Leveraging Philanthropy and Collaboration

The Lodestar Foundation seeks to expand the overall capacity of the social sector by promoting philanthropy, volunteering, public service, nonprofit collaboration and other business practices.

Our Grants

Convening to Fix American Politics

The inaugural Unrig the System Summit was held in February 2018 and hosted by RepresentUs, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending political bribery.  The Summit brought together top advocacy leaders, academics, celebrities, musicians, comedians, activists and philanthropists from across the political spectrum for three days in New Orleans.  Almost 1,500 people from all 50 states and hundreds of organizations with political beliefs across the spectrum gathered to unite toward the common purpose of fixing the broken ("rigged") American political system.  Additional Summits are planned for 2018 and beyond.  The Lodestar Foundation funded a grant to help produce the Summit and post-Summit activities.

Political Reformers Gain Steam -- With an Eye on 2020

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Curated Convening to Protect U.S. Democracy

Stand Up Ideas, Inc. and Protect Democracy jointly convened about 100 of the most influential civic leaders from nonprofit, government, media and academic institutions across the political spectrum working to defend democratic norms, ideals and institutions. The convening provided a platform for leading thinkers, reformers and activists to collaborate on workable, near-term solutions to protect U.S. democracy against the increased risk of authoritarian government. Working through an interactive small-group process, the participants identified a number of pressing issues, with accompanying action items, to facilitate change. Post-Summit activities include continued collaboration around the key issues, as well as a second group convening in the fall of 2018. Grants from Lodestar provided major support for both the initial Summit and the second Summit.

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Disability Collaboration: Collaboration Prize 2017 Finalist

Happiness House, CP Rochester, and Rochester Rehabilitation underwent a corporate restructuring to strengthen the delivery of a range of educational, therapeutic, family support, residential, employment, and mental health services to differently-abled children and adults as well as their families in upstate New York. These partners selected a particularly flexible form that creates cost savings and efficiencies through shared management, quality control, and administrative functions that support a wide range of programs in a multi-county region. In addition, the strong ties among the three organizations led the Happiness House Foundation to become the Ability Partners Foundation which now raises money to support all three partners.

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Elder Care Collaboration: Collaboration Prize 2017 Winner

What began 14 years ago as a partnership among the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh (JCC), Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS;), and Jewish Association on Aging (JAA) formed to respond to a federal innovation grant has deeply connected three Pittsburgh organizations serving seniors. Through the collaborative, AgeWell Pittsburgh, the three agencies have been able to rethink both services and service delivery. The focus on the community and on outcomes has reoriented the cultures of the three agencies. Today 96% of the 7,000 seniors enrolled in AgeWell Pittsburgh services maintain non-institutional status, making Age Well Pittsburgh a model that is being replicated in other communities.

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Multi-Tenant Nonprofit Centers

The Nonprofit Centers Network (NCN) supports the development and operation of multi-tenant nonprofit centers and shared-service arrangements. Lodestar has provided substantial support over the years to increase the capacity of NCN to advise and inform the sector about shared-space and shared-service projects.  The NCN 2011 Impact Assessment Study, underwritten by the Lodestar Foundation in partnership with the Kresge Foundation, demonstrated that shared nonprofit spaces and services yield significant efficiencies and impact and that shared spaces often become homes for new and important collaborations.  In 2012, the Lodestar Foundation, again in partnership with the Kresge Foundation, provided a three-year grant to NCN to expand marketing, training and new product development. Additional grants have helped NCN expand both resources and programming.

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Creation of a Nonprofit Collaboration Database

The Lodestar Foundation created and funded the development, implementation and enhancement of the Foundation Center's Nonprofit Collaboration Database, housed within the Foundation Center’s Collaboration Hub, a portal that contains case studies, podcasts, videos, and resources on collaborations, mergers, and joint programming. The Nonprofit Collaboration Database is a fully-searchable database that provides information on over 650 collaborations, most of which were applicants for the Collaboration Prize contests. The database serves as the primary sector resource for models of nonprofit collaboration.

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Capacity-Building to Support Nonprofit Associations

Nonprofits working in the same area often are inefficient because they duplicate efforts and lack sufficient individual resources to make a significant community impact. Even when they come together in an informal or formal association to tackle issues jointly, their efforts may not be effective because agency budgetary and time constraints work against strengthening the collaborative effort. Lodestar has provided funds to a number of nonprofit associations and collaborations for collaboration coordinators, for consultants to help develop strategic plans for collaborations, and for various collaboration projects. For example, Lodestar provided funds to the Coalition Against Domestic Violence to develop standardized software for the participating nonprofits ($29,700); over a period of four years, Lodestar funds helped build a collaboration among numerous nonprofits, government agencies and individuals dealing with osteoporosis prevention, education and treatment. ($44,500); three planning grants from Lodestar enabled a coalition of breast cancer groups decide to develop a common community website. ($11,500)

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