With 20 years of experience sponsoring and managing collaborative funds, fiscal sponsorships, special projects and other initiatives, Public Interest Projects is uniquely positioned to provide donors, grantees and other non-profit organizations with services geared towards advancing their social justice goals and strengthening their philanthropic efforts. Within the world of philanthropy we are a hybrid of sorts: we engage in grantmaking and grantseeking services. As such, we have developed an expertise and resources that enable us to work on both sides of the philanthropic relationship.
Collaborative Grantmaking (for Institutional and Individual Donors)
Public Interest Projects has unparalleled experience in the programmatic and financial management of large donor collaborative funds. By identifying the areas in which donors can be most effective, we develop a program or facilitate participation in a collaborative fund with like-minded donors. Our highly experienced staff counsels funders and provides guidance throughout the process in all areas of grantmaking. And we have the ability to move quickly on behalf of our donors in making grants and the flexibility to fund outside the “silos” that inhibit some funds.
Fiscal Sponsorship and Project Management
Public Interest Projects offers fiscal sponsorship and fund management to affinity groups and other projects that do not have a 501c(3) tax-exempt status which, in turn, broadens the funding avenues available to them. We offer a comprehensive package of services including: day-to-day management, fiscal oversight, budget planning and administrative support. Our fiscal sponsorships are structured individually to accommodate each organization or individual. In all cases, Public Interest Projects acts as an umbrella organization to accept and administer funds on behalf of an organization or project. Public Interest Projects bears fiduciary responsibility for the funds received, ensuring they are used for charitable purposes and that all donor-reporting requirements are met.
Public Interest Projects is on the forefront of alliance building, a process that brings together sometimes seemingly unlikely interests in deep, sustained partnerships that we believe, over time, lead to fundamental change. We help identify and highlight effective alliances and work with our network of more than 100 donors to disseminate information and identify the areas in which alliance building is likely to be most successful. We also sponsor seminars and conferences aimed at boosting alliance building as a major trend in philanthropy.
Public Interest Projects offers donors and other interested organizations and individuals cutting-edge research on a range of issues. This can be used in advance of grantmaking or as a tool to help donors understand the landscape of a particular social justice issue. We have an existing body of research aggregated by Public Interest Projects and a growing database of alliance-building case studies from around the U.S. We have also developed our own metrics system and other tools to measure the effectiveness of grantees, alliances and partnerships.
Through our strategic communications initiative, Public Interest Projects offers donors and grantees a coordinated, media savvy range of investment strategies and practices to shape the debate and create social change. We articulate goals, target the appropriate audience and develop a coordinated plan of action. These help guide funders who want to integrate sophisticated communications strategies into their funding plans and helps grantees attain the training and tactical toolbox they need to realize communication goals. We specialize in creating multi-tiered communications strategies, including: building communications capacity in the field, focus group message and frame research, responding to media and political developments that impact an issue, proactively shaping the news and using traditional and new media/2.0 such as social networking. We identify the gaps in your communications strategies in concert with your grantees. And we believe in coordination, making sure grassroots activism is aligned with a national campaign, and that field advocates are working in consort with donors.
Public Interest Projects offers grantees within the social justice and human rights field expert advice to help connect them with major donors. We provide information about funding opportunities, open requests for proposals, advice regarding prospective partners for alliance building and other resources that can help grantees attract the resources they need. Public Interest Projects also convenes meetings and conferences designed to give social justice organizations an opportunity to meet and share information.
Through capacity building, Public Interest Projects helps grantees become more effective and sustainable. Several Public Interest Projects funding collaboratives provide capacity building grants to improve information technology, administrative support, fundraising, communications and other internal operations. In addition, some collaborative funds provide support to help groups carry out thoughtful and professional leadership transitions, so that the organization and its new leader are positioned for success. In general, working capital of this kind is much more scarce than program support, so its value to grantees is magnified.
Capacity building assistance also comes in the form of specialized training, peer learning and field building. For example, the Four Freedoms Fund engages the Nonprofit Finance Fund and the Alliance for Justice to train and consult individually with its grantees to improve their financial management and nonprofit advocacy skills, respectively. Grantees are also brought together on conference calls and in person to share lessons and to identify best practices. All these forms of capacity building contribute to strong and healthy anchor organizations that together create national impact.
Because the universe of philanthropy is constantly growing and changing, we want our funders to be on top of the information they need for decision-making. Our donor education services include exposing fund managers to the work of like-minded funders, the latest in funding trends and strategies, and the potential for building specific, mutually beneficial alliances.