As our nation sits and watches the devastation in Oklahoma following a series of tornadoes this week, I was reminded of a conversation I had with Jennifer Lammers, the new Program Director for the Alliance for Nonprofit Management, about an article she wrote following the 9/11 attacks. She referenced the piece during a call with a [...]
The statistics are hard to ignore, and you may already be familiar with many of them. In 2010, guns took the lives of more than 31,000 Americans in homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings. This is the equivalent of more than 85 deaths each day and more than three deaths each hour. More than 50 percent [...]
On one of the most storied streets in urban Native America, you can see a dynamic future taking shape. Colorful banners along Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis proclaim the only Native American urban business district in the country. Established in 2010, the American Indian Cultural Corridor features five Native-owned businesses, including a [...]
When the mainstream media pay attention to Native American communities at all, they most often tell stories of trauma and tragedy. There is truth in many of those stories, of course, but we at Northwest Area Foundation see a different reality that also is true. When we meet with people on [...]
Two years ago, Endeavor Foundation’s board of directors challenged staff to think beyond providing fund services and facilitated grantmaking by expanding our mission. Through a strategic planning process, we determined Endeavor should be a long-term advocate for Northwest Arkansas. Many refer to that as “community leadership.” Many in our region of 500,000 believe we’ve already [...]
This year, Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) is celebrating its 10th anniversary operating as a community foundation serving “Indian Country”—generally defined as the land and communities within American Indian reservation boundaries as well as off-reservation trust lands. Since 2002, ILTF has invested nearly $20 million in grants and programs that support efforts to return control [...]
The city of Charleston, W.Va., is embarking on a new beginning as it molds a revolutionary program for young professionals: Early Dynamic Guided Engagement (EDGE). The three-year program offers recent college graduates the opportunity to live in the heart of downtown Charleston for a subsidized cost while they participate in charitable activities, meet current leaders [...]
Our world has become increasingly dependent upon content to attract people’s attention. This content ranges from blogs on the Internet to television shows. Due to global shifts in our economy, economic developers have to work harder to attract companies and individual entrepreneurs. What used to be local efforts to attract job creators from neighboring cities [...]
On the morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast. Within hours, it became one of the deadliest and costliest hurricanes in U.S. history. As a Southern funder, the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation recognized that while Katrina was an equal opportunity destroyer, it was not going to be an equal opportunity [...]
On Monday, DRF announced a $10 million grant to fund an entrepreneurship initiative to benefit the residents of the City of Danville and Pittsylvania County in Virginia and Caswell County in North Carolina, the foundation’s Dan River Region footprint. In a global economy, investment in those who create businesses is essential. The Dan River Region [...]
El Pomar Foundation began preparing to respond to one of the worst natural disasters in Colorado history 10 years before the first sign of smoke in Waldo Canyon. In June 2002, the Hayman fire ripped through four Colorado counties, consuming more than 137,000 acres. While those flames were still active, El Pomar trustees established an [...]
Time flies when you are doing good work. The Danville Regional Foundation launched its Make It Happen! (MIH!) program in November 2010 to show that everybody can make a difference through incremental changes, no matter how small. Now, approximately 18 months later, we just awarded our 50th MIH! Grant.
MIH! aims the focus on Dan River [...]
Foundations in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Detroit have faced conditions before and after crises that are all but unimaginable. For example, Detroit has enough vacant and unused land to fit inside San Francisco, more vacant land than any city in the U.S. except for post-Katrina New Orleans, a poverty rate of 38 percent, and [...]
If there is an epicenter of the decline of a city and its loss of an economic base, the candidates start with Detroit, where the population has plummeted 25 percent in the last decade to 714,000–this for a city whose population was 1.85 million in 1950. The city now has an extraordinarily high poverty rate, [...]
This year’s Paul Ylvisaker Public Policy Award winner, Linda Reed, president and CEO of the Montana Community Foundation, delivered a formal talk on the relationship of rural philanthropy and public policy. Given that Reed was talking about Montana, where there are only three communities with populations above 50,000, almost anything she might have addressed could [...]
Especially in our current funding climate, partnership and authentic engagement with those we seek to serve is critical to ensuring that limited philanthropic resources are invested wisely and deliver the greatest possible impact for those most in need.
The success of Foundation for Louisiana’s citizen’s guides illustrates just how important and rewarding it is for philanthropy [...]
“What’s past is prologue.” –Shakespeare
“History is more or less bunk.” –Henry Ford
Sunday’s Opening Plenary Session at the Council on Foundations Annual Conference in Los Angeles explores the “realization, rethinking, and reinvention” of: (1) the 20th anniversary of the L.A. riots, (2) Hurricane Katrina’s revelations of social inequity, and (3) the social experiments in Detroit amid [...]
“Los Angeles: America, Only Sooner”
John Deasy, our dynamic new superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), recently used that phrase to describe Los Angeles at a recent convening of funders.
It is true that because of our size, diversity, and global leadership position that issues bubbling up in California often foreshadow what’s next for the [...]
One year after the complex disaster in the Tohoku region of Japan, much remains to be done to rebuild lives and communities in the stricken area. Tohoku will need business and philanthropic investments for years to come, and I am encouraged by the innovative and entrepreneurial approaches being implemented by several Japanese social organizations.
Prior to [...]
“…outside resources will be much more effectively used if the local community is itself fully mobilized and invested, and if it can define the agendas for which additional resources must be obtained.”
-”Building Communities from the Inside Out,” John P. Kretzmann and John L. McKnight, 1993.
I’ve been reflecting on how much my early training in community [...]
Responding to Demand
It can be frustrating to look for useful bits of information on grantees and strong programs inside an agency that produces large amounts of data each and every day. Since its inception two years ago, our Office for International and Philanthropic Innovation (IPI) has fielded a variety of requests from funders seeking alignment [...]
There are a lot of things to love about Centre County, Pa. Beautiful natural features. Ample opportunities to socialize. An open and accepting attitude among residents.
And according to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, qualities like that create a sense of attachment that inspire Centre County residents.
The Knight Foundation’s Soul of the Community [...]
Do you know how to make your community a better place to live? Do you have an idea that would touch a large population or wide area? These are questions that Danville Regional Foundation (DRF) posed to those within its service area. To turn their ideas into reality, DRF launched its Make It Happen (MIH!) [...]
Living Cities, one of the more impressive foundation collaboratives still in existence, celebrated its 20th anniversary late last month. I was lucky, having been involved tangentially at the birth of Living Cities, when it was emerging from the thinking of a handful of national foundations plus two national community development financial intermediaries, the Enterprise Foundation [...]
Imagine an affordable housing community in America where people live in safe, green living spaces with access to child care, health care, public transit, good schools, and good jobs. A community in which longtime residents mingle with newer ones in an economically diverse neighborhood, and where neighbors meet regularly to solve problems and nurture future [...]
Aging farmers are beginning to will land to community foundations that promise to rent it to local farmers and use the income for projects to improve the community, foundation executives said at conference on rural philanthropy here last week.
“Did you know that Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) can accept gifts of farmland and retain the land [...]
Family, agriculture, small towns, and stories are all near and dear to my heart, so I am enjoying this week’s Rural Philanthropy Conference. During the first session of the Creating and Capturing Philanthropic Resources in Rural Communities track, we heard about Rural Development Philanthropy (RDP). And as rural towns and regions seek to transform their [...]
At the Funders’ Network, we believe shelter should transcend structure and provide a home that offers good life chances and prosperity. We strive for this opportunity to be made available to everyone. Unfortunately, all too often, where people live limits their opportunities and diminishes their prosperity. Generations of chronic disinvestment in low-income communities have [...]