Maximizing the Value of Philanthropic Efforts through Planned Partnerships between the U.S. Government and Private Foundations. Supporting the Interaction or Partnership


Given the challenges associated with partnerships, it is clear that resources must be devoted to maintaining the interactive effort. Interaction on the cheapfor example, without staff or infrastructurecan lead to difficulties in coordinating between organizations, loss of momentum, and the potential for turf wars (Amadou et al. 2007; U.N. Foundation n.d.) 

Several examples of interaction at different levels of intensity illustrate the pressures to create structures and provide resources to support the interaction. Even though it was conceived to include a governing structure distinct from its founding organizations, the GAVI partnership began small, with only six staff members assigned to its secretariat, which was hosted by one of the partners. In response to annual governance studies (also part of the original conception of the partnership), which pointed to the need for greater administrative resources, the GAVI secretariat has expanded to about 80 staff members, and the organization is now establishing itself as a separate foundation. In its various collaborative efforts, the Gates Foundation has often dedicated funds for bringing partners together to enhance communication, collaboration, and the administration of the partnerships themselves. Examples of this include GAVI; Roll Back Malaria; and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Similarly, RWJF has funded national program offices (NPOs) to oversee efforts around their various national programs, such as those involved with nursing, health coverage, and childhood obesity.

The approach to supporting interaction can be designed to promote specific programmatic values. For example, RWJF selects outside organizations with expertise in each program area to house and operate its NPOs, coordinating the efforts of grantees and other partners. The offices remain distinct from the foundation, as well as from other funders and stakeholders in the national program. RWJF views the NPOs as important not only from an administrative stance, but also because they may catalyze new connections to better address problems. Another example can be found in the AIDS and Malaria Coordinators offices, which, given their substantial funding authority and political capital, are seen as having the ability to compel coordination among disparate programs across federal bureaucracies.

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