Founded in 2006, the original Pre-Development Program was formed as a collaboration of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Denali Commission, Mat-Su Health Foundation, and Rasmuson Foundation. Additional partners joined later, including the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. From its inception, Foraker served as home for Pre-D, bringing it from a concept to a full-fledged program that served the varied needs of Alaska’s nonprofits, tribes, local governments, and the state as a whole.
The intent of Pre-D was twofold: (1) to ensure the long-term viability of capital projects that were well-conceived and “right-sized” in their scope to meet the organization’s mission and community need for years to come, and (2) to provide a platform for funder collaboration on significant community projects across Alaska that maximized each investment. In the end, the program accomplished both while increasing the knowledge of other capital investors including the State of Alaska, federal agencies, and private investors.
Pre-D also shifted the overall understanding of nonprofit boards and staff about the steps and considerations necessary to undertake any significant capital expansion projects while also providing needed support, knowledge, and tools for better decisions and long-term stewardship of mission. A unique aspect of Pre-D was that the groups engaging with us were invited into the program at no charge to them. In this way, each group could be more open to candidly revealing information, making course adjustments, or determining that the project was not viable as envisioned. In the end, success was as much about a new vessel to deliver the mission as it was about stopping or shifting projects that could not deliver the mission for the long term. We are proud to have developed this program and to have worked collaboratively with our funding partners to serve more than 100 organizations. These organizations – including nonprofits, borough governments, and tribes – have gone on to successfully complete projects across the state including libraries, museums, senior housing, homeless shelters, healthcare clinics, community centers, and domestic violence shelters.
Indeed, our experience has shown that following the Pre-D steps has created a win-win-win for the mission, the community, and funders. These outcomes are captured in our Pre-Development Theory of Change, which we call Walking the Pre-Development Process. The success of our early Pre-D partnership demonstrates how “walking the process” yields the best results.
We thank our funding partners and all the organizations that have worked with us to make Pre-D a national model and a successful program. We are honored to share the lessons learned from a decade of service in this new online tool. We hope it helps organizations take the right steps to better serve their community.