The Next Frontier in Grant Funding – Cross Collaboration Across Municipalities – Comprehensive Multifaceted Funding Process
According to Gary Peterson, “An observation that touches on one of what I think is the most important areas covered had to do with accepting that people change in a process; that people come and go and we need to account for that. If you have a group that has been working together, developing language and process and someone comes ‘late to the party’ they sound incoherent because they have not ‘journeyed with the group’. Your question of how we bring people in and out of the process was a really important reminder of what we need to do to build forward momentum.”
Gary Petersen is the Director of Public Works for the City of Salinas, California. Salinas often resides the top ten cities in the country for per capita homicide because of gang warfare. Salinas has systemic efforts underway associated with water, waste, energy, violence prevention, so the content of the webinar had enormous value to Gary and his team.
To view the webinar video click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAP6RDfmIAg
Participants were invited to learn and speak on behalf of those who care about finding and attracting funding in support of large-scale change. The Future of Toledo Initiative has embarked on an endeavor to transform the city and region through fifteen strategic projects, each complex coordination and implementation. Participants learned how the city is individually and collectively guiding the projects to success. This is a large-scale collaboration of stakeholders and citizens attempted by a few cities across the country. It is the next frontier – comprehensive and coordinate planning in new and novel ways. Propelling the initiative forward is the engagement of over thousands citizens, leaders, and government employees in order to attract tens of millions in grant funding. We explored the collaborative tools and design process, the Open Government Initiative, and lessons learned to date. If you are interested in city and regional transformation, this is a webinar you will want to attend.
Read below for more details from Diane Leonard:
The Next Frontier in Multifaceted Grant Funding for City Transformation
By Diane H. Leonard, GPC
There are numerous articles and studies that discuss how nonprofits should collaborate in order to increase their efficiency in service provision and also in showing larger scale collective impact to funding sources. There are also numerous articles and studies that address the theory of shared services within municipalities as a means to save local tax payers money. Where there is not a great deal of research and articles to follow as a guide is when these two worlds collide.
The City of Toledo’s Future of Toledo Initiative is a combination of both practices of collaboration. The Future of Toledo’s primary aim is to utilize the latest in collaborative processes to accelerate the transformation of our city and region. A key principle of the process is to include more and more people in the discussion until all who care about the future and have a positive “can do” attitude are involved.
There have been other small collaborative efforts throughout Ohio including:
- Columbus 2020 which is an economic development effort; and
- Sustainable Cleveland 2019 which is a Food Policy Coalition.
There have also been other unique initiatives focusing on municipal engagement of local citizens, but with different foci than the Future of Toledo Initiative including:
- Boston, MA’s Office of “New Urban Mechanics;”
- New York City’s “Change by Us” Initiative; and
- San Francisco, CA’s “SF Better Streets” Project.
However, the goals of the Future of Toledo Initiative as defined by the local residents and Government leaders are to achieve the following:
- Ensuring safety
- Balancing the budget
- Create jobs through developing the regional economy
- Improving local schools
- Stabilizing neighborhoods
- Encouraging residents in their health and wellness
- Connecting, Leveraging, & Promoting Regional Assets
With the support and focus of government leaders, government staff, nonprofit leaders, and engaged citizens has created an engagement process unlike many others.
The Future of Toledo Initiative is unique for numerous reasons, including the fact that it is:
- Truly a city wide initiative with individuals from all departments involved in the conversation;
- A collaborative effort that involves numerous nonprofit leaders as well as individual citizens without specific organizational affiliations;
- Support for the Future of Toledo Initiative is supported from both the top down and the bottom up; and
- The process is focused on proactive planning and strategizing to define and direct the actions of those involved in the Initiative.
Throughout their proactive planning and grant readiness process there have been a wide variety of individuals present in the discussion ranging from those who are experienced strategic planning individuals as well as experienced grant and development professionals to those who are engaged citizens with experience and background in grassroots movements to those who are focused on the specific successful operation of city departments. This wide variety of skill sets and backgrounds created a very diverse dialogue for the Initiative as a whole as well as for the individual priority projects as there were so many facets of experience and knowledge driving each decision within the small breakout teams.
This unique approach to engaging in a proactive planning process in order to thoughtfully identify and secure external funding support both in the form of traditional grants as well as nontraditional funding supports is one that I firmly believe will result in the success of individual priority projects as well as a long-term sustainable model for wide spread community collaboration across interest groups.
Having created a new model of collaboration within the City of Toledo, the involved citizens and leaders are now focused on taking the process a step further to identify what resources exist to assist with the funding sustainability needs of the focused priority projects identified through the process. The Future of Toledo leadership is looking to engage additional community partners in sharing knowledge, resources, and skills in order to collaborate in the fund seeking process, again, relying on the talent that it has locally and internally to help move their aim forward and achieve the vision that they believe is possible for the City of Toledo.
DH Leonard Consulting & Grant Writing Services has been working with the Future of Toledo Initiative community leaders since early in the spring of 2013 to consider new potential collaborations and ways of approaching external funding support to continue to help the community grow and meet its goals.