What is Workforce Matters?

Workforce Matters is a peer network that leverages the collective knowledge, relationships and experience of the funder community on workforce development training to support stronger and smarter philanthropy, employer practices and public policy.

Who created the network?

A group of foundation leaders agreed to form the network after reviewing a feasibility study prepared by Angel Bermudez and Anna Wadia in June 2009. Bermudez, who has worked in the field for 15 years, suggested forming a network so that funders could share strategies and best practices. His feasibility study found considerable interest among foundations in:

– a venue for discussing research, determining priorities or influencing policy
– information about metrics and evaluation, green jobs and reaching hard-to-serve populations
– the opportunities presented by the current economic and political situation

A steering committee was then formed to develop parameters for the Workforce Matters.

How is Workforce Matters different from the collaborative effort among foundations on the National Fund for Workforce Solutions?

Indeed, many funders already invest in the National Fund for Workforce Solutions and will continue to do so. But there are some key differences. First, the Fund focuses on sector partnerships, while our network would engage funders who support a broad range of approaches.

Second, the Fund is a collaborative investment strategy. Workforce Matters will function primarily as a communications venue for sharing lessons, analyzing data and exploring new ideas.

Finally, we seek to include all funders in the workforce development field, not just those involved in the National Fund.

We will work with the Fund to ensure that we complement, not duplicate, its efforts.

How does Workforce Matters interact with groups focused on related issues such as education, literacy, labor and community development?

One of Workforce Matters’ core principles is to leverage and tap into the work of existing networks. When appropriate, we will post the meetings and events notices for other organizations, affinity groups and networks and co-sponsor discussions or webinars.

What services or activities does Workforce Matters provide?

Workforce Matters includes:

– A public website

– Email updates
– In-person events such as receptions, meetings, and site visits
– Webinars on best practices and other workforce-relevant topics

Who can join Workforce Matters?

Membership in Workforce Matters is open to all foundations, giving programs, affinity groups, regional associations of grantmakers, and intermediary groups that support funders. An individual may also be eligible for membership if he or she meets a minimum threshold of charitable giving. Members of Workforce Matters should act primarily as grantmakers, not as grant seekers, and demonstrate interest in and commitment to workforce development issues.

Any non-governmental entity that makes grants is eligible to become a full organizational a member upon application to and acceptance by the organization and payment of the membership fee required for full organizational members. An individual may join the Network as an organizational member if he or she meets the criteria above.

How can I become a member?

If you are a workforce funder and wish to join Workforce Matters, fill out this survey and explain your connection to the field. We will add you to the electronic mailing list. There are no dues or fees at this point.

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