In a world where funding from government and international donors dwarfs anything even the largest philanthropic institutions can bring to bear, collaboration is one of the major ways that foundations of all sizes can have an impact on a global scale. That’s one reason the Hewlett Foundation, where I work as a grants officer with our Global Development and Population Program, values collaboration so highly, despite its inherent challenges. This is especially true where the foundation supports large-scale projects, where our contribution is often only a small part of the total funds committed, for research and advocacy with a goal of systemic policy change. If you take the operational considerations with any collaboration into account—differing grant timelines, process requirements, and programmatic strategies—and then add governmental contract requirements, time zone differences, and language barriers, it only amplifies the level of complexity some partnerships entail. Yet cross-border partnerships play an important role in achieving the goals of the Global Development & Population Program at the Hewlett Foundation.
So how does the Hewlett Foundation mitigate against these challenges inherent in collaboration? That’s the subject of an article I wrote recently for GMNsight about how the Hewlett Foundation’s grants management and Global Development & Population program staff are using what they learn about collaboration in-house to inform how they partner with other organizations. Collaboration across borders might not be easy, but building trust, having a base of learning and training, a variety of tools, and proactive working collaboratively can all play a role in making them more successful. For more on what we learned, I hope you’ll read the whole article.