Collaboration: “Locals” and “Nationals” Getting On the Same Page

Historically, Washington, DC hasn’t attracted very many national funders–but that seems to be changing. Witness the Wallace Foundation’s recent grant to the DC Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation for out-of-school time efforts, or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s investments in D.C.’s schools and college readiness programs.

Why the shift? For the Wallace Foundation at least, one driving factor was the work of Washington Grantmakers’ Children, Youth, and Families Working Group (CYFWG). CYFWG convened area grantmakers and demonstrated a commitment to working together to reach common goals. Having that kind of collaborative infrastructure in place is very attractive to national funders looking for smart investments.

The Gates Foundation Education Briefing,
Tuesday, Jan. 30

But collaboration is even more important once a national funder arrives. Experienced local grantmakers have an important role to play in coordinating and maximizing everyone’s efforts. To that end, Washington Grantmakers’ CYFWG convened members last Tuesday to learn about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s education investments. If you were there, you know that this was a key meeting at a key time. The Gates Foundation’s education commitment in DC is significant, both in size and in potential for impact. And there is new energy around this issue; despite well-publicized squabbles, our elected officials realize that now’s the time for real action and real solutions for the sake of our children.

We can help them seize this moment—but only if we keep coordinating at the local level with our national colleagues.

Best regards,

Tamara Lucas Copeland
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers