Catalyzing Implementation of Clean Energy Programs: Philanthropic Support for Communities

Freedman Consulting’s What Works Plus (WW+) funder collaborative project compiled a report highlighting ways the philanthropic sector has supported implementation of federal clean energy investments: Catalyzing Implementation of Clean Energy Programs.

Philanthropic organizations have played a key role in catalyzing implementation of historic climate investments from the Inflation Reduction Act and other federal funding. Following the passage of key legislation, the nation’s philanthropies, including community foundations and pooled funds, met the moment, mobilizing to support efforts to ensure that these investments were implemented effectively and equitably.

The report spotlights philanthropic efforts to leverage federal funding, providing a snapshot of ways that philanthropy has stepped up to support communities as they access and benefit from transformative clean energy investments.

Click here to read the report.

Scenario Mapping & Philanthropic Levers for Impact: Planning for 2025

In 2024, with major elections occurring in the US – the outcomes of which are impossible to predict – public interest stakeholders from across fields and sectors will face critical uncertainties about what the future might hold for their work and issue areas. One tool that can be helpful in dealing with such uncertainties is scenario planning — a structured approach to considering how the future might look under different scenarios, and what the impacts might be on important and even existential issues facing organizations and their field. 

Linked here is an approach we completed in January 2024, analyzing how the policy landscape might be impacted by different election outcomes. Methodologically, our team has found use in a two-step approach: taking a look at the context of the emerging policy ecosystem overall, and then using the lessons from that analysis to consider what may happen within a single-issue frame, such as climate. The abridged approach linked here offers that first step, and the insights presented can then be applied in the second more critical and action-oriented step. The process should help decision makers not just imagine the context of what may be coming, but also make their strategic choices going forward.

Click here to read the report.


Spyware Accountability Mechanisms Framework

Commercial spyware tools, such as Pegasus, pose a significant challenge to free societies worldwide, as they threaten human rights defenders, advocates of free speech, and marginalized communities globally. On behalf of the Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundations, Freedman Consulting authored a report that outlines more than 50 specific levers that can be used to advance commercial spyware accountability. The mechanisms of change listed throughout this report include national and international action, investor and corporate engagement, strategic litigation, technical interventions, and media & education efforts. This report is intended to provide a shared basis for discussion and planning among relevant actors in the spyware accountability space.

The report draws on perspectives from researchers, advocates, commercial actors, funders, and others in the spyware accountability space. We are grateful to the Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundations for their support of this research and the resulting report.


Click here to read the report.

Using AI to Improve Employment Outcomes for People with Disabilities

Working with Henry Claypool of Claypool Consulting, the Freedman Consulting team developed a report that outlines barriers and opportunities in using AI tools to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities. This brief report is designed to showcase the possibilities of deploying AI in a variety of work-related contexts to support people with disabilities, including by developing more inclusive approaches to hiring and creating automation tools that help with job tasks and workplace accommodations. Ultimately this report seeks to encourage more conversation, research, and investment into important topics such as inclusive development, algorithmic bias, and others. The report draws on insights and ideas shared at a virtual convening of nine disability advocates, entrepreneurs, and researchers. We are grateful to Google DeepMind for their support of this convening and research.

Click here to read the report.

Understanding California’s Support Ecosystem to Maximize Equal Access to Public Funding

In early 2023, our team led a mapping effort to track the emerging ecosystem of funders and intermediaries (i.e. organizations, projects, funds, initiatives, collaboratives) supporting communities to access and implement public funding for infrastructure, climate, workforce, and more in California. The findings from this mapping indicate that while many funders have been actively investing in technical assistance and capacity building efforts to support equitable access to funds, meeting the urgent need has resulted in a lack of coordination among philanthropies in the state

Recognizing the once-in-a-generation influx in public resources and leveraging our team’s nearly five-year effort to support public-private partnerships in the state, the goal of this report is to inform a more coordinated philanthropic approach that can maximize and streamline existing resources to create better outcomes for Californians. 

You can find the Summary Report of the ecosystem mapping here.

