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(Re)thinking Funder Networks and Collaboratives

The field of philanthropy encompasses tens of thousands of funding institutions as well as several hundred philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs) and funder collaboratives. Funders created these PSOs and funder collaboratives—yet we have heard them question the value of their ongoing support for these entities.

Surprisingly, our recent research revealed that funders quickly renewed their appreciation for PSOs and funder collaboratives directly after the controversial 2016 presidential election. In fact, PSOs and funder collaboratives were the “first call” for many funders after election night; funders felt they were essential to enabling the grantmaking community as a whole to respond and adapt in ways that are often challenging for individual institutions.

Of course, ours isn’t the first research seeking to understand how philanthropy is responding to America’s new political environment. But while other reports and news stories have focused on how individual institutions are reacting, our goal was to develop an initial assessment of the new administration’s impact on the broader philanthropic sector.

This article shares three ways PSOs and funder collaboratives have demonstrated their value to funders over the past year.

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