Characteristics of a High-Performing Regional Funder Collaborative

In order to foster wide-spread local investment in workforce and skills development across the country, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions has invested in and supported the creation of more than 40 regional collaboratives making investments in their local labor markets. This document defines and characterizes the most effective elements of high-performing regional funder collaboratives.

The National Fund defines a regional funder collaborative as an organization that brings together local funders around a shared strategic vision for workforce development in a particular region. A regional funder collaborative pools and aligns resources from philanthropic, corporate, public, and other funders in an investment strategy to carry out its vision. It includes public and private funders who have the authority to make decisions regarding the disposition of their organization’s workforce-development funds. Collaboratives that are highly effective at solving workforce-development challenges tend to share the characteristics listed below. These characteristics are consistent with the National Fund model.

A high-performing regional funder collaborative…

1. OPERATES WITH A CLEAR AND COMPELLING PURPOSE

2. DEVELOPS AND SUPPORTS EMPLOYER-LED INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIPS

3. SERVES LOW-SKILL, LOW WAGE INDIVIDUALS*

4. GENERATES SUBSTANTIAL SUPPORT FROM FUNDERS

5. EXECUTES A DEMAND-DRIVEN STRATEGY

6. WORKS UNDER STRONG MANAGEMENT

7. ADVOCATES EVIDENCE-BASED DECISION MAKING

8. GENERATES SYSTEMS CHANGE

9. ENSURES STABILITY

10. COMMUNICATES EFFECTIVELY


*This characteristic is central to the mission of the National Fund, but it is not necessarily required for success as a regional funder collaborative.