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Moving Forward Together

November 2016

There’s a movement afoot within philanthropy to forge closer working relationships among affinity groups, regional associations, and other philanthropy-serving organizations. There is so much we can accomplish together. One example is the Giving Forum’s plan to create an expanded regional-national network that will be an efficient “one stop shop” for philanthropies to find and engage others with similar interests, share knowledge, leverage resources, and advance policy. Another is the transition of Joint Affinity Groups to CHANGE Philanthropy, an identity-focused coalition that integrates diversity, inclusion, and social justice into philanthropic practice and strengthens bridges across funders and communities. 

Closer ties among philanthropy-serving organizations build stronger networks among funders, promote knowledge sharing within and across issue areas, and multiply the value of funders’ contributions. A new GIH program initiative called Philanthropy Support Partners brings these benefits to our Funding Partners. In the past few years, GIH has steadily developed better ties with our colleague philanthropy-serving organizations. To us, this is only logical, because health is a part of everything people do. This process has stimulated joint programming and knowledge sharing that have enriched our offerings to Funding Partners and exposed members of other affinity groups to the role health plays in their areas of concern. Joint programming has included conference sessions, funder tours, meetings, site visits, and webinars.

The Philanthropy Support Partners initiative formalizes the practice of sharing knowledge and resources with our colleague organizations. It basically treats affinity group staff members like Funding Partners, offering them access to selected GIH programs and services (e.g., webinars and meetings). In return, GIH staff will enjoy similar benefits. We are energized about the initiative because it will deepen our programming by encouraging content-related contributions from our colleague organizations. It also promises to strengthen the influence of health funders within the philanthropic sector, because health grantmakers are in the vanguard of important issues like equity and place-based grantmaking that have become pressing concerns across philanthropy.

Partnership is open to any interested philanthropy-serving organization that conducts work aligned with GIH’s mission. Our starting conversations have included Exponent Philanthropy, FCAA (Funders Concerned about AIDS), the Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, GCIR (Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees), GEO (Grantmakers for Effective Organizations), GIA (Grantmakers In Aging), GIST (Grantmakers Income Security Taskforce), HEFN (Health and Environmental Funders Network), Neighborhood Funders Group, and SAFSF (Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders). For more information, please contact Meryl Dann.