Youth Violence Prevention Funder Learning Collaborative

How does an early stage collaborative better define its strategic direction, solidify its structure, and determine how best to engage its members?


The Youth Violence Prevention (YVP) Funder Learning Collaborative was officially launched in 2009 after State Street announced a pledge of $1 million for efforts to prevent violence in Boston’s neighborhoods. The Collaborative was formed to address the fragmentation that exists between the many and varied funding streams that address social issues, including state/city funding and corporate, community, institutional, and family foundations. Soon after its launch, it became apparent that in order to have significant impact, the Collaborative needed to develop a clearer articulation of its overall strategic direction and vision. In addition, to ensure that it could make the best use of the time and resources of its members, the Collaborative needed to determine the optimal organizational structure to help achieve this vision.

Project Overview

Root Cause worked with the Collaborative to articulate a theory of change that illustrates how the Collaborative’s work results in aligned and increased investment in programs to support better outcomes for youth in Boston neighborhoods. Consultants also developed a clear organizational structure for the Collaborative that revolves around three core working groups and emphasizes shared leadership in order to ensure buy-in and future sustainability.

With these foundational pieces in place, the Collaborative was well equipped to move forward.


Today, the Collaborative has grown to over 100 members in the Boston area across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. In a 2013 survey of members, 93 percent indicated that participation in the Collaborative has informed their understanding of youth violence prevention and programmatic best practices. Today, the work is driven by shared financial commitment from multiple sustaining leaders: State Street Foundation, The Boston Foundation, and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley. 

Root Cause now manages and facilitates the YVP Funder Collaborative activities. This requires Root Cause to balance and integrate the interests of a large number of people at varying levels from a wide range of businesses, foundations, and government agencies in order to generate consensus—all while keeping the overall strategic direction of the Collaborative in mind.

Click here to Root Cause's latest publication about the YVP Funder Collaborative 

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