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The Collaboration Conference 2015

November 16–17, 2015

Houston, Texas

C7 Case Study Conversation: Network of Grantmaking Collaboratives Aims to Deliver on the Dreams of New Americans

Monday, November 16, 2015 at 2:45 PM–4:30 PM CST
Window Box (Second Level)

Join this conversation to learn about a multistate network of funder collaboratives focused on building capacity and mobilizing philanthropic support for immigrant communities. Speakers will share how they developed a rapid response to a national policy change, balancing local ownership and flexibility with centralized information sharing and data collection.

In 2012, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, a national funder affinity group, launched an initiative to support implementation of a new policy benefiting immigrant youth and young adults. Over the past three and a half years, this effort has grown to include 12 funder collaboratives in nine states, and a total of more than $10 million invested to date. All of the collaboratives in GCIR’s network include nonprofit service providers as well as state and local funders, the majority of which are new to immigrant-related grantmaking. Each collaborative functions independently and with a high degree of variation in terms of their operations, funding approach, priorities and relationship with grantees. One member of GCIR’s network is the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative, which is made up of more than 40 stakeholder groups, including nonprofits, law schools, private foundations and the City of Houston. Through HILSC, Houston funders have raised more than $1.7 million to help low-income families access high-quality immigration legal services and have strengthened regional capacity and infrastructure. GCIR supports HILSC’s and other communities’ efforts by leveraging national matching funds, providing technical assistance, facilitating information sharing across regions, monitoring national policy developments and documenting best practices.

Collaboration fast facts:

Primary Points Of Contact

Felecia Bartow, Bartow

Session Designers


Felecia Bartow, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees

As associate director of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR), Felecia Bartow plays a lead role in advancing member engagement, funder outreach, and strategic initiatives. She also oversees information resources and communications efforts. Felecia served as a longtime consultant to GCIR prior to joining the staff. With over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, she previously worked at the National Immigrant Justice Center, the American Friends Service Committee, and the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies. Felecia holds a Master of Social Work degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a B.A. from Macalester College. 

Amanda Cloud, The Simmons Foundation

Amanda Cloud is The President and CEO of The Simmons Foundation in Houston, Texas.  In this position, she is responsible for overseeing the Foundation’s three million dollar annual investment in the Houston community in the areas of health, education, advocacy and human services.   She is active in the community, serving as Chair of the board of directors of One Voice Texas, as a board member for Our Global Village and on the advisory board for the Rice Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Management as well as numerous committees for local and regional philanthropic associations.  Since 2012, Amanda has been closely involved with the Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative serving on the Executive Committee as well as participating in a national collaborative of local funders focused on immigration.  Amanda is a native Houstonian and graduated from The University of Houston with a B.A. in Political Science and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management through Texas A&M University.  

Jessica Bearman, Bearman Consulting (moderator)

Jessica Bearman (Bearman Consulting) works with foundations and other mission-based organizations, focusing on organization development, facilitation, planning, and project R&D to help them become more intentional, effective, and responsive to the communities that they serve.

Jessica’s current and recent clients include GMN's Project Streamline, the Talent Philanthropy Project, Exponent Philanthropy, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Funders Together to End Homelessness, and a variety of individual foundations. As a consultant and in her prior role as deputy director of New Ventures in Philanthropy, Jessica has written and spoken widely about new and established philanthropy. Her most recent Project Streamline publication:  Practices That Matter,investigates the impact of grantmakers’ application and reporting practices.  She (often disguised as "Dr. Streamline") blogs regularly on the topic of funder practices and values.

Session Materials