Spotlight on Community Philanthropy
Spotlight on Community Philanthropy
In an ongoing series, "Spotlight on Community Philanthropy", the Center highlights International Fellows' research on community foundations and activities in the field of community philanthropy around the globe. The series began in 2014 to mark the centennial of The Cleveland Foundation, the worlds's first community foundation.
The New Wave: Creating a place for Millennials in the work of community foundations
Over the past 20 years, Community Foundations across North America and internationally have invested heavily in developing and implementing Youth in Philanthropy programmes and related youth-engagement initiatives. Up to this point in time, the majority engaged have been members of the Millennial generation: those born between 1982 and 2003.
The New Wave examines how, in an era of great generational shifts, reconnecting with program alumni and engaging the Millennial generation more broadly, is beneficial from community strengthening, donor engagement, and grantmaking perspectives.
This position paper documents the history of youth programming at community foundations, with a focus on North American trends. Global initiatives are also discussed. A wide range of existing research on the characteristics of the generation is compiled and highlighted, including: civic-mindedness; the impact of globalization; diversity; intercultural competency; intergenerational transfer of wealth; struggle for financial independence; digital interconnectedness; institutional trust levels; and giving motivations and behaviors. This evolving character profile is applied to the current work of community foundations to build recommendations for creating inclusive, authentic, and relevant platforms for re/engagement with the group.
Recommendations outline the role foundations can play as vehicles for Millennial-specific engagement in a community-strengthening and donor capacity, including: the development of alumni and intergenerational donor engagement strategies; investigating community partnerships for social enterprise; investing in asset-based giving platforms; and adapting technology to encourage democratized philanthropy
Community Philanthropy: The missing link between local communities and international development
This paper is based on the premise that local populations’ engagement in development processes is a key factor to increase chances of long lasting success. In this context, we present collaboration with community philanthropy organizations as a viable strategy for international development organizations to engage civil society in the advancement and sustainability of development goals. This is done by presenting an overview of the development sector, as well as the added-value of community philanthropy. Then practical lessons and challenges are drawn from stories of different community philanthropy and international development organizations that have experience working together.
Partnering with Local Government: Accelerating the achievement of community foundation sustainability
Community foundations are one of the fastest growing forms of philanthropy worldwide, almost doubling in number in the last ten years. However, most community foundations do not achieve sustainability until after seven to ten years and this is a major challenge for the movement.
The aim Mr. Mark Bentley’s research is to identify and test a range of partnership opportunities with local government that might be successful in helping community foundations accelerate the journey to organizational and financial sustainability. The academic literature was reviewed for information on community foundation sustainability and the characteristics of successful and unsuccessful working relationships with local government. Partnership opportunities were identified and then tested in discussions with community foundation leaders worldwide.
The results revealed a clear and consistent group of practical opportunities through which local government could support the start-up and survival of community foundations worldwide, as well as some opportunities that were more context-specific in nature. Whilst highlighting many of the challenges for a community foundation in working more closely with local government, the research proposed a range of strategies that would maximize the potential for successful partnership and mutual benefit.
Australian Community Foundations as Community Voice: Influencing a more responsive and effective allocation of resources
Community foundations inhabit a unique position as the voice of the local community. However, despite relevance to Australian circumstances, such an approach has as of yet remained largely unpursued. In this paper, Emily Fuller explores the international practices of community foundations, arguing that the community philanthropy model offers opportunities to more effectively impact the allocation of government and private resources. Rather than position asset building and community building as mutually exclusive functions of community foundations, Ms. Fuller demonstrates that being a community builder also builds assets.
In order to provide a set of tools and traits for future adaptation to Australian contexts, Ms. Fuller identifies and analyzes five unique roles played by community foundations: starting the hard conversations; keeping a finger on the community pulse; being a champion of local community organisations; being a grantmaking intermediary; and being the first responder. Ultimately, Ms. Fuller concludes, uniting around a common vision and strategy would provide Australian community foundations with a critical first step in realizing their potential, thus capturing the voice of the community, increasing local coordination and accountability, and influencing an improved response to local circumstances.
