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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.




About the 2016 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.

Download the Composite Award Winners Document


The Montgomery County Foundation
 

Challenge

Transform Montgomery County’s approach to serving homeless families and individuals to make the experience of homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring by 2020, while ensuring that families and individuals who do experience homelessness achieve housing and financial stability with better health outcomes, food security, higher quality of life, and lasting independence.

Innovation

Your Way Home delivers a collective impact approach to solving a complex community problem. The participating nonprofit, philanthropic, and county government agencies embrace a common agenda, shared measurement systems, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication, and technical assistance from a backbone support organization.

Your Way Home (YWH) is a public/private partnership among government, philanthropy, business, and community stakeholders. Taking a systems perspective, YWH is transforming the county’s former continuum of care and services using a collective impact approach. Your Way Home leveraged the collective talents and wisdom of its community to create a new system that improved the coordination of services, eliminated duplication, enhanced provider capacity, and unified the county’s resources and programs through a shared vision. Using private dollars from foundations and contributions from the community that supplement government funds, YWH clients receive support to rapidly re-house and stabilize their housing. Pooled foundation grants follow the consumer through all phases of service delivery and are not dependent upon where a client is being served. Tailoring support to each client reserves the greatest amount of resources for the most vulnerable and difficult to serve. In its first year alone, it increased exits directly from shelter to permanent housing by almost 50 percent, and to date more than 94 percent of the people re-housed have maintained housing stability.

Public Sector Partners:
Montgomery County Housing & Community Development

Public Partners:
9 additional funders and more than 20 community partners

 

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The Boston Foundation
 

Challenge

Success Boston, Boston’s citywide college completion initiative, launched in 2008 in response to a longitudinal study by Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies that revealed that while Boston high school graduates were enrolling in college at greater rates, only 35% of those who enrolled had successfully completed a two- or four-year degree by the time they turned 25.

Innovation

Early evidence shows strong signs of success (class of 2009 students who received transition coaching had one-year college persistence rates that were 20% or more above their peers) and college completion rates have already surpassed 50%. This success has attracted additional funding allowing the partnership to reach more students and more quickly and sustainably meet its goals.

This public-philanthropic partnership led by the City of Boston has implemented a four-part strategy: getting ready, getting in, getting through, and getting connected—to ensure our youth are prepared to meet the challenges of higher education and earn a degree that will allow them to thrive in the workplace. Together, the partners are working to achieve a 70% college completion rate for Boston Public Schools students who enroll in college. Success Boston’s theory of change is that current student support systems are inadequate for meeting the needs of all learners and that cross-sector collaboration, driven by data and mutual accountability, is critical to creating more equitable systems. Collaboratively, the partners are focused on improving academic preparation, providing transition coaching as students move from high school through the first two years of college, and offering as-needed supports through higher education institutions until students successfully attain a degree and connect to the workforce.

Public Sector Partners:
The City of Boston, Boston Public Schools, Corporation for National and Community Service

Other partners:
37 area institutions of higher education led by UMass Boston and Bunker Hill Community College and local nonprofit partners including the Boston Private Industry Council and uAspire

 

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The Annie E. Casey Foundation
 

Challenge

Using a set of cooperative, regional solutions to reduce the socioeconomic disparities that run along stark racial and jurisdictional lines in the Baltimore area and prevent residents from reaching their full potential.

Innovation

The Collaborative’s work was hailed in The Baltimore Sun as “a road map to a shared regional destiny that is clear and even bold.” Baltimore City used the plan as a strategy for economic recovery, the State of Maryland has cited the Collaborative’s work in a complete redesign of the region’s bus network, and the region’s public housing authorities have received HUD funding to pilot a program incentivizing affordable housing in high opportunity areas.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation served as the lead philanthropic partner of the Opportunity Collaborative, the consortium formed to develop Baltimore’s Regional Plan for Sustainable Development through a $3.5M fiscal year 2011 HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant. The Collaborative produced comprehensive and silo-busting regional plans in housing and workforce development, all of which are now being used to drive state, local, and regional policy in greater Baltimore. The Collaborative identified strategies to reduce disparity by blending human and capital investment in the traditionally siloed planning areas of housing, workforce development, and transportation. Led by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, the 25 public and nonprofit partners of the Collaborative spent 3 years researching and developing these plans, funded demonstration projects to pilot new innovations, sent delegations on learning tours of peer regions, and gave voice to the public through the Opportunity Fellowship, a leadership development program. The Regional Plan for Sustainable Development was released in June 2015, just weeks after the civil unrest that drew the nation’s eyes to Baltimore’s challenges.

