Philanthropy-Government Partnerships: What Can We Learn?

“Getting two levels of government to adopt a new program in 10 months is like turning an elephant on a dime.” That was the conclusion from the Toronto Community Foundation and Mayor’s office as they jump-started an innovative housing allowance program that’s gone national in Canada. Their story made us curious about what else we could learn from grantmakers' experience partnering with government entities. Our latest guide is based on practical wisdom from public foundations in New Hampshire to private philanthropy in Alaska, grantmakers’ stories of working with governments from NYC to Vietnam.

Many of you contributed to the guide through your answers to our quick question survey: What’s the Right Relationship Between Philanthropy and Government? We noted the creative tensions that arise with the decision to partner or not and what’s different in this kind of relationship from working with non-profits or the business sector. We also uncovered tips for structuring co-funding relationships, including information about jointly-funded projects that the IRS recognizes as exceptions to federal lobbying restrictions. It’s all in the guide.

There’s always more information to mine: what would you add or object to or change in the guide based on what you've learned on the job?


About the author(s)

Senior Partner
The Giving Practice