Nonprofits take on capacity challenges

By Todd Cohen

[Note: I am working with Triangle Community Foundation as senior communications adviser.]

Housing for New Hope in Durham and Communities in Schools of Wake County both found a better way to collect data to help show funders their impact.

Camp High Hopes at YMCA of the Triangle found a more personal way to tell the story of its impact on kids.

And Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network found untapped support among its supporters to contribute some of the funds it needed.

Those lessons were among many that the four groups and other nonprofits learned through a program Triangle Community Foundation launched this year to help strengthen nonprofits that focus on youth literacy and community development.

The Foundation selected 22 organizations to participate in the first phase of the effort, awarding 20 of them about $2,500 each to conduct an assessment of their organizational capacity and inviting two representatives of each organization to participate in a “learning cohort.”

Of the two representatives from each nonprofit, one played a leadership role at the organization, and the other was involved either in youth literacy or community development.

“Funding and resources for capacity building are always the top struggle we hear about from nonprofits in our community,” says Lori O’Keefe, president of Triangle Community Foundation.

“We are attempting to fill this gap that many of these organizations see in their ability to build their capacity and strengthen their mission,” she says. “Having stronger nonprofits means they will be able to have a larger, collective impact on the issues they are working on in these areas.”

Capacity workshops

Participants in the learning cohort attended three workshops on topics that included how to work with consultants; data collection, evaluation and “logic modeling;” and how to tell a nonprofit’s story.

Nonprofits face a broad range of needs involving their organizational “capacity,” and they have a broad range of awareness about those needs, says Micah Gilmer, senior partner at Frontline Solutions, a consulting firm that designed and facilitated the workshops for Triangle Community Foundation.

Participants also shared with one another how they identify their organizational needs, and attended Triangle Community Foundation’s “What Matters” community luncheon in Raleigh on April 2, as well as a special session just for them with Leslie Crutchfield, the keynote speaker at the conference, who talked about the role of innovation and “collective impact” in making a difference on pressing community issues.

Story-telling

Communicating more effectively is a key need among all nonprofits, Gilmer says.

“One thing all of us can do better is being able to tell our story, and being able to talk in real terms about the people we’re touching, the lives we’re changing, and the way our work is connected to the broader challenges our state and our region face,” he says.

A big part of telling that story, he says, is to use data in a way to shows “you understand what the challenges are but also have real innovative solutions that can turn things around.”

Participants in the workshops agreed.

Karen Barlow, development specialist at YMCA of the Triangle, says that in preparing grant applications to support Camp High Hopes, a summer program for at-risk kids, she had used data to show the number of children who can or cannot read at grade level.

What she learned at the workshop on storytelling, she says, was that “you need to tell the story of the kid as much as you can because people are going to identify with him or her.”

At the workshop, led by writer Scott Huler, she says, she also learned that a good story also needs “a main character, a conflict, a climax and a resolution.”

So, instead of simply citing the percentage of elementary school students who are reading below grade level, for example,  her funding requests now might begin by saying that “Louis can barely read,” and then explain how Camp High Hopes addresses that need, and the difference it makes for Louis, she says.

What she learned, she says, was “how to bring your story to life as much as you can,” and how to “write a stronger narrative, or an application with a story,” and “illustrate your program better with a person rather than facts and figures.”

Data collection

Melissa Hartzell, development director at Housing for New Hope, a Durham nonprofit that provides access to integrated services, health care and housing for people who are homeless, was looking for a way to better collect data on its impact so it could give funders a better picture of the difference it was making.

During a conversation at one of the workshops, she says, she mentioned that her agency lacked that data to show the improvement in school among homeless children with access to stable housing.

Based on a suggestion from another workshop participant, Housing for New Hope now is working with the families it serves and the schools their children attend to obtain their test scores.

It will use that information to better tell its story to donors, Hartzell says.

Roberta Hadley, director of strategic initiatives at Communities in Schools of Wake County, says the agency also has been looking for a better way to collect data that show its impact on students it serves.

One of its community learning centers, for example, serves 60 to 65 students after school. While the students all live in the same community, they attend up to 25 different schools, making it a challenge to track data on their performance in school.

Partly as a result of the workshop session on data, Communities in Schools has centralized its data collection and now is working with staff at the central office for the Wake County Public School System to collect data, rather than having staff members at individual learning centers try to gather that data from multiple schools.

