Donor FAQ

Why should I partner with Public Interest Projects?
Public Interest Projects has more than 25 years experience in philanthropy. We provide donors with an unequalled level of expertise and experience in grantmaking and grant management, fiscal oversight, strategic planning and facilitating alliances across social movements. At Public Interest Projects we help you conduct your grantmaking in a smart, thoughtful and strategic way to maximize your investment dollars and make sure you fulfill your philanthropic goals.

Partnering with Public Interest Projects means you gain value in three ways:

  • Public Interest Projects creates unique opportunities for donors to learn together about key social justice issues.

Through our various learning panels and site visits, Public Interest Projects helps donors learn first-hand about some of the most critical issues impacting disenfranchised communities. Public Interest Projects also conducts research and field scans that help inform donor grantmaking. Our donors team up and teach each other as they strategize and compare practices. Innovations from practice become visible and replicable more quickly when incorporated into funders’ collaborative learning.

  • Public Interest Projects brings together donors and grantees in innovative networking relationships.

We play a unique role within the philanthropic community: we bring together all parties working on a particular issue in a way that probably would not occur. Our deep relationships with funders and advocates converge in our collaborative funds and other Public Interest Projects projects.

  • Public Interest Projects builds strategic alliances.

Public Interest Projects is on the forefront of alliance building as a way to maximize impact within the social justice field. We encourage and facilitate alliance building at all levels – across social movements as well as across the table between donors and grantees. Sometimes Public Interest Projects engages in alliance building across collaboratives, such as education equity and immigrant rights. Within Public Interest Projects’ funds alliances are often formed between affected constituents, such as LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender) groups and immigrant rights.

What are Public Interest Projects’ strategic advantages?

  • A “Network of Networks”

Public Interest Projects supports, convenes and networks organizations and funders. When collaborative funds reside under one roof and donors work together – as they do at Public Interest Projects – the synergies among programs become more apparent. These synergies are, in turn, developed through cross-collaborative activity, including shared learning journeys, joint convenings and participation in common events. This “networking of networks” creates a fertile area in which ideas can be exchanged and connected.

  • Flexibility and Nimbleness

One of Public Interest Projects’ greatest advantages is its flexibility and nimbleness. Timely and responsive grantmaking means Public Interest Projects moves quickly when necessary to address changing needs in the field.

  • Know-How

To date, Public Interest Projects has managed eight collaborative funds ranging in budgets from $2 to $10 million and up, and involving more than a 100 donors. The outcome of successfully managing collaborative funds has been the support and sustenance of hundreds of social justice organizations engaged in and having a measurable impact on a range of issues.

What are the benefits of collaborative funding?
We believe in the power and potential of collaborative funding whether you are a large national donor or a smaller local or regional donor.

  • Pooling money raises the visibility of key issues and provides a coordinated funding strategy.
  • It increases collaborative learning and strengthens capacity in the field among donors and grantees.
  • You gain access to an array of other opinions and benefit from the experience of other donors and expert staff that you would not have if funding on your own.

I’m a relatively small grantmaker. Will the services I get from Public Interest Projects differ from those of larger funders?
No. We treat donors, small and large, institutional and individual, with the same level of service and engagement.

How will Public Interest Projects incorporate strategic communications to advance my goals?
Public Interest Projects is a strong proponent of using strategic communications to help build alliances which are needed to win reform. Using both traditional and state-of-the art new media techniques we successfully advance our mission and yours. We have invested in technology, software and hardware and employ the latest digital platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, blogging and social networking to shape messages.

How does Public Interest Projects’ collaborative approach help local funders?
Local funders gain a broader scope of activity and an opportunity to link to national, even global, funders, as well as increase their range.

How do national funders benefit in collaborative funding?
Our national funders build broader philanthropic networks than they would from existing programs. They also experience greater impact as their projects are rolled out in more places around the nation and world. The opportunity for national funders to learn about local conditions ultimately enhances strategic opportunities and analysis. As Public Interest Projects recognizes, it is often easier to make effective grants when a national donor is partnered with a local funder who is familiar with local players.