How We Help Foundations & Funders
We make it possible for funders to increase the impact of their investments in promising grantees. We are able to do this because of our expertise in helping grantees to: develop the right service models; understand what their staff need to do to execute the models well; and assess impact by collecting and measuring data to understand which key activities drive success, and to make data-driven operational changes that improve success.
Rather than relying on grantees to develop capacity individually, a systematic portfolio approach can build capacity across grantees in the context of the successes the funder wants to see.
Initiative Design and Aligning Grantee Selection to Objectives
Public Works Partners supported the Annie E. Casey Foundation by designing and running a grantee selection process for its recently-launched national initiative, Generation Work. We began by analyzing and framing outcomes and performance data from a high-performing set of youth workforce partnerships to inform how the initiative could most effectively increase the use and effectiveness of demand-driven workforce strategies in youth employment programs. Building on the baseline data analysis, we wrote a request for proposals aimed at understanding a partnership’s sense of opportunity and vision; their ability to implement; and their overall fit. During the proposal period, we provided technical assistance to proposers to advance their understanding of the goals, and facilitated interviews with the finalists across the country. Our analysis and planning helped the Foundation effectively align its initial planning grants totaling $500,000 with the applicants best positioned to advance Generation Work’s overall objectives.
Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund sought to better understand nationally how youth perceive mainstream financial products and services. We developed a survey and strategy for collecting information from over 3,200 youth in eight target cities to examine how they view mainstream financial services, bank, and plan to use financial services in the future. To provide additional nuance, we augmented the survey analysis with insights garnered through a series of focus groups across partner cities. Our robust data analysis and summary is supporting CFE’s efforts to advance the national financial empowerment policy discussion, while also arming their programs with greater knowledge about the populations that they serve.
Technical Assistance to Drive Grantee Impact
The NYC Change Capital Fund—a collaboration of 17 foundations and financial institutions dedicated to the revitalization of distressed NYC neighborhoods—wanted to make sure its grantees could measure the impact of their services in their communities. Public Works helped five organizations to define common metrics of success; develop straightforward, easily implementable data collection systems; and to evaluate the metrics to understand key drivers of success in reducing poverty—and where to make operational changes to create further improvements. Our technical assistance for grantees gave the Fund the ability to see collective outcomes and assess which grantee strategies demonstrate greatest promise toward improving their communities.
Market Analysis to Inform Grant-making Strategy
Public Works Partners helped the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation increase its impact in helping more young adults enter and succeed in the hospitality sector. Leveraging our workforce development expertise, we helped Hilton to more fully understand employment and training needs in hospitality; defined clear career pathways that allow for growth, promotion, and higher wages in the sector; and evaluated select markets to identify opportunities to support career pathways. The Hilton Foundation revised its funding guidelines so that grants focus on developing career pathways for youth who are neither working nor in school—a cohort that will benefit greatly from job and advancement opportunities in this sector.
Foundation & Funder Clients
- Annie E. Casey Foundation
- Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund
- Neighborhood First Fund
- Nonprofit Finance Fund
- NYC Change Capital Fund
- Conrad N. Hilton Foundation