Key Points

· The last decade has seen a surge of interest in public-philanthropic partnerships (PPPs), due not only to these collaborations’ notable successes but also to the 2008 election of Barack Obama. The Obama administration unveiled a series of initiatives that looked to philanthropy to help identify innovative programs.

· To explore the issues involved in PPPs, this article looks at two key federal initiatives, Michigan’s Office of the Foundation Liaison, and the involvement of foundations in state and local responses to the 2007 financial crisis and the implementation of the federal economic stimulus package.

· The growth of public-philanthropic partnerships will present foundations with significant challenges that will require a clearer understanding – even a redefinition – of private and public responsibilities toward funding social programs.