Community foundations as community voice: Influencing a more locally responsive and effective allocation of resources
The Value of Giving Circles in the Evolution of Community Philanthropy: How community-based philanthropy can be strengthened by forging a bond between community foundations and Black giving circles in the United States
While most communities in the United States are made up of a colorful mosaic of race and ethnicity, age, knowledge, wisdom and experience, its philanthropic institutions are not so diverse. This lack of diversity hampers foundations’ impact on the communities they serve in complex ways. While the sector grapples with issues of diversity, community foundations in particular are faced with the challenge of increasing competition for donations. Meanwhile, more Black Americans are becoming visibly involved in philanthropy, starting foundations and opening donor-advised funds, and a movement has emerged to encourage them to give strategically for long-term systemic change on issues affecting their communities. In this paper, Akira J. Barclay investigates the growing trend of giving circles in the Black community and their relevance to community foundations.
Ms. Barclay explores the challenges facing community foundations today in failing to connect to the growing philanthropy among Blacks in the United States, and she sees an opportunity knocking with the renaissance of collective giving. Studies have shown that community foundations are not well-known or understood in the Black community, their activities are confused with those of public charities, and connections to community foundations are only made through professional advisors or personal experience. Ms. Barclay then profiles three giving circles: The Black Benefactors, in Washington, D.C.; A Legacy of Tradition (A LOT), in Raleigh, NC; and, New Generation of African-American Philanthropy, in Charlotte, NC. Many giving circle members have been born, raised and likely still reside in the community where they are making grants, and these grassroots philanthropists may have a deeper context for community issues and are more knowledgeable about the needs and nuances of the area. Likewise, giving circles are becoming more well-known in Black communities all over the United States because of their responsiveness, influence, impact on pressing issues, and hands-on role in working with grantees, lending technical assistance and building capacity.
Giving circles thus present a unique opportunity for community foundations to make headway in many of the key areas identified for making stronger connections to the Black philanthropic community. These include increased visibility, direct experience with Black professionals and entrepreneurs, relevance and legitimacy in the communities they serve, and trust. Ms. Barclay analyzes the existing challenges to partnerships between community foundations and giving circles, and offers recommendations to community foundations in cultivating relationships with giving circles.
Resilience Rainbow: What role can community foundations play in increasing community resilience
What makes a community resilient?
Understanding the dynamics of a community can help it to best adapt and grow in the face of sudden or sustained challenges, be it a natural disaster or an economic crisis. Interest in community resilience is emerging in civil society, the social sciences, and within government. This paper examines the nature of what makes a strong community, and how community foundations can help increase resiliency in their local areas.
Joanna Bevan forms the initial hypothesis that community foundations which undertake ‘community needs mapping’ are expanding their roles in civil society beyond that of traditional grant maker. She uses selected case studies as a lens to examine community resilience and to look at the role the respective foundations play in these contexts. The author builds a resilience framework with seven elements, which comprise what she calls the ‘Resilience Rainbow’, in order to explore the topic of community resilience. Her paper focuses on case studies – from Canada, the U.S., Brazil, Mexico and Slovakia – of seven community foundations which have recently undertaken ‘community needs mapping’.
In her findings, Ms. Bevan maps the themes of the ‘Resilience Rainbow’ against those emerging from the case studies. The author goes on to analyse the differences in the foundations’ roles and the potential reasons for these. She concludes the paper with a look at why and how certain community foundations’ roles are evolving, with a focus on the ways their work has an impact on the resilience of their local communities.
The Challenge of Sustainability: How German community foundations can strengthen their financial and organizational stability
Since the first community foundation was established in Germany in 1996, community foundations have become the fastest growing form of philanthropic giving in Germany. However, a lack of financial and organizational stability has plagued these foundations.
Using a comparative approach, in this paper Bernadette Hellmann explores how German community philanthropy can better increase their permanent endowments and operating budgets. Hellmann draws on case studies from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The analysis of case studies includes how organizations like the Long Island Community Foundation form long-term partnerships with businesses, governments, and other nonprofits, and how others like the Community Foundation of Ottawa in Canada structure giving policies in order to best build relationships with donors. Hellmann recommends a series of proposals that could help Germany’s community foundations, including greater strategic planning of resources, capacity building of boards of directors, cultivating relationships with donors, and pricing incentives to achieve long-term objectives.