Through the Collaborative Problem-Solving approach, ZSR will support a select number of community efforts that use inclusive, collaborative and resourceful processes to authentically engage the community to tackle challenges and work towards solutions. In particular, we seek to fund proposals that work across sectors (public, private, nonprofit) and/or geographic lines (municipal, county, etc.), are built on existing community assets, use a racial equity lens, and/or bring people together across identity or ideology. We intend to dedicate a significant portion of our grant support, in this approach, to efforts that actively enhance racial and/or economic equity. While ZSR is aware that there is a lot of community-level collaboration already occurring across North Carolina, we will prioritize Collaborative Problem-Solving investments to incentivize new, innovative or non-traditional collaborations, and to encourage existing collaborations to operate in new ways.
Click here for a list of terms and examples of resources that might advance your thinking or help determine if your work aligns with ZSR's core principles of promoting collaborative, inclusive and resourceful processes. Printable summary also available from this link.
As part of our Collaborative Problem-Solving approach, we are eager to also learn with and from our Collaborative Problem-Solving grantees. This will involve efforts to identify learning questions that both ZSR and our grantees want to explore and supporting opportunities for an exchange of ideas, information, and insights across grantee communities. In other words, ZSR expects that its relationship with Collaborative Problem-Solving communities will not end with awarding a grant and instead will involve mutual learning and reflection with Collaborative Problem-Solving communities.
Read more about ZSR's Collaborative Problem-Solving selection criteria. In 2019, as part of our Collaborative Problem-Solving approach, ZSR made five grants to organizations across the state to build collaborative, inclusive and resourceful communities. Over the next year, the Foundation is committing time and resources to supporting these grantees and developing a learning agenda alongside of them. As a result, the Foundation will not have a Collaborative Problem-Solving grant cycle in Spring 2020.
Dedicating a funding strategy explicitly focused on community-level change represents a significant shift in the way that ZSR has approached grantmaking at the local level in recent years. In addition, as part of our commitment to being a learning organization and learning alongside communities through our Community-Based Strategy, ZSR has partnered with MDC – a Durham-based nonprofit focused on equity and opportunity with deep experience in collaborative community change – to assist the Foundation by contributing to the learning agenda of both ZSR and the initial cohort of Collaborative Problem-Solving grantees.
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