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The Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships - Housing and Community Development in Action

The Secretary’s Awards for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships recognize excellence in partnerships that have both transformed the relationships between the sectors and led to measurable benefits in housing and community development, including increased economic development, health, safety, education, workforce development, disaster resilience, inclusivity and cultural opportunities, innovative regional approaches, and/or housing access for low- and moderate-income families.

Call For Entries

Apply now for the 2021 Secretary’s Awards for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships!
Deadline: Monday, March 1, 2021

Download 2021 Application Download 2021 Informational Brochure

About the 2014 Award

The mission of foundations is to support civil society and advance the common good. There is a foundation presence in most communities across the country. They are led by a board of trustees and staff who provide expert knowledge of the challenges and opportunities faced by the communities they serve. These human resources facilitate the capacity of foundations to provide leadership on issues like housing and community development. By strengthening the connection between the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and philanthropy, this award highlights the power of collective impact that can be achieved through public-philanthropic partnerships between government entities and foundations.

This award emphasizes cross-sector partnerships between the philanthropic and public sectors. The goal is to recognize the partnership process and its impact as a community strategy to increase the quality of life for low- and moderate-income residents across all American geographies — urban, suburban, and rural. Examples of desired nominations may include projects affiliated with housing and neighborhood improvements, education, health and recreation, transportation, community participation, arts and culture, safety, sustainability, innovative regional approaches, and economic development. Recognizing that foundations of all sizes partner with public agencies, the jury will take asset and staff size into consideration to ensure that the award recipients reflect a diversity of foundations.

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Barry Community Foundation

The foundation is a partnership of endowed funds made available for grants that address charitable needs in the local community. http://www.barrycf.org/

Strategic Grantmaking and Community Development Loan Fund

In partnership with the Barry County Area Joint Planning Alliance, the Barry Community Foundation (BCF) in Michigan developed a strategic grantmaking plan to address seven elements of a healthy community. At the time, BCF annually provided approximately $50,000 in reactionary grants. The community foundation adopted a policy to invest 40 percent of the unrestricted grantmaking dollars toward promoting the local economy. This policy resulted in an investment of more than $60,000 for the region over a span of 3 years.

A key accomplishment of the project is the establishment of a $1.5 million community development loan fund that will provide for mission investment into Barry County for perpetuity. In July 2012, the Great Lakes Capital Fund presented the concept of a loan fund. This unique partnership then created the infrastructure for the required stress tests, loan rates and terms, quarterly reporting, and transaction documents and for determining the type of investment to be made. In March 2013, the loan documents were drafted and four funding streams were secured: the Hastings City Bank, the U.S. Small Business Administration, a private investor trust, and the BCF. This revolving loan fund sustains investments that create economic growth and stimulus in the region.

The first project to emerge from this partnership in mission investment is a Holiday Inn Express, which opened its doors on September 23, 2013. The hotel has become an important asset to the community, providing not only jobs but also shelter during emergency situations.


Public Partners:
Barry County Area Joint Planning Alliance; City of Hastings, Michigan; County of Barry, Michigan; Great Lakes Capital Fund; and the U.S. Small Business Administration


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Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation

This foundation helps carry out the firm's corporate citizenship commitments through a program of loans, investments, and grants. http://www.db.com/

NYC Housing & Neighborhood Recovery Donor Collaborative

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation helped convene 17 foundations and financial institutions, which joined in partnership with the New York City (NYC) Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the NYC Housing Development Corporation (HDC), and the newly created Office of Housing Recovery Operations (HRO) to determine how to best serve the shaken city. From this partnership, the NYC Housing & Neighborhood Recovery Donor Collaborative was formed as a unique and enduring collaborative of corporate, financial, philanthropic, government, and nonprofit sectors. The donor collaborative raised and distributed $3.255 million to support 34 nonprofit grantees to help low-­income New Yorkers in 13 highly impacted neighborhoods across 4 boroughs recover from the hurricane by planning and implementing resiliency strategies for future emergencies.

