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The Collaboration Conference 2015

November 16–17, 2015

Houston, Texas

C2 Case Study Conversation: National Foundation Joins with Local Grantmakers in 10 Communities to Invest in Teens

Monday, November 16, 2015 at 2:45 PM–4:30 PM Central Time (US & Canada)
Cottonwood (Third Level)

Join this conversation if you want to explore the role your foundation could play in a national-local collaboration and how to engage in shared learning before jumping into formal funding activities. Hear how a group of funders’ willingness to listen, compromise and defer to each other’s strengths paved the way for deeper partnerships.

In 2012, the Jim Joseph Foundation began conversations with other grantmakers about investing in new strategies to educate teens and engage them in meaningful Jewish life. Seeking to advance the funders’ discussions and compile actionable data to inform their work, the foundation developed a research plan and sought input from national and local peers. Based on initial feedback from this peer group, the Jim Joseph Foundation redesigned the research. The foundation’s willingness to act on outside input and go back to the drawing board established trust and set the stage for closer working relationships. Following release of the study, which called for new investment in community-based education initiatives, the Jim Joseph Foundation identified co-investors in 10 different communities where there was interest in supporting pilot experiments planned and led by local partners. The funders, including Rose Community Foundation in Denver, also reached agreement on a shared set of outcomes and committed to collectively evaluate the experiments. To date, co-funders have committed $46 million over seven years to launch initiatives in 7 of the 10 communities. The collaboration is in full operation: grantmakers are currently focused on developing a shared governance structure, advancing evaluation plans, and supporting grantee learning and improvement.


Collaboration Fast Facts:

Primary Points Of Contact

Joshua Miller, Jim Joseph Foundation

Session Designers


Josh Miller, Jim Joseph Foundation

Josh Miller is a Senior Program Officer at the Jim Joseph Foundation. In addition to managing a portfolio of major grants, Josh also oversees the Foundation's multi-year effort to develop and invest in new models for community-based Jewish education for teens through a joint collaboration with local and national funding partners. Josh's areas of interest include the development of effective multi-funder partnerships, strategic investment in organizational capacity building for the Foundation's grantees, and evaluating collective impact initiatives.

Josh brings direct field expertise to the Foundation's grantmaking work from his fifteen years as an experiential educator, community builder and social entrepreneur in a range of settings. Josh holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BA from Brown University. When he isn’t working, Josh enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons hiking, biking, cooking, making music, and volunteering at his kids' schools.

Lisa Farber Miller, Rose Community Foundation

Lisa is in her 18th year directing Rose Community Foundation’s Jewish Life grantmaking. She has stewarded over $54M in grants and created many collaborative initiatives including BUILDing Jewish ECE, The Endowment Challenge, Rose Youth Foundation, Roots & Branches Foundation, BOOST (Building Organizational Operating Strength Together), Live On: Build Your Jewish Legacy, and A consultant to nonprofits prior to joining the Foundation, she has also authored Nonprofit Piggy Goes to Market and was the editor of Apples & Honey, a newsletter for young parents about creating a Jewish home. Lisa and her husband David are parents of two sixth-generation Denverites and have three grandchildren.

Arti Freeman, Ontario Trillium Foundation (moderator)

At the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), Canada's largest grantmaker, Arti Freeman turns ideas into high impact investments that build local communities and sector capacity. Skills in collaboration, stakeholder engagement, and knowledge-sharing make it possible for her to innovate in different contexts from engaging youth and their partners in a collective process of emergence, resulting in a community of practice that accelerates the conditions for youth-led organizing, to partnering with Indigenous groups, the corporate, public, and philanthropic sectors to develop a collaborative and culturally appropriate granting program that supports the social and environmental wellbeing of Indigenous youth and their communities. Most recently, Arti applied Design Thinking to bring shape to two of the Foundation's strategic funds. The outcomes of her experiments with different models of high impact philanthropy have been written about in the OTF publication, Sector in Conversation, in the quarterly journal, The Philanthropist, and by the coalition, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations. Arti has been recognized by the Foundation for her excellence in collaboration and innovation. Arti has lived and worked in many countries including the Philippines, India, Belgium and South Africa, and now lives with her husband in St. Catharine's, Ontario.

Session Materials