Landscape Analysis of Landmark Federal Funding and Opportunities for Impact

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation engaged Freedman Consulting to conduct a landscape analysis of Landmark Federal Funding and Opportunities for ImpactPrepared for economy funders interested in climate, labor, and equity outcomes, the analysis details the current federal funding implementation landscape as it pertains to the American Rescue Plan Act, Inflation Reduction Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and CHIPS and Science Act.

The analysis aims to 1) understand the relevant flows of funding from this legislation, 2) identify critical leverage points affecting successful implementation, and 3) identify opportunities for philanthropic intervention to support implementation and maximize impact. The findings are intended to provide insights to funders as they develop strategies to support implementation of federal funding. 

The analysis incorporates findings from Freedman Consulting’s What Works Plus (WW+) funder collaborative and features a number of partners in the WW+ network. 

Click here to read the report.

A New Model for Cross-Sector Collaboration: What to Learn from Public-Philanthropic Partnerships in California

To find innovative solutions that meaningfully address the diverse needs of California’s communities, and to meet this unique moment in our nation’s history, California has developed a dedicated, statewide public-private partnership model that has yielded $4 billion in matching philanthropic investments, produced over 40 innovative partnerships, and engaged over 250 philanthropic partners in the last two years.

Since the beginning of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration, Freedman Consulting has worked directly with state government, notably the Governor’s Senior Advisor on Social Innovation, and state and national philanthropic leaders to build a new model for partnership development that is forward-looking, dynamic, community-centered, and impactful.

Our new report — A New Model for Cross-Sector Collaboration: What to Learn from Public-Philanthropic Partnerships in California — highlights useful lessons and partnership models that cultivate greater social impact and identifies key factors and strategies that philanthropy and government can use to foster more effective collaboration. The learnings in the report are intended to help inform partnership development models across sectors, in other states, and throughout the country.

Depolarization Research and Interventions

Our nation is polarized: distrust in government is high and the zone of potential agreement between Americans is at an all-time low. We, as a country, are tribally divided into categories of “us versus them.” These in/out group categorizations are based on intersecting factors that include geography, demography, class, race, and education level, as well as how we get our news and information.

Polarization is not a new phenomenon in America, nor is it inherently problematic. In a diverse multiracial, multi-ethnic democracy, there will always be some levels of disagreement. Nonetheless, on January 6th, as we watched the insurrection at the Capitol, we witnessed, in real time, the vulnerability of our democracy. This event, among others, including an election season riddled with mis/disinformation and an attempted kidnapping of a sitting Governor, exposed an urgent need to address the rising levels of negative and affective polarization.

This memorandum provides an overview of potential interventions and approaches to depolarizing the U.S. electorate. The information contained in this document is intended to advise interested parties as they explore funding opportunities by digging into potential interventions to the root causes of polarization. To understand and devise interventions to polarization, our research consisted of: 1) Historical and international case studies that highlighted ways various countries worked to address
affective polarization; 2) A high level scan of the current field of depolarization including how current organizations, philanthropy, 501 (c) (4) groups and others in this space are working to define, address, and solve the issue of polarization; and 3) Interviews with experts working to depolarize the electorate within the fields of politics, media, and the economy.

Click here to read the memorandum.

Collaborative Cities: A Guide for Designing, Implementing, and Sustaining Strategic Partnerships

This Collaborative Cities guide, written in partnership with Bloomberg Associates, outlines some of the key components needed for city leaders to administer and sustain strategic partnerships. This guide provides general best practices that apply across municipalities, while also offering guidance on how city leaders can adapt the approaches to their own challenges and circumstances. It draws on the experience of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg Associates and highlights the efforts of mayors and cross-sector practitioners with unique experience and insights, providing a playbook to support leaders looking to build or strengthen partnerships.

You can download the guide here.


Building the Future 2020

This 2019 report is an update to the 2018 report drawing from interviews with 30 practitioners and leaders to highlight key features of the maturing PIT ecosystem. The Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN), then an intangible hope for the field, is now a robust collaboration that enables leaders from 21 institutions to share best practices and spur collaboration, for example. The network held its first annual PIT-UN convening at Georgetown University in October 2019, at which over $3.1 million in PIT grants were announced. And the network is poised to grow in membership in 2020 after a successful application cycle.

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