The collaborative provides flexible funds to complement the work being done and the investments being made by government. The philanthropic donors brought their long-term knowledge of and commitment to NYC communities, differentiating themselves from emergency relief agencies. Funds were deployed with a minimum of bureaucracy to support the work being undertaken by NYC agencies and to fill in gaps between coverage from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and other state and city government programs.

The collaborative continues to work to build capacity among NYC’s nonprofits and to increase local knowledge about how to repair and harden the housing and neighborhood infrastructure against future climate events. Through this process, the grantees, donors, and government agencies have developed new expertise and resources to generate positive, lasting changes that will strengthen and protect vulnerable neighborhoods.


Public Partners:
New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, New York City Housing Development Corporation, and Office of Housing Recovery Operations


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Florida Blue Foundation

The foundation, which is the philanthropic affiliate of Florida Blue, is committed to helping people and communities achieve better health.http://www.bcbsfl.com

Embrace a Healthy Florida

To address the causes and prevention of childhood obesity, the Florida Blue Foundation launched Embrace a Healthy Florida in 2008. Embrace is a statewide, Florida-­based, multisector community initiative that goes beyond traditional nutrition and fitness programs. Grounded in evidence-­based research, the initiative defined target areas, desired outcomes, and the processes for reaching and measuring quantifiable results.

After a series of meetings with public, private, and community sectors in several communities across Florida, six targeted communities were identified. In these communities, community leaders combating childhood obesity united a wide variety of stakeholders to identify community needs and create a community Call to Action Plan with specific recommendations for addressing the barriers to healthy eating and an active lifestyle.

In Duval County, the partnership between the Florida Blue Foundation and the Florida Department of Health in Duval County was then launched in 2008. The foundation recognized the ongoing efforts of the Department of Health and its Healthy Jacksonville Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition and presented funding to strengthen the coalition, conduct a community assessment, develop the Call to Action Plan, and continue the coalition’s work. The foundation provided additional funding for community minigrants to engage on-­the-­ground community change leaders and address the action steps in the Call to Action Plan. The Department of Health manages the process, beginning with requests for proposals, review of proposals, funding recommendations to the foundation, and collecting and reporting outcomes.

Since 2009, the foundation has awarded more than $1.3 million to nonprofit and government entities in Duval County to combat childhood obesity. More than 70 such entities received grants through the foundation’s Embrace initiative and partnered with Healthy Jacksonville to work toward reducing and preventing childhood obesity in Duval County.


Public Partners:
The Florida Department of Health in Duval County

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Foundation for Appalachian Ohio

This regional community foundation works to ensure every community in Appalachian Ohio receives philanthropic support. http://www.appalachianohio.org/

Growing Home Initiative

The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) Growing Home initiative has been developed over time to serve counties without local philanthropic resources. The organization works hand in hand with these counties to grow the funds that will help them address local needs and pursue the opportunities needed for prosperity. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through a $200,000 Rural Community Development Initiative grant, FAO has amplified this work across the region. FAO is currently assisting eight counties in growing geographic affiliates under their management so these counties will have local philanthropy where it has never existed. With additional support from the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth, the Walmart Foundation, and U.S. Bank, FAO is developing flexible development resources in ways that will support not only the communities but also FAO’s regional mission.

With USDA support, FAO has engaged the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship to develop a curriculum designed to help communities launch, grow, and develop community funds dedicated to enriching the county’s quality of life and creating opportunities for the county’s citizens that have not been available in the past.

FAO’s community funds have increased locally focused assets; developed new funds to support local students, education, health, and community activities; and introduced philanthropy to nonprofits, businesses, and individuals across their communities. All eight community funds have already far exceeded the initiative goal of increasing their assets by 3 percent. In the case of the Community Foundation for Perry County, the funds under their county umbrella have grown from $5,000 to more than $1 million. Yet, true progress in these communities extends beyond financial growth, as the foundation works to develop the long-­term capacity of these communities.