Data evaluation

Catherine Pleil, executive director of the Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network, or DIHN, says her agency is moving to a new model for delivering its services, and needed to make better sense of its data on donors and potential donors.

The agency, which has provided emergency shelter for homeless families by rotating where they stay among over 30 congregations, now aims to provide families with stationary housing.

To raise the money to do that, DIHN used its capacity-assessment grant from Triangle Community Foundation to hire consultants Moss+Ross to analyze its database of supporters.

The analysis found that, while the agency has a large database of supporters, many of them may not be contributing as much financial support as they can, reflecting untapped capacity for DIHN to raise the funds it needs to support its new strategy.

Capacity challenges

Gilmer says cuts in government funding for social services has created new capacity issues for nonprofits already facing big capacity challenges.

Not only do nonprofits face often complicated reporting requirements tied to the government funds they continue to receive, he says, but they also need to find ways to diversify their funding base as government support shrinks.

The key is to “communicate why and how they’re doing what they’re doing,” he says. “As folks encounter bureaucracy, don’t lose sight of the human element of what they’re doing. Tapping into new funding sources means in many cases learning a new language to talk about your work that conveys the value for the funders.”

In the face of government funding cuts, he says, it is important “to have a funding community that’s really well informed about the challenges that nonprofits face, and that is responsive to their needs.”

What’s next

Now that the cohort has wrapped up, many of the organizations have applied for phase two funding from the Foundation. That funding will focus on helping to put into effect strategies to improve organizational effectiveness that were identified during the assessment phase. Grantees for phase two will be announced in late summer.

“We are really excited to be working intentionally and strategically in this space, to bring together effective organizations to learn from each other, and to build their capacity as well as their drive to collaborate,” says Libby Richards, senior community programs officer for the Foundation.

“We will use the feedback garnered from this first learning cohort,” she says, “to shape the coming year’s program and look forward to seeing the impact that this investment will have on the nonprofit participants and the community.”

Charities working to make collective impact

By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — Facing increasingly complex social and environmental problems, a growing number of nonprofits and donors are finding they can make a greater impact by working together than on their own.

Consider Tom Gipson, CEO of Thomas Gipson Homes, a Raleigh custom homebuilder.

Modeled on Gipson’s effort to enlist local homebuilders who then recruited their subcontractors and suppliers to build houses for Habitat for Humanity of Wake County,  homebuilders throughout the U.S. now have built over 1,300 houses worth $65 million for local Habitat affiliates and will build 210 more and rehab another 50 in June.

 “By leveraging my acquaintances and friends, we were able to get a great deal,” Gipson told a work session at What Matters, an event at the Raleigh Convention Center on April 2 hosted by Triangle Community Foundation that focused on the role of innovation and collaboration in making a difference on critical community issues.

Strategic partnerships

The conference, attended by over 500 business, government and nonprofit leaders, highlighted the “collective impact” that nonprofits and donors can have on pressing community needs through strategic partnerships.

“Great nonprofits build movements, not just organizations,” said keynote speaker Leslie Crutchfield, a consultant who has co-authored books on “catalytic” donors and “high-impact” nonprofits.

What ultimately drives nonprofits “isn’t profits, it’s impact,” she said. “Great nonprofits find points of leverage around them so they can amplify their impact, and it’s all about how they work collaboratively.”

Time of change

It has been just over 100 years since the creation of the first organized philanthropic foundations by industrialists Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, Crutchfield said.

Today, she said, philanthropy looks much different and works much differently than it did then.

There are many more nonprofits in the U.S., an estimated 1.2 million to 1.5 million, giving donors more choices in what to support, and creating more competition for nonprofits, she said.

And there are a lot more foundations, including 75,000 in the U.S. alone.

Donors can use digital technology to learn more about nonprofits before supporting them, and are making not just donations but also loans and equity investments. And nonprofits are using the power of technology to raise money and awareness through “crowdsourcing.”

Donors are demanding and expecting more accountability from nonprofits, and asking them to use metrics to show the outcome of their work.

Changes in the law have resulted in big changes in the way philanthropy and government are interrelated, and philanthropy and businesses are working together more closely, with “capitalism and market forces” driving innovation and collaboration.

“Because of these changes, opportunities for philanthropists and for nonprofit leaders also look very different,” Crutchfield said.

