How do we align funding strategies for greater impact?

L.A. Partnership for Early Childhood Investment


In 2006 the L.A. Partnership for Early Childhood Investment (the Partnership) embarked upon a multi-year examination of its members’ philanthropic investments to assess opportunities for the strategic targeting of their collective funding.

The Partnership, which includes private foundations, county agencies and First 5 LA, worked with Healthy City to:

  1. Gather data on the Partnership’s members’ grantmaking activities focused on Preschool through 5 years old early childhood issues throughout Los Angeles County.
  2. Consolidate, analyze, and map the geographic distribution of the Partnership’s collective investments and grants.
  3. Develop an online, interactive reporting tool for Partnership members to access this data for any neighborhood or geographic region within Los Angeles County.

The Partnership worked closely with Healthy City to define the research methods and tools to address their collective needs. This included developing key research questions, establishing a funding typology, and categorizing funding areas to identify common types of grants and fields of investment.

During the first year of the project, Healthy City analyzed investments for 13 private foundations and First 5 LA, totaling nearly $90 million in grantmaking across Los Angeles County. In year two, nine private foundations and First 5 LA participated, totaling $127 million collectively. The analysis supported collaborative discussions among the partners on how to increase funding opportunities within the identified high need communities. The analysis included how the foundations might increase outreach to nonprofits in those areas to enhance their capacity to seek funding opportunities with these foundations. And, while First 5 LA funding was well matched to the highest need areas, it too was able to utilize the information to further target its investments to those areas. Overall, the Partnership’s work with Healthy City expanded the members’ capacity to visualize the geographic context of their collective efforts and inform future planning and decision making.

See our full report Good Data = Good-Decision-making: Philanthropy.

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