Deepening Relationships through Collaborative Philanthropy at MCF

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

By Katina Mortensen

At MCF’s Philanthropy in Action conference last week, we announced our new collaborative philanthropy model. The model aims to better support members in learning, networking, collaborating and acting together, and it builds on MCF’s previous network structure.

When I started at MCF in 2015, I was asked to review and refresh our existing network structure in order to increase clarity, create efficiency, generate more member engagement and better connect MCF’s network structure with its new strategic vision.

To inform this new model, I spent the first half of 2016 gathering information. I observed and participated in  existing networks, talked one-on-one with network leaders, surveyed network listservs, interviewed colleagues at peer organizations across the country, conversed with our staff who were involved in networks, read network literature and reviewed MCF’s processes and technology for coordinating networks.

After much learning and data gathering, my colleagues and I drafted MCF’s new collaborative philanthropy model. In consultation with members, network leaders and our Programs and Conference Committee, we began to pilot and refine elements of the model with a handful of existing networks in the second half of 2016. We are incredibly grateful for your input and feedback in developing this model with MCF, and we are pleased to roll out our collaborative philanthropy model to all members in 2017.

In our new collaborative philanthropy tab on our website, you’ll find an overview of MCF’s collaborative philanthropy model, one-pagers about each component of the model, planning templates and guides for starting a network, working group or collaboration at MCF, other ways we can support peer learning and networking through program partnerships, and a quick-start guide for our new online community “The Hub.”

I look forward to hearing from you as we roll out this model. I will take the lead on MCF’s new working groups and on a couple of our peer networks, and Leah Lundquist will serve as lead staff for the vast majority of our peer networks. MCF liaisons to affiliated networks and coalitions and MCF staffing for collaborations will be determined based on staff capacity and skill set.

We are excited to engage more deeply with all of our members through this new collaborative philanthropy model!