Like other aspects of partnership work, the funding process is characterized by collaboration and communication. Most foundations, for instance, want to be informed of the successes and challenges of the efforts they invest in. Although funders want assurances that proposed outcomes will be achieved, ongoing communication as the work unfolds through ups and downs allows them to learn from the complexities of the work and may even help guide their expectations and future efforts.
At the same time, as the partnership goes about its work, it is important to address questions of alignment with the funder’s priorities and expectations. For example, if findings contradict the original theory of change, how would the communication of findings be negotiated? Such questions highlight the important role of trust and relationships with the funding organization; this parallels the discussions that research and district partners must have about when and how to release findings.