Designing and Implementing a NORC Program

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Guiding Principle # 3

A stable mix of public and private financial resources supports the basic activities and services of a NORC program.

The initial planning, development, and early implementation stages of a NORC program are typically funded by some combination of local foundation support, short-term government funds (typically, “earmarks” or “member items”), contributions from community sources, and income generated through fees and fundraisers.

Over time, and as tangible results are achieved, the program should be able to attract more stable, long-term funding streams. NORC program partners should begin developing strategies for securing dedicated resources from the program’s inception. That means thinking strategically, developing a multi-year financial plan, and advocating for sustainable public funds. (For more on financial plans, see Sustaining a NORC Program, Guiding Principle #2; for more on building long-term public support, see Sustaining a NORC Program, Guiding Principle #6).

Funds for NORC programs will generally come from:

  • Government contracts.
  • Housing partners.
  • Philanthropies.
  • Corporations.
  • Residents.

Innovative and specific projects—especially if they are time-limited and include a plan to measure their effectiveness (see Evaluating the Projects of a NORC Program)—are often more attractive to foundation and corporate funders than basic operational support.

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