Securing initial funding is one of the key tasks that must be addressed when starting a research-practice partnership. Aside from knowing where to look, we suggest keeping in mind the following:

(1) Fundraising takes time and effort. Several of our members note that it can take up to a year or longer to secure funding. Additionally, establishing and developing relationships with foundation representatives is essential. Given this, we further note…

(2) It is best to start local. Are there private foundations in your area whose interests align with your partnership? Are there local public funds that can be applied for?

(3) Be flexible. Competitive funding rules can sometimes restrict what a potential grantee can and cannot do. Try to remain flexible in the types of questions your partnership is interested in addressing, the structural arrangement of the partnership itself, and timelines for completing tasks.


“General Operating Support Action Guide”

Year: 2007

This guide published by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations is written for funders and makes the case for providing general operating support. Though geared towards funders, it provides a framework for RPPs to make the case for core support.


“Funding Your Collective Impact Effort: The Basics”

Author: Emily Jensen

These slides by The Forum for Youth Investment are designed for collective impact partnerships and give an overview of strategies for getting funding. Since collective impact partnerships share many of the funding challenges and opportunities of RPPs, many of the tips apply to RPPs as well.


“The Smarter Grantmaking Playbook”

This resource by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations is designed to help grantmakers achieve better results with their grantees. The section on collaboration provides arguments for why grantmakers should support collaborative efforts.



“Working Better Together: Building Nonprofit Collaborative Capacity”

Year: 2013

This document by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations provides insights on key capacities nonprofits need to collaborate and outlines how funders can help. To download the whole document, you need to fill in a form. Accessing the executive summary does not require sign-in. 



Funding Sources


“Spencer Foundation RFP for Research-Practice Partnerships”

This is an example of a program from the Spencer Foundation that funds RPPs.





“NSF Computer Science for All Solicitation”

This is a National Science Foundation program that supports RPPs that work to provide opportunities for all students to participate in CS and CT formal STEM learning.




“W.T. Grant Foundation Institutional Challenge Grant”

This grant from the William T. Grant Foundation encourages research institutions to build research-practice partnerships with public agencies or nonprofits in order to reduce inequality in youth outcomes. The online application opens June 15, 2017 and the submission deadline is September 12, 2017.