Coordinated Funding Model

Key Elements

Key elements of the Public-Private Coordinated Funding Model include:

  • Supporting and improving the existing system of human services through three major funding categories
    • Planning and Coordination: the coordination and maximization of services among non-profits working in the same sector (e.g., housing, aging, health, etc.)
    • Program Operations: the day-to-day expenses of serving people in programs such as shelter, after school activities, family therapy, or safety net medical care
    • Capacity Building: the occasional one-time costs for things like governance improvement, finance, program evaluation or other improvements, to help a non-profit thrive
  • Targeting investments to five impact/priority areas to include:
    • Aging
    • Early Childhood (0 to 6 years)
    • Housing and Homelessness
    • Safety Net Health and Nutrition
    • School-aged Youth (7 to 21 years)
  • Supporting and better utilizing existing planning/coordinating bodies. These entities are asked to play a lead role in assessing needs, service gaps, and effective/best practices that will inform future funding for local non-profits. They will engage agencies and other experts, and consumers so that investments are aligned with and supportive of what is working and what is needed.

Vital Services

This model recognizes that the community is best served when vital services are sufficiently funded; when those services are coordinated among multiple non-profits; and when those non-profits themselves are strong and sustainable over the long term. This approach has been embedded in the community, and in the way local funders support the non-profits, for years. Program operations have long been funded by the City of Ann Arbor, the United Way of Washtenaw County, Washtenaw County, and the Washtenaw Urban County, while planning and capacity building have been funded primarily by Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and United Way of Washtenaw County.


Local funders have long invested in many of the same non-profits, and the same coordinating groups, at the same time. But even though they are increasingly demanding collaboration from the non-profits they fund, the funders have historically made these investments independently. To remedy this problem and provide a stronger overall funding mechanism to the community, the Coordinated Funding Model includes three collaborations that align with the three funding categories.

Funding for Program Operations

The Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED) - working under the authority of the City, County and Urban County - and United Way of Washtenaw County (UWWC) use a shared process to determine each funder’s independent allocation of funds for operations. While OCED and UWWC have already shared a similar online application form, they have previously used different deadlines, different sets of guidelines, different review criteria and processes, and different reporting and monitoring processes. The Coordinated Funding Model improves upon these independent processes through:

  • A single overall set of guidelines describing the funds available from all funders
  • A single deadline to simultaneously request funds from all funders
  • A single review process, with representatives from each body participating in the review
  • A single set of funding recommendations brought back separately to the governing board of each funding entity; and, for funded programs
  • A single set of community-wide outcomes to measure for each priority area
  • A single, shared monitoring and reporting process

The participating entities continue to have full and complete autonomy over their own funding decisions. But, decisions are made with the knowledge of what other funders are doing, and with the reassurance that dollars are being invested to maximum effect because they have been coordinated and leveraged with the other operating dollars.

Funding for Planning & Coordination

Non-profits need to collaborate with one another to effectively deliver services and to identify their collective needs, and the needs of those they exist to help. This work already takes place in organizations like the Blueprint for Aging (coordinating senior services) and Washtenaw Success by 6 (early childhood development), to cite just two examples. It takes time and money for this planning to occur, which necessitates a partnership among the funders to pay for this work. Under this model, the AAACF and UWWC jointly developed criteria and recommendations to their governing boards to direct the funding of the existing Planning and Coordination entities. The Office of Community and Economic Development was an active participant in shaping decisions about the work of Planning and Coordinating entities, and continues to advise this work as it impacts the investments in human service program operations.

Our planning and coordination partners include:

  • Blueprint for Aging (Aging)
  • Success by Six Great Start Collaborative (Early Childhood)
  • Washtenaw Alliance for Children and Youth (School-aged Youth)
  • Washtenaw Health Plan (Safety Net Health) and Food Gatherers (Nutrition)
  • Washtenaw Housing Alliance (Housing and Homelessness)

Funding for Capacity Building

Much like the shared application process for operating funds, this effort coordinates the capacity-building grants of AAACF and UWWC by providing non-profits with a single application deadline with one overall set of guidelines, a simultaneous single application to both funders, and a side-by-side recommendation process. The boards of both funders receive a set of recommendations regarding their own organization’s funds that could be approved, modified or denied, as they currently do, but with the added knowledge of how their own decision fits with that of the other funder’s, and within the system as a whole. The Office of Community and Economic Development was, again, an active participant in informing and shaping capacity-building needs, and continues to advise this work as it impacts the investments in human service program operations.