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Stars Foundation invests in organisations and ideas that transform the lives of disadvantaged children and their communities globally.

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Convening donors for better collaboration

Posted by: Swatee on 21 Apr 2016
in Blog

Collaboration is nothing new. The philanthropic community has been sharing experiences for many years, but interest has grown as funders realise individual efforts cannot address complex social problems.

Donor collaborations allow individual donors, foundations or government agencies to access partners’ expertise, gain sufficient ‘voice’ to pursue high-level changes, leverage capital for larger scale and allows partners to take on big agendas, tougher issues, and longer-term challenges.

Well-executed collaborations are bigger than the sum of their parts; they magnify each partner’s contribution collectively yielding results well beyond the reach of single donors, which might be the reason that the recent Sustainable Development Goals feature a goal purely on Partnerships, Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals.

At Stars, we have long seen our role as being one of a broker. It is a theme that cuts across all of our awards programmes and is central to the way we work. It features in how we work with referral partners, can be seen in how we assemble judging panels to select award winners in each region and most evidently in the way we convene Award winners to share and learn from one another during Awards Week and most recently through our regional capacity building workshops.

Over the years Stars has worked on a number of donor collaborations: we’ve worked in partnership with the Ashmore Foundation to co-invest in exceptional locally-led NGOs; worked with Charities Aid FoundationPears Foundation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to ‘Fund the Frontline’; and most recently worked with a group of eight donors to co-create the With and For Girls Awards.

It is in this vein that we now aim to combine convening with collaboration, by bringing together a group of like-minded funders and individuals for two special events this April; one of which took place in New York on 15 April, and the other of which is taking place tomorrow, 22 April in London.

Entitled “Cross Funder Collaborations - trends, opportunities, and explorations” the roundtable workshops will bring together similar sized donors to explore and examine how donors can better co-invest and co-fund in a way that is meaningful.

At the heart of these meetings will be an honest and open discussion on the landscape for and evolutions in high-impact collaborative philanthropy. The events will also explore the challenges and opportunities faced by locally-led civil society organisations and understand what packages of support donors could provide to provide impact and help them thrive.

Additionally, the group will look at how funders can better share due diligence data and work with one another to impart knowledge and expertise, seeking to become more efficient grantmakers and strengthen local NGOs through stronger leverage and donor collaboration.

The events will be facilitated by Manny Amadi who will work with the participants - made up of over thirty foundations, private banks and wealth managers - to examine out the challenges and opportunities for partnership and alliance building. Our hope is that the workshops will provide some practical solutions and clear next steps for a speedy pathway towards more effective funder collaboration. It will be interesting to see what new ideas come out of the events and how these might benefit the philanthropic community and the people it exists to serve.

Stars Foundation is currently working in partnership with a number of other Foundations and donors to share information and our assessment data about the 2015 Impact Award Winners to whom we award unrestricted funding and additional capacity building support. This year we hope to engage with all partners in a more streamlined way so we have increased opportunity for collaboration and learning. If you would like to hear more about partnering opportunities please contact We’ll be tweeting about the Cross Funder Collaborations​ event in London on 22 April so keep an eye out and follow us @StarsFdn

Photo: Shaaman