Public Sector Partners:
The Baltimore Metropolitan Council; Baltimore Development Corporation; the City of Baltimore; Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, and Howard Counties; State of Maryland; and HUD

Other Partners:
1000 Friends of Maryland; Associated Black Charities of Maryland; BRIDGE; Citizens Planning and Housing Association; Greater Baltimore Committee; Innovative Housing Institute; Morgan State University; and University of Maryland, National Center for Smart Growth Research & Education

 

Download the Award Information


Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation
 

Challenge

Advance Washtenaw’s social safety net by bringing together key human service funders across the public and private spheres to share funding processes and outcomes.

Innovation

This impact-driven partnership has achieved: (1) the formation and expansion of a cross-sector partnership that is nationally unique in makeup of partners and the multidimensional strategy for impact; (2) the establishment of shared measurable community outcomes for each of our four focus areas; (3) the validation of this collaboration through an extensive third-party evaluation; (4) the preservation of public funds for local human service nonprofits; (5) the establishment of a more collaborative culture across local agencies and funders; and (6) the creation of a “cradle to career” continuum to closely link early childhood efforts with school-age youth.

In 2010, five founding public and private partners in the Ann Arbor area agreed to coordinate funding and work toward advancement of Washtenaw’s social safety net and more partners have been added since. By 2016, the funders have collectively distributed $24 million in grants in four priority areas: safety-net health and nutrition, housing and homelessness, aging, and cradle-to-career (representing early childhood and school-age youth). Coordinated funding has encouraged organizations that might view each other as competitors to work together for the benefit of the community as a whole. This is the first time in the community’s history that key human service funders across the public and private spheres have agreed to share funding processes and outcomes. No single partner is capable of such broad community goal-setting and impact, but with collaboration the group is improving the county’s most vulnerable residents’ lives. The Washtenaw Coordinated Funders currently support 50 agencies and 60 top-notch programs and services, reaching an estimated 35,000 clients.

Public Sector Partners:
The Office of Community and Economic Development (representing the City of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, and Washtenaw Urban County Executive Committee)

Other Partners:
United Way of Washtenaw County, the RNR Foundation, and St. Joseph Mercy Health System

 

Download the Award Information


Communities Foundation of Texas
 

Challenge

Strengthen the public and higher education system to ensure every Texas student can succeed in education and the workforce.

Innovation

Educate Texas has made strong inroads to improving the paths for historically underserved students. To build on this success, Educate Texas and its coalition of leaders are committed to accelerating opportunities for all students to earn a postsecondary credential that leads to gainful employment.

Since 2003, Educate Texas has been a trusted education reform leader building a portfolio of evidence-based strategies that impact the 5.5 million K-12 students and 1.6 million higher education students across the state. Educate Texas is working to strengthen the public and higher education system by developing strategic partnerships, leading innovative strategies, and scaling successful evidence-based practices focused on college and career readiness, effective teaching, higher education, and regional collaboration. The hallmark of the initiative’s public-philanthropic collaboration has been the development and expansion of innovative secondary school strategies and models, specifically the Early College High Schools and Texas STEM Academies. To date, Educate Texas has collectively established a robust, statewide portfolio of nearly 260 schools in more than 125 districts that serve more than 100,000 students annually of which approximately 80 percent are low-income and historically underrepresented. These students are outperforming the state average on key measures including college readiness, dual credit attainment, high school graduation, immediate college enrollment, and college freshman to sophomore persistence.

Public Sector Partners:
More than 300 K-12 and Higher Education Partners, the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Texas Workforce Commission, and the Governor’s Office

Other Partners:
Philanthropic partners include the Communities Foundation of Texas, Ford Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Greater Texas Foundation, Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Houston Endowment, IBM, JP Morgan Chase, The Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, TG Texas Guaranteed, and Texas Instruments Foundation.

