Community Foundations can turn challenges into possibilities

Community Foundations can turn challenges into possibilities

Posted on July 10, 2013 by Pam Truitt

I recently blogged about a session in which governance consultant Sandy Hughes outlined the macro factors impacting community benefit organizations (aka nonprofits). The blog stimulated dialogue from a couple of readers—thank you!

The room was filled with funders, and I noted heads nodding to affirm the list. I don’t know, but I suspect that if the room were filled with CEO’s of CBOs, they would be in agreement. I would also wager that funders and CBOs would agree that Sandy’s list could be viewed as a bit daunting.

The way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. I’ve used this saying a whole bunch of times in my life when a monumental task seems to overwhelm me—and it's appropriate here.

To tackle the big issues, Sandy provided her ‘one bite at a time’ remedies and focused on the role of community foundations in helping to shape possibilities and new realities.

• Building community engagement

• Asset mapping/vital signs/data importance

• Collaboration

• Reframing the questions and grantmaking

• It takes a funder

• Learn from others

• Other ideas?

Why did Sandy lay these possibilities at the feet of community foundations? Let’s start with the obvious—the name: community. Community foundations collect meaningful knowledge by closely working with donors and community benefit organizations. The result, whether they realize it or not, puts them in the in the catbird seat.

Does their perspective make them the defacto organizations to learn and share?

I would love for readers to share their perspectives of the role of community foundations and whether they are rightly suited to take on Sandy’s list. What are the pros and cons?

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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