This Giving Tuesday, Consider Funding Non-Profit Collaborations Advancing Equity
By: Ellie Goldberg, Infinite Solutions Education
2023 has seen a rise in “collaborative funding,” or philanthropic organizations coming together to co-fund projects. But what about funders choosing to support collaborations? Collaborative efforts are being increasingly heralded as they afford organizations the ability to pool resources, improve efficiency, and leverage strengths to expand reach. The philanthropic community has also begun to recognize we need effective large-scale collaboration to have a more equitable and just impact for people of color and other historically marginalized groups. 
Organizations like Electrify America acknowledge the benefits of collaboration, especially when it comes to addressing complex issues related to sustainability and renewable energy. Misti Murphey, Director of Brand Strategy, Creative Studio & Communications at Electrify America notes, “Since 2019, we have worked with multiple community-based organizations in California to drive education and awareness of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs). Nonprofit collaborations like Ignited, Acterra and RAFT maximize Electrify America’s investments by combining community connections and utilizing each organization’s strengths to further this important work.”
Ignited recognizes the need for this kind of synergistic work and regularly seeks to collaborate with both local organizations and national networks. Funded by Electrify America, the Transportation EVolved campaign is a joint effort between Ignited and two other California-based non-profit organizations seeking to close the education gap for the next generation of electric vehicle (EV) buyers and the future STEM workforce. Ignited, RAFT, and Acterra came together to expand EV-related educational materials, strengthen the teacher community supporting EV education, and spread EV awareness to first-car buyers and their families. This flexible partnership allows all three organizations to design programs responding to our population’s changing needs and bring EV education and awareness to more historically underserved populations.
The 3 Rs of Collaboration: Resources, Reach, and Relevance
Transportation EVolved demonstrates three strong components of effective collaboration– resources, reach and relevance–promoting more equitable outcomes for students and teachers.
This project leverages Ignited’s expertise in connecting teachers with cutting-edge science and technology careers, RAFT’s wealth of experience creating hands-on, sustainable STEAM activity kits, and Acterra’s depth of knowledge of EVs and sustainability. The collaboration affords all three organizations the ability to provide robust and engaging EV programming to teachers and students, and relieve economic barriers by providing them free of charge.
Combining Ignited and RAFT’s educational networks has allowed for greater teacher and student reach at more schools and grade levels. The support of Acterra has allowed the collaborative to expand its sphere of influence to the general public as well, especially through EV workshops for students and families from underserved communities.
Ignited’s industry-aligned lesson plans complement RAFT’s activity kits, making them more standards-aligned and relevant for educators wanting to expose their students to careers in technology and STEM. For Ignited and RAFT’s teachers, students, and families, Acterra’s EV-owner blog-series and expos discussing real-world financial incentives for purchasing EVs bring the possibility of owning an electric vehicle closer to home for those from under-resourced communities.
This Giving Tuesday, we hope you will keep collaborations in mind and help partnerships like the Transportation EVolved campaign advance more equitable impact in our communities. “If you want to go fast, go alone; but If you want to go far, go together.”–African proverb 
 Shari Silberstien,”What makes collaboration effective? And what doesn’t?” Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, September 11, 2023, accessed November 10, 2023, https://www.geofunders.org/about-us/perspectives/245. ↩
 Joel Goldberg, ”It takes a village to determine the origins of an African proverb,” NPR, July 30, 2016, accessed November 10, 2023,https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/07/30/487925796/it-takes-a-village-to-determine-the-origins-of-an-african-proverb. ↩