And the problems that nonprofits and philanthropy address have grown much more complex, she said.

Community conversation

In the two years leading up to its 30th anniversary this year, Triangle Community Foundation has studied community needs in partnership with donors, nonprofits and community leaders to find collaborative strategies to fix them, Foundation CEO Lori O’Keefe said at the conference.

“So what we’ve really been doing is having a community conversation,” she said.

As a result of that work, the Foundation has decided to focus on four key areas — community development, environmental conservation, regional cultural arts, and youth literacy.

Collaborative strategies

In partnership with 22 nonprofits that already have been collaborating with other organizations and with one another, and showing success in addressing pressing needs in the region, the Foundation has launched new initiatives in two of those areas — youth literacy and community development.

The Foundation’s investment in youth literacy aims to encourage youth success by improving early childhood reading proficiency, while the investment in community development aims to help expand access to opportunity through comprehensive housing, health and employment.

Later this year, O’Keefe said, the Foundation will be investing in two more new areas.

One will focus on building a regional identity by strengthening the capacity of artistic and cultural organizations through leadership and training, while finding ways to build the Triangle’s cultural offerings, she said.

The other will focus on the conservation of natural resources by investing in strategies that protect and develop land and green space in the Triangle.

Fund for the Triangle

The investment in those four initiatives, O’Keefe said, are being made with discretionary dollars that have been gifted by donors over the Foundation’s 30 years — the Foundation’s Fund for the Triangle.

With those dollars, she said, “we are working to strengthen the organizational capacity of our nonprofit partners so they can build on their success and in turn have a greater impact on our community.”

Advocacy

Crutchfield also said that, in addition to delivering services, many “great nonprofits” also move into advocacy work because they find that’s the only way they can make an impact.

Durham-based Self-Help, for example, was created to make “fair loans to low-income borrowers” to help “poor people bootstrap themselves out of poverty,” Crutchfield said.

But recognizing that many of its clients already were burdened with debt from “predatory lenders,” she said, Self-Help created the Center for Responsible Lending, which has built state and local coalitions and successfully pushed for laws protecting consumers.

Nonprofit networks

Effective nonprofits also build networks to make a greater impact than they could make by themselves, she said.

The CEO of the Heritage Foundation, for example, took the highly unusual step of sharing its donor list with like-minded think-tanks, Crutchfield said, because it would help advance their common goal of free markets.

Collective performance

In an interview, Gipson said he now is spearheading a new partnership involving Wake Habitat, Lutheran Services Carolinas and The Serving Cup, a ministry of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Raleigh.

With funds the groups are raising, Habitat will build three houses in Raleigh, each for three individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, or both, who will pay a monthly fee for housing and services Lutheran Services will provide.

Nonprofits have “moved from isolated impact to collective performance,” Crutchfield said at the conference.

“It means lifting up from worrying about the day to day at your organization,” she said, “while also driving toward larger goals, keeping in mind how you work with those around you.”

[Note: I am working as senior communications adviser for Triangle Community Foundation.]

Triangle Community Foundation invests in capacity-building

DURHAM, N.C. — Triangle Community Foundation is investing $53,400 to strengthen the operations and effectiveness of 22 local nonprofits that have shown success in youth literacy and community development.

The grants, which range from $2,500 to $5,000 and represent the first phase of a new “People and Places” community funding program at the Foundation, will pay for organizational assessments for the nonprofits.

Each assessment will focus on the organization’s mission, vision and strategy; governance and leadership; program delivery and impact; strategic relationships; resource development; and internal operations and management.

Nonprofits receiving grants also will take part in a six-month effort to learn from one another and participate in workshops facilitated by Durham consulting group Frontline Solutions that will focus on collaboration, communication and evaluation.

The next phase of the program will include capacity-building grants for eligible nonprofits.

Those grants, to be awarded this summer, will be used to put into effect strategies that will be developed during the assessments and designed improve the nonprofits’ organizational effectiveness.

The Foundation developed its new community grants program, including its initial focus on capacity building for nonprofits that focus on youth literacy and community development, based on regional data and recommendations from community leaders and funders.

“The statistics are staggering,” says Lori O’Keefe, the Foundation’s president. “Research shows that students who struggle to read by grade three are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma.”

In the Triangle, roughly one in five children lives in poverty, “without the tools they need to succeed,” she says.

