Since 1994, the Nonprofit Management Fund has served as a collaborative resource, bringing together a group of diverse funders to focus on helping nonprofits to build their own capacity. Fund partners have continued support and interest in meeting these important community needs and are exploring ways to increase commitments to the Fund.
In 1994, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the Helen Bader Foundation, and the Faye McBeath Foundation researched models to strengthen the infrastructure of nonprofit organizations. Since only a few models existed across the country, they chose to design a three-year pilot with the potential to become a long-term model. With design and logistical assistance from Management Cornerstones, Inc. the foundations established a donor-advised fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. A representative of each served on the Grants and Policy Committee, which met three times a year to approve policies and guidelines for the Fund, as well as award technical assistance grants. The success of the Fund enticed other foundation, corporate, and United Way representatives to participate in the Fund. The three-year pilot project grew to a roster of 10 funding partners, contributing $500,000 to $750,000 per year. Funded by foundations, expanded partnerships to the private-sector, including corporations and United Way, the Nonprofit Management Fund is a true collaboration among funders. Operating as a “virtual organization” and existing as a donor-advised fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the Fund relies upon its partners to determine grants administration and financial services. Each of the partner representatives contributes time and talent, in addition to the financial.