Over the last decade, PSF has learned that while funding is vital, there are other important ways to support organizations. We have tried to ensure that money is only part of the PSF value proposition, lending our grantees significant non-financial support, including strategic guidance and access to networks and a larger community.
Board or advisory board seats
In some cases this has been achieved via a quasi-formalized governance process, with PSF staff or board members serving on the boards or advisory boards of a number of organizations in the PSF portfolio, including Boys and Girls Harbor, CareMessage, Echoing Green, Friends of the High Line, Human Rights Watch, Last Mile Health, the Oxford Pershing Square Graduate Scholarship, Root Capital, Signature Theatre, Social Finance, The Dream.US, The Foundations for Newark’s Future, The Foundations of Human Behavior, The Social Entrepreneurs’ Fund, and Vassar College.
More often, however, strategic support for the entrepreneurs in the PSF portfolio is informal but ongoing. It begins when an organization enters the pipeline and continues as the relationship evolves and grows, often later along the arc of the funding cycle. When surveyed, grantees noted that strategic input at different stages of their operational lives was a valuable contribution to their work. “We are in the securities and investment business, the day job of the principals at Pershing Square. The intersection of our work allows for valuable contributions and insight into the capital markets issues we face,” noted Tracy Palandjian, the CEO of Social Finance. According to Raj Panjabi, the CEO of Last Mile Health,
“The Pershing Square Foundation board helped us think about public funds as a market. That private sector lens was critical.”
Build community: share and strengthen networks
PSF provides value to its grantees by building community, strengthening ties between individuals and organizations within the Pershing network, and making connections between and across sectors.