“Investing in students at an early age and concentrating on comprehensive approaches to address basic human needs,” she says, “will ensure that our community continues to grow and thrive – now and for generations to come.”

Nonprofit partners focusing on youth literacy that have been awarded assessment grants include Book Harvest; Communities in Schools of Wake County for its elementary school Graduation Coaches collaborative; Frankie Lemmon School; The Hill Center; Kidznotes; Learning Together; Marbles Kids Museum; Read and Feed; Wake Education Partnership; and YMCA of the Triangle for its Y Learning collaborative.

Nonprofit partners focusing on community development include Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh; Community Empowerment Fund; Compass Center for Women and Families; Dress for Success Triangle NC; Durham Economic Resource Center for its adult literacy collaborative; Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network; Healing with CAARE; Hispanic Liaison of Chatham County; Housing for New Hope for its rapid re-housing collaborative; Passage Home; Student Action with Farmworkers for its farmworker advocacy network collaborative; and Triangle Family Services.

Todd Cohen

[Note: I am working with Triangle Community Foundation as senior communications adviser.]

Triangle Community Foundation investing in youth literacy, basic needs

By Todd Cohen

[Note: I am working with Triangle Community Foundation as senior communications adviser.]

DURHAM, N.C. — Triangle Community Foundation is launching programs to invest in organizations that focus on pressing issues in the Triangle.

Based on regional data and recommendations from community leaders and funders, the Foundation has developed new programs that will initially provide support for youth literacy and community development.

In the first phase of the new programs, focusing on support for people, the Foundation will make investments to strengthen organizations that address childhood literacy or provide comprehensive support services for individuals.

The Foundation will provide funds to build the capacity of organizations that have shown success in helping to improve children’s reading by third grade, or in increasing access to well-integrated permanent housing, mental and physical health, and employment services. Priority will be given to groups that collaborate with other organizations.

“To achieve a lifetime of success, children must be able to read and write,” says Lori O’Keefe, the Foundation’s president. “Yet far too many children in the Triangle are falling behind in basic literacy skills and are left with limited opportunities to catch up.

“People in our region also need an affordable place to live, good health care and a job that pays a living wage,” she says. “Yet many in the Triangle lack access to housing, health and employment.”

By strategically investing in the effectiveness of organizations that collaborate on those issues, she says, “the Foundation will be able to make a significant impact on the people and places in our region.”

The Foundation will use funds contributed by donors who do not restrict the use of those dollars or who designate that they be used in a particular field of interest, such as education or community development. Of the $165 million in assets managed by the Foundation, nearly $1 million in this discretionary funding is available each year.

The initial investment will include grants averaging $2,500 to help organizations assess their organizational strengths and capacity challenges, followed by grants averaging $10,000 to $15,000 to help them build their organizational capacity.

In 2014, the Foundation’s new “Support for People and Places” program will expand to focus on the region’s “cultural, artistic and natural vibrancy” by investing in arts and cultural organizations, and strategies that conserve land and protect green space.

Details about the new program, as well as application instructions for the initial capacity building partnerships are available at the Foundation’s website.

Deadline for the initial phase application is October 25.  Nonprofits interested in applying may  visit the Foundation’s website to register for information sessions to be held October 1, 7, and 8.

Triangle Community Foundation is a nonprofit that manages over $160 million in funds established by families, businesses, individuals, and organizations.

From these funds, it makes grants to nonprofit organizations and administers a variety of programs for the community’s benefit.

The Foundation manages over 790 funds, ranging in size from $10,000 to $7 million, mainly for the benefit of Wake, Durham, Orange and Chatham counties. During fiscal 2012-13, the Foundation granted over $13 million to nonprofits, schools and community efforts.

Triangle Community Foundation posts growth

By Todd Cohen

[Note: I am working with Triangle Community Foundation as senior communications adviser.]

DURHAM, N.C. — Triangle Community Foundation posted growth in new funds, total gifts, grants and scholarships, and endowment and assets over the past year.

“We’re happy to see so many of our donors and community partners continuing to engage in and support important causes in our community, and honored to play a role in this work,” says Lori O’Keefe, president of the Foundation.

New funds expand

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 46 new funds were created at the Foundation, up from 33 the previous year, and they ranged in size from $10,000, the minimum allowed, to an estate gift totaling $2.5 million.

