Washtenaw Coordinated Funders (CoFu)
In 2008, the City of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, and the Washtenaw Urban County adopted a funding model to coordinate its investments in local human service programs, known as the Integrated Funding Model. This model was successful in reducing duplication of effort for non-profit applicants as well as County and City staff; increasing collaboration between non-profit entities and between funders; and increasing our focus on outcomes as a way to understand impact.
In an effort to further the improvements realized through the public coordinated funding process, representatives from the City, County, United Way of Washtenaw County, the Washtenaw Urban County, and the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation came together to explore a public-private partnership to better organize investments in local human services. The group met regularly to discuss and research the potential benefits and costs of such a model. The work included examining the current system for funding non-profits; convening meetings with local non-profits to hear feedback and questions; meeting with key donors, business leaders, and other stakeholders to get feedback; and ultimately developing a plan to establish a formal Coordinated Funding Model.
Washtenaw Coordinated Funders
In the fall of 2010, the Washtenaw Coordinated Funders (including the Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED) which represents Washtenaw County, the City of Ann Arbor, and the Washtenaw Urban County; the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF); and the United Way of Washtenaw County (UWWC)) partnered together to coordinate their leadership and funding of Washtenaw County human service programs in order to maximize the community impact of that funding. This partnership came to fruition through the recognition that among the various components of the three funders' work, one task was shared by all: funding human services in the community.
Coordinated Funding Model
The Coordinated Funding Model is designed to:
- Leverage each funder’s investment in local non-profits
- Minimize duplicate work and effort for non-profits applying for funding
- Reduce overlap and eliminate redundancies between funding entities
- Create shared, community-level measurement of human services outcomes
- Maximize the effectiveness of funds invested in targeted critical human services for the growing number of citizens struggling to meet basic needs
Each organization brings capacity, knowledge, best practices, and experience, which results in improvements such as more comprehensive data about community needs and “one application-one review-one evaluation” process for agencies to manage rather than one per funder.