Please note that the Garfield Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals.

Collaborative Networks

The Collaborative Networks program supports the development of highly strategic networks that think systemically and act collaboratively. Garfield’s CN program has evolved while supporting two anchor networks, the RE-AMP Network (since 2005) and the Cancer Free Economy Network (since 2014) and is based on an organizing model that has evolved over time.  Read more about Garfield Foundation’s Collaborative Network Approach (PDF) here.

Garfield Foundation’s support includes the engagement and expertise of our Collaborative Networks team, who co-designed and co-created the RE-AMP and CFE Networks, and access to a variety of systems and network development consultants, in addition to grants for establishing the network leadership, strategic action agenda, collaborative capacity, and distributed network infrastructure.

All of Garfield Foundation’s programs are integrated and address complex environmental and/or sustainability challenges (including climate change, upstream toxic pollution causing downstream cancers and other diseases, and equitable access to clean water access in Los Angeles), while at the same time are in service to advancing the field of systems informed collaboration. The CN grant making domains include:



Network Support grants help build the capacity and effectiveness of networks to solve complex environmental issues by supporting actions that can increase impact, such as:  

  • Network infrastructure design & implementation
  • Applied systems analysis & practice
  • Building collaboration skills and capacities
  • Experiments with innovations that may accelerate network impacts


RE-AMP Network’s Guiding Star Goal:

Equitably eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in the Midwest by 2050

The RE-AMP Network emerged recognizing the pivotal role that the Midwest plays politically and economically in shifting the United States toward a clean energy future. In 2004, the Garfield Foundation co-founded the RE-AMP (Renewable Energy Alignment Mapping Project) Network with 20 of the region’s leading climate and energy foundations and advocacy organizations. Today the Network has more than 130 member organizations located across Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin (with additional ally members in Indiana, Nebraska and Kansas). The Garfield Foundation has been supporting RE-AMP through grants that build members’ capacity and allow RE-AMP to re-grant funds to organizations for member-identified collaborative actions and state-based strategy tables.

Learn more about RE-AMP’s history, structure and accomplishments.   

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Cancer Free Economy Network

Cancer Free Economy Network’s Guiding Star Goal:

Within a generation, we will lift the human burden of cancers and other diseases by driving a dramatic and equitable transition from toxic substances to safe and healthy alternatives.

The Cancer Free Economy Network (CFEN) is a growing collaboration of diverse organizations and funding partners seeking to solve the linked problems of pervasive toxic exposures and surging rates of cancer and other diseases. CFE Network participants endeavor to align and expand existing efforts into a shared system-wide strategy to get poisonous synthetic chemicals out of our bodies, our homes, workplaces, and communities – by eliminating these chemicals from our economy. CFEN is working to shift the current culture of risk reduction to a more upstream and primary prevention approach.

The Network reflects the diversity of America’s environmental, civil rights, public health and labor movements, and the complexity of chemical use across every sector of our domestic economy. CFEN embraces the promise of the emerging green chemistry industry and other sites of innovation that are also simultaneously providing health, economic and environmental benefits for all. Participating organizations and individuals self-organize into working groups, each connected to specific stakeholder groups and allies, as their names imply: Market Shift, Health Science, Policy and Legal, and Building Power.

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Advancing Systems Change Practices

In our journey to experiment and share what we’re learning about systems change tools and frameworks, we increasingly cross paths with social-action network leaders, facilitators, and philanthropic institutions who are also eager to deepen their understanding and application of systems-based methodologies. Overwhelmed by the growth of interest and lack of coherence and clear pathways for advancing practices, we decided to explore some options for “building the field.”

In service to this need, we are focusing our Advancing Systems Change Practices in three main areas:

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Network Support Grants

Our network support grants are focused on supporting multi-stakeholder networks to build their systemic and collaborative capacity and efficacy to solve complex social-environmental issues.  Through modest, targeted grants we support increased capacity in any of the following areas:

  • Network infrastructure design & implementation
  • Applied systems analysis & practice
  • Building and deepening of collaborative skills & capacities
  • Innovations that may accelerate network impacts

Our aim is to support the growth of systems and collaborative practices, build community among network leaders engaged in systemic work, and contribute learning from these projects to the wider field.

Partnership Grants

We recognize that to increase our impacts toward greater social-environmental sustainability, we need to partner with other organizations and institutions who are also interested in advancing the practice of systems-based collaborative work.  

In seeking partnerships, we are guided by a spirit of co-learning and a deep desire to build an ecosystem that will continually evolve the practice of systems change.  We actively seek partners who are thought leaders in systemic change and/or collaborative networks and with whom we have aligned goals. Our partnership grants are co-investments: opportunities for our organizations to use our collective strengths to increase impacts toward shared goals.

Curating Learning Resources

We are regularly asked for guidance on where to find useful resources related to our work, and the general fields of systems change and strategic change networks. Each request is grounded in a different need, in a different context, and well beyond what we alone can provide. The best resources are scattered far and wide in unwritten case studies, disconnected publications, and on organizational websites. As we focus on publishing our own case studies and frameworks, we recognize the importance of contributing these into a collection of resources.

To that end, we are investing and partnering with other foundations, practitioners and facilitators to build a curated platform to provide transparency to case studies, tools, frameworks, learning communities, and trainings to anyone interested.

Environmental Sustainability

Garfield Foundation’s environmental grants support solutions-oriented, innovative and collaborative projects addressing: sustainability in Los Angeles, with a focus on water resilience; and the reduction of the use of mercury worldwide. Environmental sustainability is a core theme across all grants including the Collaborative Network grants.

Los Angeles Sustainability

Los Angeles County faces serious challenges related to water: scarcity, quality, aging and inadequate infrastructure, and fragmented water system management. Eighty-five percent of LA’s water is imported, while millions of gallons of valuable rainfall are left, uncaptured, to flow to the ocean, picking up pollutants and trash along the way. Drinking water quality is compromised, particularly in LA’s most vulnerable communities. Garfield Foundation supports solutions that help move Los Angeles toward sustainable and equitable water management to ensure safe, clean water for Los Angeles County residents and foster healthy waterways and ecosystems in the region.

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Mercury Source Reduction

Mercury is one of the most toxic and persistent heavy metal pollutants known, yet it is used in myriad products and production processes. Garfield Foundation grants focus on comprehensive source reduction to end the intentional use of mercury, eliminating exposure to and toxicity resulting from mercury pollution.

Projects supported:

  • Educate the public and policymakers about mercury pollution, its toxic effects, and how exposure can be eliminated before mercury ends up in the waste stream; and,
  • Advocate, in the United States and globally, for policies and incentives that eliminate mercury use and release including supporting the implementation of the international treaty (the Minamata Convention) to control mercury pollution.

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