New funds totaled $6.5 million, up from $6 million a year earlier, and total gifts, including new funds, totaled $16.8 million up from $16.3 million a year earlier.

“The market has a lot to do with it,” says Jessica Banks Gilmour Aylor, director of development and community partnerships at the Foundation. “Any time we have donors with appreciated assets is the time they will give to charitable organizations.”

Endowment assets grow

As of June 30, endowment assets at the Foundation consisted of over 300 funds totaling $94 million, or nearly 60 percent of all assets, up from $86 million in total endowment assets a year earlier.

Overall assets — including fixed-income and equity investments, as well as pass-through funds that are not invested — grew to $160 million in the year ended June 30 from $145 million a year earlier.

Scholarships increase

For the 2012-13 school year, the Foundation awarded scholarships totaling $654,000 from 49 different scholarship funds to 145 students, with the largest totaling $60,000 over three years and the average award totaling $4,500.

For the 2013-14 school year, the Foundation already has awarded scholarships totaling $628,000 from 51 different scholarship funds to 115 students, and expects the total to be roughly $670,000. The largest scholarship so far totals $60,000 over three years, and the average award so far totals $5,500.

Grants and gifts grow

The Foundation made $13.8 million in grants in the fiscal year ended June 30, up from $13.2 million a year earlier. Of the total grants, $11.6 million came from donor advised funds, up from $10.7 million a year earlier.

Roughly 70 percent of grants from donor advised funds in the most recent fiscal year stayed in the Triangle.

Gifts to the foundation in the most recent fiscal year totaled $16.9 million, up from $16.3 million a year earlier. Of the total gifts, $12.7 million were given to donor advised funds, up from $8.5 million a year earlier.

Family philanthropy

During the year, the foundation launched a series of five education sessions to talk to fundholders about family philanthropy.

The sessions focused on topics such as how to involve family members in the family’s philanthropy, how to get the family’s next generation involved in philanthropy, how to think about creating a family’s philanthropic legacy, and the range of charitable giving options through estate planning.

The Foundation plans to offer more education sessions this year, probably two this fall and two next spring.

Donor education

The Foundation sponsored or co-sponsored four sessions for the Triangle Donors Forum. The sessions focused on the impact of funding cuts on nonprofits; capacity-building for nonprofits; homelessness; and collaboration.

The Foundation plans to sponsor four more sessions this year, some of which likely will be tied to new community programs we are developing.

Community solutions to homelessness urged

By Todd Cohen

[Note: I am working with Triangle Community Foundation as senior communications adviser.]

MORRISVILLE, N.C. — While homelessness can seem beyond any solution, efforts to reduce it are working.

Actually ending homelessness, however, will take truly collaborative community efforts that require patience and hard work, and are well designed, driven by incentives and shared goals, and tracked with useful metrics that show the impact of those efforts.

That was the message of four experts who work on homelessness issues and served on a panel at the April meeting of the Triangle Donors Forum.

Hosted by Triangle Community Foundation and United Way of the Greater Triangle at United Way’s offices in Morrisville, the Forum offered a window into local efforts to fight homelessness by adapting to changes in the funding environment and in perspectives about the causes of the problem and effective strategies to address it.

Roots of homelessness

Characterizing homelessness as “one of the most complex societal problems,” Denise Neunaber, executive director of the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness, told the Donors Forum the keys to ending the problem all are rooted in access — to affordable housing, to services and to income.

In the early 1980s, she said, homelessness was treated as an “emergency situation”  and a problem that eventually would “go away.”

Declines in the development of affordable housing and in wages, however, along with changes in the mental health system and other social forces, have resulted in the spread of homelessness, she said.

Yet the system created to fight homelessness, rooted in the belief it was a temporary crisis, has “taken on a life of its own,” she said.

Shifting strategies

The system that emerged to serve homeless people operated below the “safety net” to “catch people when the safety net doesn’t work,” Neunaber said.

But that system became a kind of “sticky net.”

“We created a system where you need to get services while you’re there,” she said, creating few exits for people in temporary housing who needed ongoing assistance.

But that system should be a “trampoline,” she said, to stabilize their housing while they get other support, including assistance with rent and in securing jobs or disability benefits, or services such as mental health programs or case management.

“People fall out of housing into our system and we try to bounce them back into housing and services,” she said.

