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The Disruptors

“The Disruptor” Strategy

Every year, CNBC releases a list of 50 private companies that are revolutionizing their industries, unseating corporate giants, and banking billions. These feisty, forward-thinking startups—like Airbnb, Peloton, Rent the Runway, and Door Dash—have seriously shaken things up. They’ve made it possible for us to vacation in private castles, live-stream boot camp workouts, rent $1200 Christian Siriano dresses for $150, and have steamy little cases of White Castle burgers delivered right to our front doors.

They’re called the Disruptors. By making waves, these companies are making a difference. By changing the rules, they’re changing the way we think, the way we act, and the way we live. They’re creating a new frenzy of followers across every single industry. Including ours.

Like their for-profit counterparts, the trailblazers in today’s nonprofit sector have realized that to really drive social change, you need to buckle up, shift gears, and get into a totally different lane. We did. Over the past five years alone, we’ve shifted our strategy dramatically; we’ve changed who we invest in, what we invest in, and how we invest.

We want to share our Disruptor Playbook with you. Why? Because we need like-minded rule-breakers, wave-makers, instigators, and agitators who are ready to wreak havoc on the status quo in our community together—for good.

There are thousands of nonprofit organizations on Cape Cod. While all their missions resonate with us in some way, we can’t help them all. After years of giving “too little to too many,” we’ve deepened our support for those that will have the most profound impact in the community.

We invest in strong organizations. Passion for mission isn’t enough. We support organizations with strong leaders who are poised to expand their impact with our investment. They may not have all the tools yet, but they must be ready to take them on.

We support strategic partnerships with broad regional impact. Our multi-year investment in the Cape Housing Partnership Initiative has had a significant impact throughout the region. It focused on driving social change through community education. By working together, the partners advanced their individual missions more than they could have alone.

We support collaborating for the common good. Specifically, nonprofit organizations need to integrate resources, not duplicate them. By finding ways to share back-office support, combine purchasing power, develop shared programming, and co-train, they can decrease costs, improve efficiencies, and stay focused on their core missions. For example, The Family Pantry’s mission is to provide food; yet, their clients also need help applying for various benefit programs. So, they’ve partnered with staff from Homeless Prevention Council who are trained in benefits enrollment to work with their clients onsite. No unnecessary duplication of services; no additional costs; wrap-around client service; more time and resources for core mission work.

Capacity-building. Capacity-building. Capacity-building. That’s our mantra. While we still invest in programs, we prioritize initiatives that help nonprofits reach the next level of operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity.

Nonprofit Leadership Development Opportunities. We invest in people. They are our greatest assets. Through multiple partnerships, we support ongoing professional development opportunities that empower nonprofit management, staff, board members, and volunteers. LEARN MORE

Shared Resources. Information fuels transformation. Over the years, we’ve helped fund everything from compensation studies to online resources. This year, we’ll release our latest shared resource, the follow-up to our 2009 report Understanding Cape Cod. It provides critical data about the region and summarizes promising practices. This information will continue to guide our decision-making as funders and civic leaders and be available to the community as a resource and agent for change. LEARN MORE

We invest in all areas of the community. Problems don’t live in silos. Everything is connected. While we must address immediate needs, we must also focus on long-term solutions to the region’s greatest challenges. The nature of community foundation work allows us to be a very strategic partner because we recognize, embrace, and respond to that connectivity. 

Larger Grants, Multi-Year Grants. We now award significantly larger grants to fewer, carefully selected organizations. We are also moving toward multi-year grants to give the nonprofits we support adequate funding and runways to build capacity.

Trust-based Funding. We’ve also relaxed the rules and restrictions. We strive to form relationships with our grantees that are built on trust. The leadership of the nonprofits in which we invest know how to scale for success; they also know when to pivot or stay the course. Our job is to support them on that journey and be flexible and responsive.

It takes a community to change a community. Your community foundation—this community foundation—is a powerful force. We have a vision and strategy in place. We are actively building and deploying resources—where the needs are the greatest, where they will have the most impact. We are mobilizing existing donors and welcoming new donors.

  • Over the last three years, we’ve invested more than $300,000 in strategic, innovative partnerships and alliances.
  • Over the past four years, we’ve raised over $400,000 through a funder collaborative to support leadership development programs for 74 local nonprofit leaders.  LEARN MORE
  • Through our Vision 2020 initiative, we have raised $400,000 to support Nonprofit Capacity Building and Youth Development. Our goal is to reach $1 million by the end of the year. LEARN MORE
  • This year, we’ll announce a pilot grant program, the next step in the expansion of our capacity-building work.

By supporting The Cape Cod Foundation, you become part of the region’s largest philanthropic think-tank, funder collaborative, and agent for change. You become a Disruptor. For Good.


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Together, we have invested more than $90 million in grants and scholarships in the Cape Cod Community. For good.

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