Weingart Foundation: Capacity Building Through Collaborations - Among Funders and Beyond

With support from grantmakers like the Weingart Foundation, a collaboration of nine major Los Angeles region capacity building funders came together to explore the feasibility of creating a robust technology-based medium (aka “Information Exchange”) through which nonprofits could connect to appropriate capacity building services. Collaborative Capacity Building: Lessons Learned from the Los Angeles Information Exchange Feasibility Study, a report produced by the Nonprofit Finance Fund, the Center for Nonprofit Management, and the Taproot Foundation, details what they found as a result of their collective exploration. According to Belen Vargas, vice president of programs, “We learned that you need to start with a certain base of users, in order for this system, this tool, to actually work and be effective,” says Vargas. “It's a crazy big number needed, because in essence, it’s crowdsourcing. The system has to work within itself, with nonprofits contributing and providing comments and feedback and information and resources.” Lack of certainty that the region could bring the volume of users needed for the system to work led the funders to not go forward with the project.  However, “This experience contributed to the development of other funder capacity building collaboratives,” says Vargas. “The Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative, through which 10 Los Angeles regional funders now support nonprofit strategic restructuring, is one offshoot.”