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NCG Interim President and CEO David Greco: A Message on Collaborative Philanthropy

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Collaborative Philanthropy: Getting the Right People on the Bus

In the classic book Good to Great, Jim Collins says, " build a successful organization and team you must get the right people on the bus." As NCG seeks to better support the efforts of philanthropy in solving some of our communities toughest challenges, we believe that it is even more critical that we have the “right people on the bus.” And so as part of NCG’s new strategic direction, we are focusing our energy on developing initiatives through Collaborative Philanthropy.

So what do we mean by Collaborative Philanthropy here at NCG?

Essentially, Collaborative Philanthropy is about bringing together the right mix of people to develop comprehensive solutions for our communities. It is about recognizing that complex social problems are too big for any one organization to solve alone. It is about bringing our individual expertise and experience to bear on a broader social challenge. It is about moving beyond the usual suspects and standard operating procedures to embrace a new way of working. And it is about acknowledging that together our work will be greater than the sum of our parts—that together we can be the change.

NCG is here to propel collaborations between grantmakers, corporations, governments, nonprofits, and local communities that result in real world outcomes. NCG has the connections that count—from the policy makers in Sacramento to the tech companies in Silicon Valley to the largest grantmakers in California. If it is happening in Northern California, NCG is there.

Collaborative Philanthropy can take many forms including:

  • A traditional pooled fund to award grants or provide access to capital.
  • A philanthropic network sharing best practices and strategizing on how to meet the needs of the communities they serve.
  • A holistic initiative involving grantmakers, community stakeholders, nonprofits and government agencies all working together to enact change.

This work is a critical element of the new NCG.  While this effort builds upon a long history of bringing people together—the Family Philanthropy Exchange, the Corporate Contributions Roundtable, the Arts Loan Fund, the Emergency Loan Fund—we passionately believe that it is only through a Collaborative Philanthropy approach that we will ensure that we have the right people at the table to develop innovative solutions to affect meaningful change in communities across the region.

I am pleased that NCG was able to bring on a nationally recognized leader in Michelle Bermudez (mbermudez at ncg dot org) to serve as NCG’s Collaborative Philanthropy Manager and to help lead this work. If you would like to explore how Collaborative Philanthropy can advance your work, please reach out to me (dgreco at ncg dot org) or Michelle directly. 

We look forward to hearing from you.

David Greco
Interim President and CEO
Northern California Grantmakers