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Emerging organizations receive help to effectively utilize grant funds
The Pacific Life Foundation asked Community Partners to enhance a major capacity-building grant to a group of disparate Orange County nonprofit organizations. The foundation made grants to enable 25 local nonprofits to hire either a development director or a volunteer coordinator. Community Partners was brought in to evaluate the impact of the grants and provide technical assistance to the grantee organizations.
We also learned that there are other roles that our foundation can play in building an agency’s capacity to meet community needs...Community Partners’ services have helped our program tremendously
— Bob Haskell, President, Pacific Life Foundation
Helping the primarily small-budget organizations make the best use of very large capacity-building grants. Pacific Life’s President Bob Haskell said he and his staff hadn’t realized how tough it would be for the agencies to fill positions and, in some cases, retain the new hire as well. In response, the foundation extended the deadline for the agencies to recruit for the new positions and provided a workshop on seeking and retaining employees.
How Community Partners Has Helped
An unexpected outcome of Community Partners’ evaluation of the Pacific Life grants was the development of a network among the grantee organizations that continues beyond the life of the grants. Through Community Partners’ evaluation process, we found that the leaders of the grantee organizations wanted to learn from the experiences of their fellow leaders.
With staff’s extensive expertise in building peer learning networks, the group proved beneficial for all involved and participants have chosen to continue convening on a variety of topics. “It’s been so rewarding,” said Community Partners’ staff member at the time, Jan Kern, who helped develop topics and set agendas for the meetings. “They’re a good cohesive support group. They’ve made it exactly what they want it to be without anything being imposed on them from the outside.”
From the foundation’s perspective, Bob Haskell said Pacific Life has gained an accurate assessment of how its grants have helped the agencies. “We also learned that there are other roles that our foundation can play in building an agency’s capacity to meet community needs...Community Partners’ services have helped our program tremendously.”
SOURCE: Community Partners 2001-2002 Biennial ReportRead more of our Strategic Initiative Success Stories!
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