Public Partners:
Villages of Coalton, Freeport, Middleport, Quaker City, and Rio Grande, Ohio; Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth; JobsOhio; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture


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Gulf Coast Community Foundation

This regional community foundation, together with its donors, transforms the region through bold and proactive philanthropy. www.gulfcoastcf.org

Campaign Against Summer Hunger (CASH) & Cans 2014

After identifying a gap in student participation in summer feeding programs, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and All Faiths Food Bank met with Sarasota County Schools to analyze hurdles to feeding more students over the summer. The partners developed “CASH& Cans 2014,” a 40-­day food and fund drive, to address three issues: (1) lack of awareness about food insecurity, especially for children; (2) inadequate resources to sustain the food bank over the summer; and (3) the low percentage of qualified students receiving food assistance over summer break.

The partners that assembled to meet this challenge came from the public, private, and independent sectors. Sarasota County and its four municipalities passed resolutions promoting the campaign and conducted food drives. All fire stations in the county served as food-­collection points, along with Goodwill Industries International retail stores. The sheriff’s office, public hospital, and county staff championed food drives, and more than 150 businesses, faith congregations, and civic groups joined as community partners. Agreements with local newspapers and other media outlets generated timely announcements and ongoing coverage of the initiative. A local digital design firm was engaged to produce print, video, and social media campaigns, fostering participation beyond expectations. Sarasota County Schools, meanwhile, provided critical data on existing summer-­feeding programs and is the key partner in executing the program enhancements fueled by the campaign.

CASH& Cans surpassed all goals, raising $1.1 million and more than 766,000 pounds of food. Hunger awareness has reached levels previously unseen. The Food Bank has a sustainable funding source to ensure supplies last through the summer. Sarasota County Schools will expand summer feeding sites by 60 percent, extend a backpack program through the summer, and open new mobile and school-based food pantries. Collectively, these programs aim to reach an estimated 65 percent of students who qualify for free/reduced meals with food over the summer—up from less than 25 percent last year, and well above the 15 percent national average.


Public Partners:
Cities of Longboat Key, North Port, Sarasota, and Venice, Florida; Sarasota County Government; Sarasota County Schools; Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; Summer Food Service; and the U.S. Postal Service


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IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs

IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs: This organization applies IBM technology and talent to solve social issues worldwide. www.ibm.com/smartercities

Smarter Cities Challenge

In 2010, IBM Citizenship created the Smarter Cities Challenge (SCC) to help cities around the world address critical challenges that include economic development, transportation, social services, health care, and education. In 2014, the program was extended beyond its initial commitment to help 100 cities in 3 years. A total of 31 cities and counties in the United States were selected for SCC grants, including 4 cities in 2014.

The program contributes the time and expertise of IBM's top experts from different business units and geographies, putting them on the ground for 3 weeks to work closely with city leaders and deliver recommendations on how to make the city smarter. Since 2010, IBM has deployed more than 600 experts to provide strategic and practical advice to these municipalities. The total market value of the program is more than $50 million, with each grant valued at approximately $400,000.

The city of Syracuse, New York, received an SCC grant in the fall of 2011. Like many Rust Belt cities, Syracuse has seen an outmigration of jobs and people from the city center. The resulting rise in vacant properties, exacerbated by the foreclosure crisis, has negative effects across all segments of society and imposes direct costs on the city in code, fire, maintenance, and other costs. Mayor Stephanie Miner asked IBM to help the city understand, analyze, predict, and, therefore, prevent increases in vacant residential properties.

The IBM team developed a property vacancy prediction model and a roadmap to implement it, which the city has used to target the work of its land bank, among the first in the state. As a result, the city is able to reclaim nearly 2,000 vacant properties and repurpose them in ways that are revitalizing neighborhoods and can restore the tax base by millions of dollars over the next 8 years.