Ultimately, she said, getting people out of homelessness requires permanent housing.

“Instead of investing just in services and a temporary place for individuals and families to stay,” she said, “we’re taking it to the next level, investing in housing, in rental assistance and security deposits, to see how quickly we can get people out of the system.”

Homelessness and poverty

Perceptions about what it means to be homeless also have changed, Neunaber said.

For many years, advocates equated fighting homelessness with fighting poverty, believing they had to address the poverty of homeless individuals and families by helping them “get better jobs and make better decisions, ” she said, “and make them better people.”

But over the years, advocates have recognized that “maybe ending homelessness is not the same as ending poverty,” she said. “Maybe ending homelessness is a piece of getting to the next step of ending poverty. We may not be able to end poverty for these individuals and families, but I know we can end  homelessness.”

Neunaber said local partnerships to end homelessness had helped reduce the number of chronically homeless individuals and families in communities across North Carolina, including a declines of 35 percent in Durham, 58 percent in Winston-Salem and and 82 percent in Buncombe County.

‘Rapid Rehousing’

Strategies for serving the homeless more recently have evolved to a “Housing First” model that includes a “Rapid Rehousing” approach focusing on first getting homeless people housed and then providing the services they need to get back on their feet and build stable lives.

“It shortens the time they’re homeless,” Terry Allebaugh, executive director of Housing for New Hope in Durham, told the Donors Forum.

Beth Bordeaux, executive director of PLM Families Together in Raleigh, told the Donors Forum that the Rapid Rehousing strategy also provides an incentive for families not to prolong their stays in emergency housing but rather to begin to prepare themselves to move into longer-term housing.

“First we get them stable,” she said. “If your life is in chaos, the first thing you want is to reduce your stress.”

Allebaugh and Bordeaux both said Rapid Rehousing has helped their agencies house more people for less money.

Last year, for example, PLM Families Together moved 57 families into permanent housing, and this year expects to move 70 families into permanent housing.

And in partnership with three core agencies that provide support services and temporary housing , Housing for New Hope housed 173 households in permanent housing over the two-and-a-half-year period ended August 2012, with 89 percent of those households remaining housed.

Community solutions

Advocates at the Donors Forum said the most effective approaches to fighting homelessness involve community-based partnerships that address the problem from the perspective of the systems that serve homeless people.

Those systems range from job-training and financial-literacy services to those serving people with mental illness or substance abuse problems, or both, and people after they are discharged from military service or prison.

“You can’t end homelessness in a silo,” Bordeaux said.

Bernadette Pelissier, a member of the Orange County Board of Commissioners and of the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness, told the Donors Forum that homelessness is a byproduct of national policies on a range of issues such as poverty and mental health, and that efforts to address homelessness are supported by multiple funding streams.

So partnerships to fight homelessness should approach the problem from a “systems” perspective.

In Orange County, she said, that approach has produced promising partnerships.

The local Partnership to End Homelessness, for example, has enlisted partners such as an assistant district attorney whose efforts helped establish a local “outreach court.”

That court, which has engaged students at the School of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, along with other partners, encouraged homeless people who have been arrested for misdemeanors to take advantage of local services, particularly mental health services.

And a local jobs program works to encourage local businesses to hire people released from prison who may be at risk of homelessness. That effort represents a collaboration between local partners such as the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership and Chamber of Commerce, and is administered by a new nonprofit led by students at UNC-Chapel Hill.

“We’re engaging the community,” Pelissier said, “not just providers” of services.

Critical to local collaborative programs, she said, is the ability to track and measure their impact.

Focus on collaboration

The session underscored the growing focus of Triangle Community Foundation and United Way to work more collaboratively to address urgent needs in the region.

“We have to do it together, think collaboratively,” Lori O’Keefe, president of Triangle Community Foundation, told the Donors Forum. “We don’t have to be the experts. We look for resources and partners.”

Mack Koonce, president and CEO of United Way, told the Donors Forum that collaborative thinking “is important to all our social issues.”

United Way, he said, is “going to work closely with other foundations and individuals to work collaboratively on the donor side and on the service delivery side.”

He said United Way plans to raise “designated dollars to do the next systemic change” in the area of financial stability for families, an effort he said would “keep this going” through “collaboration, the use of data, and scaling what works.”