Date of Award
Master of Public Administration (MPA)
Existing research explains reasons why nonprofit organizations and local governments collaborate in both formal and informal partnerships to increase the volume or speed of service delivery, reduce overhead costs, and maximize the efficient use of taxpayer dollars. In this focus, the author examines two methods utilized by Cobb County government to supply funding to local nonprofit organizations. Based on interviews with department and program directors of partnering agencies, the study found that Cobb County delivers between $15 and $17 million annually to nonprofit agencies via two unique partnerships. Through a partnership with a nonprofit known as the Cobb Community Collaborative, Cobb County disperses $1.2 million of the County General Fund via a competitive grant process overseen by nonprofit agency executives. By partnering with a private company, W. Frank Newton Inc., over $15 million of Community Development Block Grant state and federal grants are dispersed to nonprofit organizations within the county.
This case study is an exploratory analysis designed to provide an in‐depth understanding of the structure of the partnerships that enabled Cobb County government to effectively support the needs of its neediest citizens. The purpose of this research is to help Cobb County citizens understand the efficacy and efficiency their government employs by contracting with subjectmatter experts to review and administer grant monies to nonprofit organizations. This study also aims to inspire other government and nonprofit leaders to collaborate for more prudent use of resources, but also for the betterment of their respective constituencies. The holistic approach of this study is intended to give readers an understanding of the administrative structure, grant solicitation process, grantee application review process, and grantee responsibilities in both the grant deployment methods of the Cobb Community Collaborative and the Community Development Block Grant Program Office of W. Frank Newton, Inc.
While not possible within the time constraints of a one-semester project, this author would like to extend the research done here to a more formal comparative analysis of both 1) methods used by all counties in the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area to disperse federal and state grants for nonprofit organizations, and 2) the amount or percentage of county General Fund dollars dispersed annually to nonprofit organizations. Based on a preliminary review of Community Development Block Grant training materials used by the Georgia Office of Community Development and unofficial feedback from industry professionals, I believe the results of such an examination would show Cobb County as a pioneer in outsourcing these processes with minimal outsourcing costs. I also predict that a financial analysis of how much each Atlanta metropolitan county gives from its general fund to nonprofit organizations would produce tangible evidence that Cobb County government leaders have historically been highly philanthropic in giving more back to their citizenry than other counties.
In sum, the author hopes that this study may serve as a seedling in the policy process. Perhaps additional studies may give an accurate depiction of the needs numerous metro counties have for their local governments to donate a portion of surplus funds to nonprofit organizations. This optimism is not unbridled in light of the current economic shortfalls facing all Georgia counties. Perhaps, the policy implications of the partnerships between public organizations and nonprofit organizations will be decades away, but tomorrow’s achievements begin with today’s hopes and aspirations.