 

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Community Foundation of the New River Valley
 

Challenge

By 2030, the population of New River Valley residents ages 65 and older will double, while in rural areas the population under 25 will decline, leaving an insufficient tax base to support an aging population. Nearly 60 percent of the region’s housing stock is more than 30 years old and is inaccessible to those experiencing declining mobility. With 1 in 10 seniors living in poverty, most lack the resources to move to nursing facilities or make simple modifications that would allow them to remain in their homes.

Innovation

Innovations include a home modification program for low-income seniors and a regional Time Bank allowing residents to give and receive basic services. Private homebuilders and community development financial institutions are also working with the team to develop housing for low-income seniors, including $6 million of public and private investment to date and new employment opportunities for the region.

The Community Foundation of the New River Valley was a core partner in the New River Valley Livability Initiative, a 3-year regional planning process funded through the Federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities. Upon completion in 2013, the Foundation initiated a partnership with the New River Valley Regional Commission to spearhead implementation of the plan’s goals and strategies. Among the plan’s most significant findings were impending demographic changes. To address these challenges, the foundation worked with its partner organizations to form the Aging in Place Leadership Team. Through a series of regional meetings, the partners identified six essential action items to meet the plan’s goals. For each of the action items, the partners identified a lead organization and specific roles for other agencies. By spreading out responsibility while pursuing a shared strategy, each participant contributes, feels accountable, and shares in success. Partners recognize that aging-related issues span geographic boundaries, and share a commitment to the regional approach. Moreover, by identifying specific, achievable goals the group is able to celebrate successes frequently, encouraging engagement.

Public Sector Partners:
The Town of Blacksburg, Montgomery County, and the Virginia Tech Center for Gerontology

Other Partners:
New River Valley Regional Commission, the New River Valley HOME Consortium, the Agency on Aging, and Habitat for Humanity

Download the Award Information


Seattle Foundation
 

Challenge

In King County, where people live, how much they make, and the color of their skin are major predictors of life experiences and the chances of living well and thriving. Life expectancy ranges from 74 years in the lowest 10 percent of census tracts to 87 years in the highest 10 percent, while smoking ranges from 5 to 20 percent and the incidence of frequent mental distress ranges from 4 to 14 percent.

Innovation

Communities of Opportunity was designed to maximize positive impact by engaging many cross-sector partners to support strategies that were co-designed with community leaders and to focus public and private resources on neighborhoods experiencing underinvestment. Starting with King County’s initial investment of $500,000 and Seattle Foundation’s initial annual investment of $500,000 per year for 5 years, the investments have grown to approximately $7.5 million per year from public and private sources.

In 2013, the Seattle Foundation was laying the groundwork for a new neighborhood partnerships initiative addressing economic and racial inequities through place-based work and systemic change. At the same time, King County government was working with community partners to develop a Health and Human Services Transformation Plan to improve health and well-being in communities with the greatest need. King County and the Seattle Foundation came together to incubate a new public-private approach under an umbrella plan called Communities of Opportunity to address inequities in health, social, racial, and economic outcomes. From this groundbreaking alliance, the Seattle Foundation and King County worked together to create a framework for engaging other cross-sector partners, intermediaries and investors in a collective impact approach. The effort focuses on place-based solutions and policy/system change solutions in partnership with affected communities, so that community partners have key roles in shaping and owning solutions.

Public Sector Partners:
Public Health Seattle and King County and the King County Department of Community and Human Services

Other Partners:
Place-based lead organizations: Global to Local, HomeSight, and White Center Community Development Association, together with their respective local partners

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Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation
 

Challenge

Mary C. Snow Elementary serves 500 students, 93 percent of whom are from low-income families on the West Side of Charleston, West Virginia. The school is located in an area designated a Drug Marketing Intervention Zone—a region plagued by drugs and violent crime—and its surrounding neighborhood faces challenges including historic disinvestment, absentee property owners, and abandoned buildings. The foundation thus sought programs that address the root causes and not merely the symptoms of systemic community problems.

Innovation

The initiative uses cross-sector collaboration to advance community issues that span various fields (property development, civic leadership, health and safety, and education). Direct community engagement reassured community members that their voices are important, empowered them to contribute to initiative efforts, and provided the foundation with sound data to guide future investments.

