Sustained Collaboration Fund

Exploratory Grant

The NSI exploratory grant is designed for organizations ready to move into structured discussions aimed at developing a strategic partnership. Organizations and leadership that receive NSI funds are not committing to a specific outcome, but rather to enter into good faith negotiations. The goal is to ensure that organizations have every opportunity to thoroughly explore all issues associated with a strategic partnership and to reach an informed decision that best serves their mission and how they service the community.

For grant administrative purposes, potential partners will submit a joint application. One organization will be identified as the lead applicant and the other organization(s) as the partner(s). The lead applicant organization receives a grant for the partners to collectively hire a consultant of their choice, who supports the exploration, due diligence, and negotiation of issues associated with the form of partnership being pursued.

The lead applicant organization must include a copy of a proposed consulting contract from consultant(s) identified by the participating organizations. Your selected consultant must have previous experience in facilitating strategic restructuring negotiations. You are not required to use a consultant from the NSI consultant roster, but it is intended to serve as a resource for those seeking an experienced facilitator. The contract should include:

  1. Proposed scope of work.
  2. Project work plan/timeline.
  3. Project budget/payment schedule.


Each of the applicant partners must also submit a board resolution signed by the board secretary or chair indicating that the board has agreed to enter into good faith negotiations of a strategic partnership. A sample resolution is provided with this application. Exploratory Grants typically range between $20,000 – $40,000. The funds are designated towards the cost of engaging third-party consultants to support a thoughtful exploratory process.

Required Attachments

– Copy of a signed board resolution by the board secretary or board chair from each of the participating organizations

– Copy of consultant proposal(s)

– Completed project budget

To be eligible for NSI funding, the lead applicant organization must be based in and/or primarily serving Los Angeles County.


of survey respondents felt hiring a third party consultant facilitator was either “important” or “essential” to their process

  • Time to devote to the process
  • Internal clarity of participating organizations
  • Honest, upfront conversations among participating leaders
  • A process that builds trust
  • Previous experience working together
  • Compatible cultures and values
  • Clear understanding of what to expect from the exploratory process