Public Partners:
City of Syracuse, New York


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Legacy Foundation

Legacy Foundation: This community foundation is the leading philanthropic partner in Lake County, Indiana. www.legacyfdn.org

Neighborhood Spotlight

Through the Neighborhood Spotlight (NS) initiative, Legacy Foundation has partnered with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Partnership for Sustainable Communities and the City of Gary, Indiana, to embark on a multiyear collaborative effort to champion a collective impact strategy that is led by local residents to effect positive change in their communities. NS, a place-based initiative for investing in Lake County, Indiana communities, creates access to knowledge and funding for projects that result in positive transformation. NS seeks to revitalize the unique character of local places as part of enhancing regional identity.

In addition to collaborating with NS, the partnership has facilitated coordination around federal investments to maximize the impact on the community. The collaboration of the federal government, Legacy Foundation, and the City of Gary was critical in positioning the City of Gary to receive a Strong Cities, Strong Communities designation from the White House. Combined with the NS initiative and the federally supported Gary Northside Redevelopment Project, this partnership has created the catalyst for necessary change in the City of Gary.

The NS Task Force was created to help shape the program timeline, budget, and structure. Task force members were selected based on commitment to their roles as distinguished community leaders who could align knowledge and solutions with resources from the nonprofit, business, and government sectors.

Because NS is funded through the pooling of resources from local donors, private businesses, national foundations, and other interested parties, the program funding reflects a collective impact model. The collective impact model will provide a framework that Legacy Foundation will be able to replicate in other communities throughout Lake County, Indiana. In addition, the partnership with the federal government and Indiana Association for Community Economic Development provides relationships on state and national levels to help educate other organizations on implementing this model in their community.


Public Partners:
City of Gary, Indiana; Indiana Association for Community Economic Development; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; U.S. Department of Transportation; and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


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Raikes Foundation

Raikes Foundation: The foundation empowers young people to transform their lives, including ending youth and young adult homelessness in King County, Washington. www.raikesfoundation.org

The Comprehensive Plan to Prevent and End Youth and Young Adult Homelessness in King County by 2020

In 2011, the Raikes Foundation convened a group of primarily private funders in and around Seattle, Washington, in an effort to focus and align organizations seeking to reduce youth homelessness in the region. An initial outcome of the work of the Youth Funders Group, as it is now known, was the publication in 2012 of the “Priority Action Steps to Address Youth and Young Adult Homelessness,” a document outlining a series of concrete ways for the whole community to better address the causes and effects of youth homelessness. More than 100 stakeholders participated in the development of the Priority Action Steps, including service providers, local governments, current and former homeless youth, and private philanthropy.

The Priority Action Steps spurred an initial investment of more than $2 million in private funding for new prevention and early intervention programs; improved data collection; and Youth Housing Connection, a new coordinated engagement system for young adults seeking housing. In addition, the Priority Action Steps paved the way for the Committee to End Homelessness (CEH) in King County, the local leadership group composed of funders, civic leaders, and advocates whose goal is to end all homelessness in the region.

The Priority Action Steps also laid the groundwork for a subsequent, more detailed regional plan published in August 2013, “The Comprehensive Plan to Prevent and End Youth and Young Adult Homelessness in King County by 2020.” The Comprehensive Plan was the result of an extensive planning process that engaged program providers, homeless youth, public sector funders, elected officials, and private philanthropy.

The Raikes Foundation and its partners catalyzed the regional effort in multiple ways. They strategically invested private funds to expand systems capacity; used private funds to more flexibly and quickly invest in good ideas like prevention, which are now being sustained by public funding; helped to bring youth voice to the table by funding to engage youth in advocacy; and invested in media partnerships and communication tools to help all members of the regional effort raise awareness and public support.


