2006 - 2007
In 2006 a small group of Grantmakers including the Pacific Life Foundation, Orange County Children and Families Commission, Orange County Community Foundation, Irvine Health Foundation and Change of Life Foundation met to discuss the idea of forming a local, peer-based funding collaborative. In response to a study funded by the Weingart Foundation and conducted by the UCLA Center for Civil Society, which highlighted the difficulty the regional sector had in accessing philanthropic support, foundations came together looking for ways to strengthen philanthropy as a whole in Orange County and leverage common resources. Initial funding was provided by the Weingart Foundation. Orange County Community Foundation and Children and Families Commission.
As the strength of the collaboration grew the members were ready to move beyond a simple peer networking group to a formalized membership association. It was determined that fiscal sponsorship was preferable to actual incorporation as a 501(c)3, and OneOC became the fiscal sponsor allowing OCFR members to take on more members and larger initiatives.
Capacity Building Pilot Program
With the 2008 recession hitting many Orange County non-profits hard, OCFR members adopted an initiative focusing on building capacity for several non-profits identified as critical to the health of the regional social sector. This targeted effort for nine critical non-profits in Orange County allowed seven participating funders to support identified non-profits with strategic planning, staff expansion, and long-term operations planning. Executed over a three year period the funding program provided a clear assessment of each participating agency as well as recommendations for implementation of the resultant project.
In May 2008 the OC Funders Roundtable established a homeless committee to explore ways in which funders could work together to address the increase in homeless families with children in Orange County. The group began meeting regularly, focusing on data trends to understand the scope of the problem. Informing their work was the Orange County Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness.
Through available data and research the OCFR Homeless Committee recommended the OC Funders Roundtable focus on four main issues: Adequate emergency shelter resources, effective leadership on homeless issues, coordinated homeless prevention efforts and a robust homeless information system.
Recognizing the issue of homelessness must have broad ranging leadership, the Homeless Committee recommended the Roundtable be represented on the County’s Ten-Year Plan Governing Board, supporting the County’s efforts and insights and providing leadership.
This work continues today through the OC Funders Representation on the Council. To learn more about this work visit the OC Homeless Funders Collaborative page.
After three successful years the OC Funders Roundtable had grown substantially in size and agenda. A strategic planning process was launched in June of 2009 to support strategic direction. A mission for the group was established, as well as membership criteria, meeting structures, working groups, and a steering committee to make organization wide decisions. A formal position of Executive Administrator was created to support the growing membership.
Launch of Annual Summit
In response to the continued impact of the recession on the non-profit industry the OC Funders Roundtable hosted its first ever Summit for non-profit leaders on January 27, 2010. Hosted in one day, and planned for in the previous year by the members themselves, conference content for the nonprofit attendees focused on how to manage and sustain their organizations in hard times. Summits continue to be held every 18 months and have since grown to 2-day events. To learn more, visit the Summit Page.
Workforce Development Capacity Building
In 2012 the Workforce Development Committee of the OCFR convened to collaboratively support a pilot program that focused on workforce development issues in Orange County, with specific attention to a lack of services and barriers to job placement for low-income residents. The committee sought programs whose objectives include job placements in the growing industries of healthcare and information technology. Funded projects were executed over the course of a year. To learn more, visit our Past Collaboratives page.
Orange County Veterans and Military Families Collaborative
In collaboration with individual service providers, OCFR members joined with other philanthropists around Orange County to identify how existing providers can work together to support armed forces and veterans in Orange County. Through surveys, dialogue and needs assessments the OC Veterans and Military Families Collaborative looked at how to fill current gaps in services for veterans where additional capacity building is needed.
To learn more about the continued work of the OC Veterans and Military Families Collaborative, visit http://ocvmfc.info/
2014 - 2016
The OC Funders Roundtable has continued to expand and grow, increasing its membership to over 30 funders and supporting a wide variety of projects and impact areas. Through our partners, the OCFR maintains a seat on the Orange County Commission to End Homelessness and hosts quarterly meetings throughout the year to learn about developing issues in the philanthropic space in Orange County. In addition to hosting regular training opportunities for members the Annual Summit continues every 18 months with an ever expanding audience.