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Coordinated Funding represented a significant change in the way local public and private funding was distributed to meet community needs. Like all dramatic change efforts, Coordinated Funding had detractors. Some agency directors and leaders, who historically relied on relationships with individual funders to secure support for their programming, were afraid and skeptical about this new, outcome-oriented and collaborative approach to funding. Coordinated Funders encouraged agencies to give feedback, ask questions and contribute ideas, and worked hard to ensure that reality-based concerns were addressed and ideas incorporated in the planning and implementation process. As the Coordinated Funding process has progressed, initial concerns have disappeared, and feedback from nonprofits, policy-makers, donors, and the community has been very positive.
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No. This model was created through the efforts of volunteers, coordinated funding partners’ staff, nonprofit agencies, and community leaders over a period of 8 months. It is unique in that private philanthropy and government are working together to respond to the nonprofit landscape across the county.
Programs that address the issues of:
No. Each partner maintains accountability and authority for distributing their unique funds. No dollars are exchanged or co-mingled.
For the program/operating funds process, a two-phased approach is used. This includes a pre-qualification phase that closely examines the financial reports, governance practices, and operational policies of all interested applicants. Following a rigorous review facilitated by United Way, applicants that meet core thresholds are eligible to apply for program operations funding.
Following training and with technical assistance during the application process, applicants then complete a streamlined online application. Applicants are informed of the scoring criteria that will be used in evaluating their requests prior to submitting their proposals.
A team of volunteers representing AAACF, UWWC and OCED work together to review requests for funding. Volunteers review the applications and score them using an online scoring tool available to all agencies for reference when completing their applications. Organizations can receive up to 100 points per application.
The Coordinated Funding Partners require bi-annual outcome and client demographic reports, annual site visits and an annual audit for the program operations funds. Terms of the funding and expectations are mutually agreed to in a contract.
Several years ago, Washtenaw County shifted from focusing on and funding outputs - that is, merely counting the number of people served, the number of shelter nights, or the numbers of classes or counseling sessions attended - to an outcome-oriented approach. Outcomes focus on what changes as a result of the above outputs or intervention. For example, a focus on the outcome of a services tells us how many people moved from shelter to stable housing, and, how many people maintained that housing. This outcome orientation allows for a better understanding of the impact of investments in specific programs.
Coordinated Funding enabled funders and agencies to advance this outcome approach by agreeing on a smaller single set of community-wide outcomes to measure for each priority area. Instead of collecting hundreds of diverse outcomes created in isolation by funded agencies, these agencies were asked to agree on a finite set of outcomes to measure service impact. These “community-wide outcomes” will allow Coordinated Funders, local policy-makers, and the community at-large to have a more manageable, coherent scorecard against which to measure impact.
Yes. Funded agencies have signed a contract which outlines their responsibilities and specifically addresses the consequences of failing to meet those responsibilities.
The Coordinated Funding Partners will continue to meet to address on-going implementation issues and concerns. Agencies provided input as the model was designed. The Coordinated Funding partners are committed to funding periodic, independent formal evaluations that will help us closely monitor both the successes and unintended consequences emerging from this approach.