Some of the nation's most influential and generous funders of child welfare and juvenile justice reform projects have a permanent home for their collaborative work at the Center for Children & Youth Justice.
CCYJ first convened the Philanthropist's Forum in 2009, bringing to the table individual funders, Casey Family Programs, Philanthropy Northwest and the Bill & Melinda Gates, Giddens, MacArthur and Stuart Foundations. By mid-2010, the gatherings had proved so beneficial that the group agreed to provide funding to CCYJ to hire a staff person in 2011 to more intensely guide and manage the Forum's efforts. Why do the grantmakers - each with their own interests, guidelines and goals - find it valuable to work together?
"A forum like this is critical for funders to fully understand the landscape of child welfare in Washington, to map out all the change efforts that are under way, to better align and leverage our work, and to create relationships and partnerships that help us make more informed decisions," says Teri Kook, Director of Child Welfare with the Stuart Foundation. "We are not going to agree on everything, but this collaboration enables us to examine together all the promising projects that should be piloted and research that should be advanced. We can then collectively discuss what deserves funding in order to move to the next stage."
CCYJ was the perfect partner to lead this collaboration, she adds, because of Justice Bridge's leadership: "She brings a sense of urgency along with in-depth knowledge of what it takes to create not just change but transformational change."