SAFSF has helped convene or been an advisor to many regional food funder networks over the years and seen someprosper while others struggled to find their footing. This five-part series on Building Effective Regional Food Funder Networks will provide a venue for learning, sharing best practices, and discussing new resources that can help ensure your food funder network makes a difference in your region and, as part of a network of regional groups, contributes to systemic change on a national level as well. Register for the whole series for $100 or individual sessions for $25 each.
August 11: Part 1 – Network Structure and Purpose
A clear understanding of the scope of work and the goals funders have for coming together is critical in order to measure progress and determine if your network’s efforts are successful. In this session, we’ll discuss different ways to structure and staff regional food funder networks, what kinds of gaps and needs networks often seek to address, and look at various outcomes achieved by regional groups.
Sept 22: Part 2 – Meaningful Meetings
Meetings are important venues for building relationships. Meetings should also help move funders in a regional group toward their overall goals for collaboration. In this session, we’ll talk about identifying relevant and timely topics, balancing internal and external speakers and ensuring valuable takeaways from meetings. We’ll also talk about meeting frequency and how to engage participants to keep energy and enthusiasm high.
Oct 21: Part 3 – Network Partnerships
A regional food funder network is just one element of any regional food system. In this session, we’ll look at co-programming with regional associations of grantmakers, councils of governments and state/regional agencies to engage new funders and open new paths for leveraging philanthropic dollars. We’ll also look at strengthening regional cooperation through connections with food policy councils, food system networks, sustainable agriculture coalitions and others.
Nov 10: Part 4 – Regional-National Policy Connections
Food funders often find themselves stepping into the breach between federal policies and funding, and the capacity to implement those policies or distribute that funding at the local and regional level. In this session, we will address the roles regionally organized funders can play in helping to align regional and federal policy priorities so philanthropic dollars can be more effectively and equitably leveraged in communities.
Dec 14: Part 5 – Network Outreach
Let other funders know what you are doing and invite them to engage with your network through strategic outreach. In this session, we’ll examine how to use meetings and programs as outreach tools, how to keep those in the network informed and in touch with each other, ways to share your food system learnings with others in philanthropy, and how to interact with media to bring wider attention to critical regional food issues.
Network Partnerships – Building Effective Regional Food Funder Networks, Part 3