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The Collaboration Conference 2015

November 16–17, 2015

Houston, Texas

C3 Case Study Conversation: Leadership of Out-of-School-Time Collaborative Shifts from Funders to Nonprofits

Monday, November 16, 2015 at 2:45 PM–4:30 PM CST
Dogwood (Third Level)

Join this conversation to discuss how grantmaker and nonprofit partners made midcourse shifts in the structure of their collaborative, giving grantees more decision-making power and control over the group’s focus. Talk with the current and former chair of the collaborative about strategies for boosting trust and commitment when partners change or the reality hits that a prevailing strategy is not working.

The Silicon Valley Out-of-School-Time Collaborative invests in a cohort of regional nonprofit organizations to sustain and strengthen their ability to serve more students with stronger academic and social-emotional programming. Partners in the collaborative include three family foundations that together made an initial $1.6 million pooled investment over three years, and eight nonprofits that collectively serve more than 7,000 low-income middle and high school students outside normal school hours. From the start of the partnership, funders and grantees have held regular meetings focused on shared learning, trust building and dialogue. A midcourse evaluation of the collaborative shows that grantees are stronger, programs are better and are reaching more students, and funders have adopted new, collaborative grantmaking practices. Recently, the funders invested another $900,000 for a second phase of the work and committed to more flexibility –– letting grantees drive the group’s planning and learning efforts, and manage consultants, budgeting and group communications. Grantees also opted to redirect the focus of the collaborative from capacity building to program development and evaluation, with the added goal of sharing effective afterschool and summer program models with others, both inside and outside the region.


Collaboration fast facts:

  • Name: Silicon Valley Out-of-School-Time Collaborative
  • Partner composition: Three family foundations and eight regional nonprofits, with support from two consulting firms
  • Geographic region served: Silicon Valley in California (San Mateo and Santa Clara counties)
  • Issue area(s): After-school and summer learning and positive youth development for middle and high school students
  • Duration: 2010 – present, with funders thinking about exiting the collaborative in 2016

Primary Points Of Contact

Ash , McNeely

Session Designers


Ash McNeely, Sand Hill Foundation

Ash McNeely is executive director of Sand Hill Foundation, a family foundation in Silicon Valley that focuses on regional efforts to protect the environment and help families break the cycle of poverty.  She works also as a senior program officer for Pacific Foundation Services in San Francisco where she supports the grantmaking of two other private foundations. Prior, Ash spent four years in the Philanthropic Partnership Group of the Pew Charitable Trusts primarily focused on environmental policy, eight years leading advised fund grantmaking for philanthropic families at Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and ten years in performing arts marketing and development. Ash has an extensive background in collaborative funding efforts and program development; she helped found the Silicon Valley Out-of-School-Time Collaborative and Bay Area Environmental Education Funders Collaborative. Ash received an M.B.A. in nonprofit management from Golden Gate University and graduated summa cum laude from Vassar College.

Elise Cutini, Silicon Valley Children's Fund

Elise Cutini is the executive director of Silicon Valley Children’s Fund (SVCF), a non-profit agency dedicated to providing pathways of opportunity to foster youth. After retiring from her corporate career as a management consultant, she accepted a position on the Board of SVCF. This experience introduced her to both the needs and resiliency of these young people. Two years later, Ms. Cutini was offered the position of executive director. She currently co-chairs two community collaboratives: the Silicon Valley Out-of-School-Time Collaborative, focused on social-emotional learning, and the Opportunity Youth Partnership of Santa Clara County, re-connecting youth ages 16-24 to education and employment.

Michele Rone Cooper, McAuley Ministries (moderator)

Michele Rone Cooper is executive director of McAuley Ministries Foundation, the grantmaking arm of the Pittsburgh Mercy Health System. McAuley Ministries was established by the Sisters of Mercy in 2008. Cooper was responsible for the start-up of the foundation, including establishing the strategic plan and developing its governance and grantmaking processes. McAuley Ministries focuses on the Hill District, Uptown and West Oakland neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, and on initiatives that address health and wellness, community and economic development, education, and nonprofit capacity. McAuley Ministries’ vision is to be known as a “good neighbor” whose support has contributed to neighborhoods that are safe, vibrant, and celebrated, and where residents are healthy and enabled to reach their full potential. Cooper manages an annual grantmaking budget of $3 million. Since its inception, McAuley Ministries has awarded more than 350 grants with awards totaling over $15 million. Cooper earned bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. Her professional career includes positions at Magee-Women’s Hospital, the Health Systems Agency of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and the Pittsburgh Mercy Health System. Currently, Cooper is a member of the board of the Falk Foundation and volunteers with the Hill District Education Council and Everybody Wins!, a Reading is FUNdamental lunchtime literacy and mentoring program. 

Session Materials