The Funders Collaborative was established to address the specific complexities associated with developing and operating PSH for chronically homeless people. Prior to the Collaborative, providers interested in developing or operating PSH generally applied for funds from a multitude of sources with different funding cycles, priorities, and availability, any of which could obstruct the project. The Collaborative was formed to bring public and private partners together to create a single funding application process, align funding priorities around PSH, and make funding decisions collaboratively.

Abt Associates, as part of a larger evaluation of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s Chronic Homelessness Initiative, conducted interviews with stakeholders in the Funders Collaborative process and reviewed available documentation about the formation of the group. The results of these activities were compiled and used to create this document, which is meant to serve as an overview of the formation of the Funders Collaborative and to outline lessons learned by participants during its first RFP process ending in July 2012. This resource may be useful to other communities interested in aligning public and private resources to address a community concern.

Purpose of the Funders Collaborative

The goals of the Collaborative were articulated to potential funding participants as follows:

  • Match the $1 million seed grant with at least $4 million in private funds from foundations,corporations, and individual donors.
  • Align at least $35 million in public sector funding (commitments of capital, operating, and services funding) and release with private sector funds to ensure full funding of selected PSH projects.
  • Help create 1,000 units of permanent supportive housing each year, both scattered site and newly constructed/rehabilitated units.

These goals informed the approach taken by the Collaborative in its first year. The following document describes lessons learned from this process in order to provide information to other communities interested in creating a collaborative funding effort. However, because the approach was designed in response to specific community goals, some of the approaches described below may not be appropriate for every collaborative funding effort.