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In late 2009, An Assessment of Capacity Building in Washington State (prepared by The Giving Practice) was published. The funders who had supported the study—Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Campion Foundation, Medina Foundation, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, The Seattle Foundation, Sherwood Trust, Social Venture Partners Seattle—did not want to produce a document without committing to investing in the work the report identified as necessary. So, in early 2010, these funders—joined by Empire Health Foundation and Paul G. Allen Family Foundation—came together as the Statewide Capacity Collaborative (SCC), a group from different parts of the state, with multiple agendas, priorities and constraints, but all concerned about the capacity of nonprofits and their communities, and committed to doing something about it.

The SCC both felt an urgency and saw an opportunity for grantmakers to increase their commitment, leadership and action to work collectively to strengthen the capacity of the nonprofit sector. The group is committed to:

  • Leveraging both our financial and human capital as we all benefit from the diversity of resources, time and connections we each bring to the table.
  • Investing in the advancement of strategies that will realize long-term impact for the sector. At the same time, we aim to balance this with the need for flexible and responsive dollars for new ideas and approaches.
  • Sharing and replicating promising practices when appropriate and welcomed.
  • Encouraging other funders – corporate, public and individual – to join our efforts.

Together we have made aligned investments of over $4.3 million to build the capacity of the non-profit sector in Washington state, and in 2014 launched a pooled fund to provide the chance for a coordinated commitment from funders, an increased ability to take risks, and provide the opportunity to truly move the dial on creating and supporting much needed capacity building resources and a capacity building culture in Washington’s nonprofit sector. To date, the pooled fund has distributed over $350,000 to support the availability of capacity building resources across the state, build the advocacy and public policy capacity of the sector, and invest in leadership development efforts.

Current Members of the SCC:
The Ballmer Group, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Campion Foundation, Cedarmere Foundation, Empire Health Foundation, Medina Foundation, Satterberg Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Sherwood Trust, Social Venture Partners Seattle