Responding to Demand
It can be frustrating to look for useful bits of information on grantees and strong programs inside an agency that produces large amounts of data each and every day. Since its inception two years ago, our Office for International and Philanthropic Innovation (IPI) has fielded a variety of requests from funders seeking alignment on Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grantees, program strategies, and leverage opportunities. Together with our philanthropic partners, HUD and IPI understand that effective collaboration requires transparency, communication, and easy, timely access to information.
That’s why we took a significant step last month toward making it easier for interested philanthropic partners to engage and collaborate with our programs and initiatives, launching a new Web tool that features — for the first time — contact information and proposal details for grantees and the highest-scoring applicants to HUD’s flagship community development initiatives. Partner.hud.gov is designed to boost public-private partnership and philanthropic support for the most promising plans to turn the nation’s distressed communities into viable and sustainable mixed-income neighborhoods linked to good schools, retail, transportation, and access to jobs. The site initially will feature Choice Neighborhoods Planning and Implementation grantees, as well as the highest-scoring runners-up from each competition. In fact, information on the 13 new Choice Neighborhoods awards announced today and the eight competitive runners-up will be featured on the site next week.
The Web feature is intended to provide information funders and other local stakeholders can use to find and support applications that HUD deemed promising but was unable to fund, as well as grantees eager to attract additional resources to their transformation plans. It also will offer communities greater access to work happening around the country and best-practice models that might help shape their efforts. Over time, partner.hud.gov will grow as more grant programs take advantage of this capability.
So far, our philanthropic partners have given a thumbs-up to our new direction. “Now more than ever, smart community development efforts require government, business, and foundations to combine their resources,” said Mimi Corcoran, director of the Special Fund for Poverty Alleviation at the Open Society Foundations. “HUD’s new Web tool facilitates these partnerships, helping people revitalize their neighborhoods across the country.”
“Rather than having to spend time on information searches, we would rather put our resources toward ensuring that more youth in underserved urban areas have access to structured physical activity, mentoring, and better nutrition,” said Greg Griffith of the U.S. Soccer Foundation. “HUD’s new online tool will help us save time and resources in efforts to establish strategic working relationships and contribute to the renewal of a community.”
Now It’s Your Turn
We look forward to hearing how you are using partner.hud.gov, and how it might evolve over time to boost your ability to engage in partnerships and coordinate with HUD programs in your communities. Please share this new platform with your colleagues and networks, and get in touch with IPI’s Sarah Gillespie to share your feedback and suggestions.
Ana Marie Argilagos is deputy assistant secretary for international and philanthropic innovation at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.