Connect U.S. Fund
The Connect U.S. Fund promotes responsible U.S. global engagement in an increasingly interdependent world through grantmaking and operations that advance critical foreign policy objectives and support an effective, collaborative community of individuals and organizations working toward common objectives. We are a foundation/NGO initiative led by a professional staff, supported by a donors’ collaborative, and with a grantmaking fund managed by Tides Foundation. The Connect U.S. community includes over 1,400 individuals, initiatives and organizations that share the goals of promoting responsible U.S. global engagement and using collaboration as a strategy to accomplish policy objectives.
Members of the Connect U.S. community share the conviction that the United States must effectively address critical global issues, such as climate change, nuclear proliferation, human rights and instability in regions confronting poverty and state failure; that progress requires that the United States work closely with friends, allies and other major stakeholders in the international community; and that the United States will only be successful in achieving critical foreign policy objectives if it exercises power and influence in a manner that is widely perceived as legitimate, demonstrates foresight and responsibility to future generations and emphasizes international cooperation. This approach embodies principles that have marked U.S. foreign policy at its most effective.
The distinguishing element of this initiative is its effort to ensure that the whole of advocacy is greater than the sum of its parts. The goal is more effective collaborations across issue areas among foundations, among NGOs and between the two; and more integrated and powerful efforts to influence the policy debate. As a critical complement to donor collaboration and grant-making, the Connect U.S. Fund secretariat, which operates as a project of the Tides Center, actively supports grantees and other NGOs in their efforts to collaborate effectively within and between issue areas, to engage policy makers, and to bring issues to the attention of the media.
Connect U.S. community members agree that collaboration and collective action are the most effective ways to achieve important policy goals, while also building a more powerful movement for responsible U.S. global engagement. Community members leverage one another’s resources and skills, share lessons learned, develop complementary strategies, share information and craft mutually reinforcing messages. The community helps strengthen existing connections and fosters new linkages that bridge issue, geographic, and constituency divides.
The Connect U.S. Fund was created in 2004 and is supported by a donors’ collaborative which presently includes the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The Connect U.S. Fund is managed by the Tides Foundation. The Connect U.S. Council provides policy and program guidance for the Connect U.S. initiative, and is comprised of representatives from each of the five supporting foundations.