Key Points

Funding collaboratives allow foundations to align, increase effectiveness, and collectively address systemic issues. Such alliances are increasingly important in the quest for social change in the face of large-scale challenges like climate change, political polarization, and inequity, which require contributions from across sectors to create meaningful impact. An exploration of why such collaboratives form, how they evolve, and what impact they have offers insights for foundations interested in tackling such complex challenges.

The BUILD Health Challenge® is a funding collaborative that includes national and regionally focused funders working together to drive sustainable improvements in health. Through a reflective survey and conversation with its funders, BUILD documented the evolving composition and outcomes related to the funding collaborative. This structure, rooted in speed, flexibility, and reach, creates a symbiotic relationship between the two groups of funders, and allows regional philanthropies the opportunity to inform the national agenda and contribute deep insights as to what works locally.

This article discusses how The BUILD Health Challenge’s funding collaborative was created; the challenges and opportunities created from its structure; and outcomes from the program. Emerging evidence on the benefits of such collaboratives are explored, including shifts in the confidence to take risks and new approaches to grantmaking.

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Open Access