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Charter: Funder Network on Trauma & Resilience

Publication date: 
February, 2018

Context: The science on childhood adversity has given us a powerful new lens to understand human health and development — with implications for how we raise our children; how we might prevent, treat, and manage illness; how we can support children to learn and thrive in school; and how we build resilient communities. Growing momentum around this topic - whether framed around adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), toxic stress, trauma (or otherwise) is apparent across our community. In many ways, Bay Area organizations are leading the way. And while science on childhood adversity is accessible, intuitive, and relevant across sectors, the movement to address it is less coherent. As a funder, staying on top of research and best practice, navigating emerging debates, and better understanding how other funders are making sense of this field is a full-time job. That’s where this idea emerged: to create a quarterly forum for learning, debate, and relationship building across Bay Area funders working in the childhood adversity and trauma space.  

Vision: Foster a vibrant, engaging funder learning community that meaningfully increases the impact of individual and collective efforts to address adversity and build resilience in the Bay Area.  

Short-Term Goals (Years 1-2)  

  • Foster learning and exchange on critical strategic questions or topics relevant to funders working in the adversity and resilience field through facilitated brainstorming and structured dialogue (vs. passive learning).
  • Build relationships amongst peers and serve as a safe space for funders to provide peer feedback, share successes and failures, and discuss innovative practices.
  • Increase visibility and transparency of peer funder strategies in order to maximize opportunities for alignment, learning, and collaboration, minimize duplication of work, and help break down silos across sectors.
  • Surface gaps in the funding landscape, or opportunities for greater alignment in investment strategies 

Long-Term Goals (Years 2+) 

  • Surface 1-2 opportunities for collaborative investment, amongst a subset of members  


  • Topics related to childhood adversity, trauma (at the individual, family, community, systems level), trauma-informed care, toxic stress, and resilience.
  • Funders based in and/or funding in the San Francisco Bay Area  

Core Values / Commitments

  • Foster trusting relationships
  • Engage with openness, curiosity, and humility
  • Facilitate learning for action  

Type of Collaborative: Learning Network  


  • Charter, content, and agenda driven by input from a small Steering Committee (3-4 organizations max).
  • Terms: 1 year 

Roles and Responsibilities  

Steering Committee

  • Act as representatives of Funder network and provide guidance on overall vision and objectives for the Network
  • Coordinate with facilitation consultant, Lori Chelius, and NCG staff to execute on Network vision and objectives
  • Provide guidance on content areas for Network meetings, and recommendations for guest speakers
  • Participate in planning calls to develop and finalize meeting agendas, and debrief calls after meetings
  • Provide guidance on Network evaluation objectives
  • Coordinate with NCG staff to set priorities for internal and external communications 


  • Provide thought partnership to the steering committee and facilitation consultant on the collaborative structure for the Network, including guidance on setting vision, charter, framework for decision-making, governance, etc.
  • Coordination of relationship between steering committee, facilitation consultant and NCG staff to ensure alignment on network vision and activities
  • Manage meeting logistics, including location, catering, RSVP management
  • Coordinate with speakers and manage honorarium/travel reimbursement payments
  • Note taking and distribution for steering committee and Network meetings
  • Coordinate with steering committee and facilitation consultant on meeting and Network evaluation and execution
  • Manage facilitation consultant contract
  • Coordinate research activities or consultant support
  • Manage communications with Network to maintain connection and build relationships between meetings (e.g. maintaining resource and info page on NCG website, newsletter, or list serv, etc.)
  • Manage external communications to share activities of the Network and attract additional participants (e.g. coordinate member blog posts on activities, identify topics for broader programs for NCG members)
  • Coordinate across other member collaborative groups for intersectional opportunities 

 Facilitation Consultant (Origins Consulting, Lori Chelius)

  • Provide initial support to help network articulate vision, outcomes, and metrics
  • Design collaborative structure for the Network, based on vision and objectives provided by the steering committee
  • Participate in planning calls with steering committee and NCG to set content focus and objectives for quarterly meetings
  • Design quarterly meetings and develop agendas
  • Facilitate quarterly meetings
  • Participate in meeting debrief calls
  • Provide input on Network evaluation and provide suggestions for structural changes to better achieve vision and objectives
  • General project management activities such as communication with NCG and network staff,  coordination with speakers, and synthesizing content for meetings


  • Membership is open to the following types of grantmakers:
    • Advised Funds
    • Community Foundations
    • Corporate Foundations
    • Corporate Giving Programs
    • Family Foundations
    • Focused Funds
    • Government Grantmaking Agencies
    • Independent Foundations
    • Individual Donors
    • Philanthropic Giving Circles
    • Philanthropic Management Entities
    • Public Foundations
  • Members have a trauma and resilience programmatic focus area for their grantmaking
  • Primary purpose for joining the network is a desire to improve their grantmaking program
  • Commitment to have representation from the member organization at the majority of meetings throughout the year
  • Provide input on vision and goals for Network
  • Provide input on content areas for Network meetings
  • Active and engaged participation in meetings
  • Willingness to share approaches, lessons learned, measures used to assess progress and other information on successes and challenges from their work
  • Commitment to exploring collaborative action 

High-Level Roadmap

Time Milestones
Q3 2017
  • Validate interest and vision for the group
  • Scope charter; vet operations partner / consultant support; Steering Committee
  • Launch funder survey 
Q4 2017
  • Synthesize survey results
  • Secure operations / consulting support
  • Kickoff with Steering Committee 
Q1 2018
  • “Launch” email to potential members introducing NCG/Lori and sharing short-form survey results
  • Steering Committee: Review survey findings in detail; Brainstorm content agenda for subsequent quarters
  • Host Q1 meeting  
Q2 2018
  • Host Q2 meeting
  • Additional activities as determined by steering committee and members 
Q3 2018
  • Host Q3 meeting
  • Additional activities as determined by steering committee and members 
Q4 2018
  • Host Q4 meeting
  • Additional activities as determined by steering committee and members 



















Evaluation: The network will incorporate mechanisms to measure progress against the strategic goals outlined above. Possible mechanisms include the following: 

  • Tracking attendance of steering committee meetings and quarterly network meetings attendance.
  • Tracking the number of people added to the email list quarterly
  • Tracking analytics of communications sent out to network
  • Meeting evaluations at end of each in-person quarterly meeting to gain feedback from participants on meeting effectiveness (both content and format)
  • Documentation and distribution of key learning from quarterly meetings
  • Survey of participating members at end of each year to gauge impact of network on key goals (learning, collaboration, relationship-building, etc) and effectiveness of process
  • Identification and tracking of any funding gaps or investment opportunities 
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