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Funders Forum

The Hyde and Watson Foundation

July 2012

The Warren, New Jersey-based Hyde and Watson Foundation supports capital projects associated with programs in the fields of education, social services, arts, health, religion, and humanities located primarily in the five boroughs of New York City and in New Jersey's Essex, Morris, and Union Counties. The Foundation Center asked William V. Engel, the foundation's president:

Question Unlike many foundations, you provide support primarily for capital projects undertaken by nonprofits working in your fields and geographic areas of interest. How has this funding strategy helped the Hyde and Watson Foundation to achieve maximum impact in the communities that it serves, and how can other grantmakers in the region collaborate with you as co-funders and/or program partners?

Answer "Since we are one of a very small number of foundations who fund capital needs, we find that even small grants can provide a critical piece of a larger project or program that would otherwise not be covered. Additionally, by making grants for mundane yet essential capital needs, such as computers or phone systems, we can ensure that many nonprofits with very limited budgets and staff — particularly in fields such as social services and the arts — can continue to provide their vital programs to their clients.

"We regularly interact with our colleagues in ways both formal and informal. At times, we have formally collaborated on joint projects in a particular field or with specific grantees. We have coordinated with colleagues in providing the capital piece of a program or project that others are funding. Lastly, we share knowledge of grantees with other funders in our geographic areas and use our colleagues as resources for our grantmaking.

"We find that conversations with our grantees and colleagues are particularly helpful in effective grantmaking. We try to work with our grantees as partners and learn from them, as well as share our knowledge. Ten- or fifteen-minute phone conversations to clarify information in a proposal can be mutually valuable to us and to our grantees, and are a great supplement to the more formal review of proposals and financial statements."

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