Deep listening is foundational in helping TCC Group provide you with a detailed environmental scan of how a place currently functions and which members of the community would welcome and be ready to partner with you in advancing your priorities. Especially important are the relationships we build with community leaders and gatekeepers to have frank and thoughtful dialogue about readiness of an external partner and the community to be able to embrace and magnify new resources and novel approaches to address their priorities. TCC supplements this direct learning with explorations of relevant resources ranging from government statistics to news articles to annual reports to meeting minutes to provide you with the nuanced contextual knowledge and data you will need to determine whether and how best to proceed in supporting a community.