In December 2014, the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation developed its Investing in Our Communities-West Side of Charleston initiative that strategically concentrates assets within a nine-block area around Mary C. Snow Elementary. Systemic changes are achieved at a deeper and more sustainable level through targeted resource allocation. The Foundation has committed $600,000 to this initiative over a 3-year period with the overall goal of improving housing, civic engagement, and health conditions. To date, this initiative has funded three intersecting projects: (1) Project West Invest, which incentivizes neighborhood home ownership/renovation for law enforcement; (2) Second Avenue Community Center Restoration, which targets reformation of a historic center in the heart of the neighborhood; and (3) Handle with Care, which provides trauma-informed care and anti-bullying mentorship to Mary C. Snow Elementary students. Through this initiative, the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation uses all of the strategies in its toolbox: grants and investments, leveraging assets, leadership and advocacy, convening stakeholders, and building community capacity. All partners contribute resources to improve conditions for an impoverished at-risk population.

Public Sector Partners:
The City of Charleston, the Charleston Police Department, the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority, Kanawha County Schools, the West Virginia Bar Association, the West Virginia State Police, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia


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Toledo Community Foundation
 

Challenge

How to transform an 80-acre brownfield site through community revitalization, blight reduction, and creative place-making. The neighborhood has a population of 5,997, of which 77 percent are African-American. Since the closure of the original plant, these neighborhoods have suffered from disinvestment, poor employment and educational opportunities, foreclosures, blight, and crime.

Innovation

Focused heavily on previously unexplored cross-sector partnerships. The Lucas County Sustainability Director and the Foundation consulted with the Toledo Design Center to assist with implementation of Partners for Places, resulting in a redesign of prominent vacant parcels. The design involves green infrastructure (rain and pollinator gardens) and will integrate trees obtained through the city’s U.S. Forest Service award. Through this project, resident leaders have learned how green infrastructure improvements can lay the groundwork for community development and reinvestment.

Through a public-private partnership, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority is using an investment of $16.8 million in state, local, and private funds to transform this brownfield into a modern manufacturing facility known as Overland Industrial Park. To leverage these investments, the Foundation initiated the Overland Initiative, a long-term place-based initiative to build resident leadership capacity and revitalize the neighborhood surrounding the new park. Foundation staff members work with residents to make connections to institutions, intermediaries, leadership development opportunities, and funding. The Foundation supported the successful City of Toledo 2013 U.S. EPA Area Wide Planning Grant, which engaged residents in development planning, as well as a successful 2013 U.S. EPA Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities award. In 2014, the Foundation partnered with the Toledo-Lucas County Sustainability Commission to obtain a Partners for Places grant from the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities to pursue resident-directed projects that activate the regional sustainability plan in the neighborhood. A 2015 U.S. Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant was awarded to City of Toledo for urban tree canopy restoration.

Public Sector Partners:
City of Toledo, Lucas County, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Forest Service

Download the Award Information


Incourage Community Foundation
 

Challenge

Economic development is a pressing challenge facing America’s rural areas. Network building, collaboration, and shared knowledge needs to be fostered to allow communities to make collective progress, while creating a safe space to develop trust and break down institutional barriers.

Innovation

Blueprints was the first collaboration of its kind and is leveraging philanthropy to build a network and resources for the community that reach new areas and involve knowledge partners, including the public sector and financing. Through Blueprints, participating government and nonprofit organizations are building state-ofthe- art field knowledge while applying new insights and techniques to collaborative projects that support community priorities.

Blueprints for Tomorrow is a 25-month Incourage- and USDA-supported program that is building networks, vision, and skills among local institutions to lead a new regional economy based upon the values of equity, opportunity, and shared stewardship. Based in the rural, central Wisconsin city of Wisconsin Rapids, this professional development program combines training, coaching, and community knowledge with evolving design and finance tools to complete projects that support community priorities. In working to create a more participatory culture and grow a local, inclusive, sustainable economy, Incourage learned that residents have an appetite for change and were ready to help shape their community’s future. This was affirmed in a 2012 community survey when residents identified four community priorities: (1) a strong local economy, (2) opportunities for young adults and families, (3) openness to new ideas and change, and (4) nature and recreation. Blueprints is helping the community’s institutions do business in new and different ways, ensuring that they are prepared to support an entrepreneurial culture shaped by resident participation.

Public Sector Partners:
City of Wisconsin Rapids, the Wisconsin Rapids Housing Authority, Wood County, and the USDA

Other Partners:
Central Rivers Farmshed and John E. Alexander South Wood County YMCA

 

Download the Award Information