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Case Study

October 12, 2010

Lessons From a Ten-Year Funder Collaborative: A Case Study of the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa

Publishers: Clear Thinking Communications, Partnership for Higher Education in Africa

Funders: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Ford Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, a ten-year funder collaborative, sought to strengthen higher education in Africa through a total investment of close to half a billion dollars. Established in 2000 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Rockefeller, Ford and MacArthur Foundations, the Partnership was later joined by the William and Flora Hewlett, Andrew W. Mellon, and Kresge foundations. Ultimately, the Partnership worked across nine countries, seven foundations, and five time zones. Cross-foundation collaboration of this scope and duration is unusual in philanthropy. This report summarizes the structure and operations of the Partnership and analyzes its impact. Based on these experiences, the report distills lessons learned from the collaborative from the perspective of program staff with the aim of informing future cooperation among donors.