Public Partners:
City of Seattle Human Services Department and King County Department of Community and Human Services Committee to End Homelessness


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The Denver Foundation

The Denver Foundation: This foundation, Colorado's oldest and largest community foundation, helps people give back to Metro Denver in ways that are meaningful. www.denverfoundation.org

Mile High Connects/Denver Regional Transit-Oriented Development Fund

The Denver Regional Transit-Oriented Development Fund has been a true partnership from its inception and would not be possible without commitment, investment, and support from public, private, and philanthropic organizations alike. Initially closed in 2010, the fund is a blend of $13.5 million in loan capital from the City and County of Denver, Enterprise Community Partners, the MacArthur Foundation, the Rose Community Foundation, the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, First Bank, the Mile High Community Loan Fund, and the Enterprise Community Loan Fund. When blended together, this capital provides favorable acquisition financing terms that allow for the Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) to be the sole borrower and equity investor in order to acquire land in proximity to public transportation in the City and County of Denver. ULC, a Denver nonprofit organization, then partners with affordable housing and community developers to preserve existing affordable housing and develop new affordable housing and supportive community facilities where they can easily be accessed without the need for a car.

The fund’s model of partnership between nonprofits, foundations, banks, and public agencies set the table for establishing Mile High Connects (MHC), a collaborative effort of 20 organizations working to ensure that the Denver region’s transit system expansion results in a higher quality of life for everyone in the region, particularly for low-income families. In turn, MHC, led and staffed by The Denver Foundation, has paved the way for the fund to expand and serve the entire Denver metro region. MHC has helped build public support for the fund’s expansion, highlighting its successful track record in Denver and making the case for why it needs to be a regional resource. Several MHC members, including The Denver Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Gates Family Foundation have committed Program Related Investment (PRI) dollars to expand the fund, which closed with a total of $24 million in August 2014. The expanded fund’s capital will be made available for well-qualified public, private, and nonprofit borrowers for purposes of meeting the fund’s stated goal of creating and preserving at least 2,000 units of permanently affordable housing in close proximity to transit by 2024.


Public Partners:
City of Denver, County of Denver, and Colorado Housing and Finance Authority


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The San Francisco Foundation

The foundation, a leading agent of Bay Area philanthropy, is an incubator for community investment, original ideas, and passionate leadership. www.sff.org


HOPE SF is the nation’s first large-scale public housing revitalization project to invest in high-quality, sustainable housing and broad-scale community development without displacing current residents. HOPE SF represents a unique public-private-philanthropic partnership committed to ensuring that revitalizing public housing transforms both where people live and the quality of their lives.

In 2010, stakeholders formed a public-private partnership of public, philanthropic, business, and community members. The partnership identifies, supports, and coordinates strategies focused on disrupting systemic poverty and isolation faced by residents and on improving the community in the intersecting areas of economic mobility, education, and health. The Steering Committee, comprising public, private, and philanthropic partners, meets monthly and oversees governance, fundraising, grantmaking, evaluation, and program design. The Leadership Committee includes high-profile local and national leaders who bring expertise, fundraising connections, and financial support to the campaign. The presence of national foundations on the Leadership Committee ensures the transferability of learnings throughout the region and the nation.

Three managing partners—The San Francisco Foundation, the City and County of San Francisco, and Enterprise Community Partners—make up the core project team through its staff and ongoing operational support. At each of the four HOPE SF locations, a lead nonprofit organization partners with the core project team to implement the program strategies on the ground.

Creating an environment where all sectors are at the table strategizing solutions to community problems has helped build consensus in the HOPE SF community and support for this effort in the broader funding community. It has also had the impact of philanthropic funders leveraging other funding resources to HOPE SF-aligned programs delivered by community nonprofits, thus deepening the impact of the initiative and the level of services provided to residents. To date, $7.8 million has been committed to HOPE SF.


Public Partners:
The City of San Francisco, Mayor’s Office; the County of San Francisco; Consumer Services and Housing Agency; and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development


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