Funders Forum

About a decade ago, various Benton County funders sought a way to work more closely together. They had a dream that by coordinating their efforts, they could create a much bigger community impact. Progress was made on a collaborative funding model, but there was a need for a neutral organization to lead and coordinate the effort.

In early 2015, United Way convened a Funders Forum at the request of several funders, and agreed to serve as the backbone organization for the process.

We know the local social service funding landscape could look much different if funders have common terminology, measurements and goals, share our research, and pool our resources.

We don't know the final form, but fully expect that it will be much better - for people receiving services, for agencies, and for the community.

The group has several preliminary goals:

  • Create at atmosphere of trust
  • Find common terminology
  • Understand one another's priorities
  • Explore opportunities for efficiency for applicant agencies across multiple funders
  • Create an easy and transparent communication conduit
  • Identify mechanism(s) to best invest limited funds in meeting need today and keeping problems from happening in the first place 

Discussion from the August meeting addressed Forum membership, identified actionable projects, and chose the first project to move forward.

The Forum is organized as a network concept where the value of participation at a particular meeting or series of meetings is left up to each member to decide.
 

Identified Projects

  • Develop a communication mechanism for Forum members
  • Building knowledge base of individual Funder priorities, for the purpose of identifying co-funding opportunities
  • Identifying competitive grant process efficiencies: streamlined app process & timeline(s), common application, common reporting form(s), evaluation & review best practices

Current Project

Regional Assessment: Conducting an inventory of all assessments; reviewing for overlaps and gaps, and evaluating for potential efficiencies

 


Forum Participants

  • Benton Community Foundation
  • City of Corvallis
  • Community Services Consortium
  • Corvallis Zonta
  • Linn Benton Health Equity Alliance
  • Love, INC. of Benton County
  • Orgon Cascades West Council of Governments
  • The Oregon Community Foundation
  • Samaritan Health Services
  • United Way of Linn County
  • Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services