The Network of Network Funders (NNF) was created as a learning space for grantmakers committed to supporting and working through networks. It was initiated with belief that there are opportunities for funders to get smarter about when and how to engage networks to achieve the social impact they care about.


Thus far, there have been three phases to our work:

  • Phase I: Hawai'i Community Foundation and Monitor Institute launched the Network of Network Funders in the spring of 2009, with support of the Kellogg Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Packard Foundation. We formed the NNF by connecting a small group of grantmakers each with significant experience working in and through networks—working with a network mindset, activating networks, and assessing & learning about networks. Over the next year, we worked to aggregate emerging practices for working with networks, identify gaps in our knowledge, and build that knowledge and related skill set.
  • Phase II: The success of the first phase of the NNF and growing interest among grantmakers in networks inspired a second engagement (fall 2010 - spring 2011). This second phase of work connected a core group of participants to a broader network of interested grantmakers to continue to learn and dialogue, experiment with network approaches, and capture knowledge of what works. We’ve captured what we’ve learned about emerging best practices for funding networks in Catalyzing Networks for Social Impact: A Funder's Guide & FAQs.
  • Phase III: We will be expanding the conversation from a core group of 25 network funders to over 100 funders who are getting together at the Grantmakers' Gathering on Networks (San Francisco, 17-18 October 2011). The event, which is co-sponsored by GEO and Monitor Institute, is designed as an interactive convening focused on how funders can increase their impact by supporting networks and embracing more open and collaborative approaches to grantmaking.


Overview: The Network of Network Funders (NNF) was created as a learning space for grantmakers committed to supporting and working through networks. It was not initiated under the assumption that networks and working with a network mindset are a panacea, but rather with belief that there are opportunities for funders to get smarter about when and how to engage networks to achieve the social impact they care about.
Process:
· Phase I: Hawai'i Community Foundation and Monitor Institute launched the Network of Network Funders in the spring of 2009, with support of the Kellogg Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Packard Foundation. We formed the NNF by connecting a small group of grantmakers each with significant experience working in and through networks—working with a network mindset, activating networks, and assessing & learning about networks. Over the next year, we worked to aggregate emerging practices for working with networks, identify gaps in our knowledge, and build that knowledge and related skill set.
· Phase II: The success of the first phase of the NNF and growing interest among grantmakers in networks inspired a second engagement (fall 2010 - spring 2011). This second phase of work connected a core group of participants to a broader network of interested grantmakers to continue to learn and dialogue, experiment with network approaches, and capture knowledge of what works.
Outputs:
· Publications: We’ve captured what we’ve learned about emerging best practices for funding networks in the Funder’s Guide & FAQs.
· Community: We’ve begun weaving a Network of Network Funders (NNF) as a support mechanism for those who are interesting in connecting, pooling, and deepening learning about networked approaches to grantmaking. NNF membership is growing from a core group of 25 network funders to 100+ funders who are getting together at the Grantmakers’ Gathering on Networks (Fall 2011) – we encourage you to join our community too!
· Network Conference: Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and the Monitor Institute are co-sponsoring a Grantmakers' Gathering on Networks in San Francisco on October 17 – 18, 2011. The conference is designed as an interactive convening focused on how funders can increase their impact by supporting networks and embracing more open and collaborative approaches to grantmaking.