July, 2008At a time when many are cutting back, the KDK-Harman Foundation is giving generously. An Austin-based family foundation focused on education, KDK-Harman complements its charitable giving, which has more than doubled consecutively since its 2004 inception, soon surpassing $2 million, with the creation of its Consulting Group.
The Foundation retains a consultant in development and public relations to provide in-depth, free-of-charge consultations to its grantees. The professional consultant works on a project basis so long as the nonprofit organization meets tangible goals while participating in the grant maker’s program. This is the first of several tactics demonstrating KDK-Harman’s high engagement strategy to promote a culture of giving excellence.
“The Foundation has the opportunity to do more,” Janet Harman, founder and president of Central Texas’ 13th largest private foundation, said. “There are always immediate community needs; people need health care, food and shelter. But it's also important to look systematically and strategically at root causes of social issues. This is why KDK-Harman has chosen a high-engagement approach in its education-focused grantmaking.”
As Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Jay P. Greene has noted, philanthropic contributions represent less than 1 percent (approximately 0.15%) of spending towards public education. Realizing this, KDK-Harman is stretching its philanthropic giving beyond funding. Offering financial plus operational and networking support that increases the strength of grantor/grantee relationships and helps nonprofits overcome challenges otherwise not addressed by a traditional check-writing foundation reinforces KDK-Harman’s unique position as a high-engagement philanthropy. Local organizations are already enjoying this service.
“KDK-Harman’s strategic counsel has been as valuable as the grant itself, and will have a long-term, beneficial effect on Heart House's organizational capacity,” Anna Land, founder of Heart House Austin, a free afterschool program providing low-income children academic support and a safe haven, said. “The KDK-Harman Foundation provided high-level technical consulting and worked diligently with Heart House Austin to define clearly the role of our new development coordinator which the Foundation planned to fund — from the overall scope of the role to the specific job description and accompanying metrics. This streamlined our search and interview process and allowed our eventual hire to hit the ground running with clear direction.”
In addition to providing its grantees access to KDK-Harman’s consultant staff, the Foundation builds upon a strategic alliance with other established and respected technical assistance providers in Central Texas like Greenlights for Nonprofit Success. This capitalization of resources creates opportunities that provide a deeper and lasting impact in the organizational lives of KDK-Harman’s grantee organizations and, ultimately, the lives of the clients they serve.
“Our partnership with KDK-Harman Foundation has been just that — a true partnership,” Associate Director and Development Manager Emily Steinberg at College Forward, a local nonprofit agency providing college preparatory services to motivated, economically-disadvantaged students, said. “We are thrilled to not only receive KDK-Harman’s generous financial support, but also ongoing professional development and non-profit consulting services from the Foundation's knowledgeable staff, many of whom have worked ‘in the field’ for years and know what it takes to run a successful and efficient non-profit.”
KDK-Harman consulting services include individualized technical assistance in the following areas:
— Fund development.
— Volunteer management.
— Communications and marketing.
— Data analysis.
— Strategic planning.
— Collaboration efforts.
— Special projects.
“Grantees have shared that they really value our hands-on approach, as it reinforces a true partnership,” Executive Director Jackie Mata said. “It has become a huge part of the services KDK-Harman offers and is representative of the tactics KDK-Harman is developing to better serve economically disadvantaged Central Texans.”
Supplementary KDK-Harman tactics include networking roundtables on public education issues, such as the creation of the GED Award of Excellence competition with its joint collaborative learning session held last October. The event highlighted best practices for GED programs despite lack of state funding for this critical area, provided GED service educators opportunity to network, and announced the GED Award of Excellence winners.
For more information regarding KDK-Harman Foundation, please visit www.kdk-harman.org.
About KDK-Harman Foundation
KDK-Harman Foundation was founded by Janet E. Harman in December 2004. The Foundation provides financial and capacity-building resources to education-focused nonprofits that assist disadvantaged Central Texas families, with a focus on women, to help them achieve educational success. The ultimate goal of such funding is to transform their lives from poverty to financial independence to enable a better life for themselves and future generations. The Foundation supports programs within Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop, Caldwell, Burnet and Llano counties.