Tapping Into the Communities We Serve
Note: This post is an excerpt from an article posted last month at North Carolina State University's Philanthropy Journal and is published here with permission.
When I joined the Robins Foundation in 2014 – which aims to advance the greater Richmond community through strategic partnerships, collaborations and education – the role of director of inclusion and community impact didn’t exist. As the foundation became proactive in the region, our role evolved in responding to our partners’ needs.
In 2017, my position was created to address fairness and equitable access to quality resources. We have a strong interest in investing in programs that enrich whole families and whole neighborhoods, with a particular interest in children and their academic opportunities and success. We have three main principals – partnership, innovation and fairness. It became clear that to achieve this, we needed to take a more intentional approach toward equity and inclusion. One of the ways we do this is by embracing the idea that communities know what they need.
Here’s an example of how this has worked within our foundation. Each year, we hold a $500,000 Community Innovation Grant (CIG) competition. Organizations from all over the Richmond region apply for the grant and propose actionable solutions that have a meaningful and measurable impact. The proposals address complex issues that our region has been wrestling with for generations, including trauma-informed care, the school-to-prison pipeline, housing instability, education, workforce development and health.
Philanthropy Responds to Hurricane Dorian
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations
After battering the Bahamas earlier this week, Hurricane Dorian is now bearing down on the Southeastern coast, bringing dangerous rain, wind and storm surge flooding to the Carolinas.
Current projections show the storm’s effects will be felt most strongly in South Carolina through Thursday night before moving up the coast to North Carolina and Virginia.
Already, several SECF members and partners have activated relief funds that will support recovery once Dorian passes. These include:
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has already announced a webinar for funders interested in supporting recovery efforts in The Bahamas. We will notify SECF members of other programs as they are announced.
SECF is also ready to provide support to any members directly affected by the storm – please contact our offices at (404) 524-0911 to reach our staff.
Youth Organizing Can Be a Powerful Strategy for Funders
Author: Eric Braxton
Part of the power of youth organizing is that it connects individual transformation to systemic change, and supporting youth-led change is an important grantmaking strategy. It brings together the right people with the right strategies to create social change and protects our other investments by cultivating a leadership pipeline for the future. From the Civil Rights Movement to current efforts for safe communities and just schools, young people from across the South have always been at the forefront of advocating for just and equitable communities. Building on this proud tradition, a new generation of Southern young people is leading efforts to advance health, justice, equity and dignity. At the same time, new research is showing that engaging young people in organizing to create lasting change in their communities is one of the best ways to support their development. Youth organizing efforts in the South have succeeded in achieving real change for their communities such as:
The Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing (FCYO), in collaboration with Grantmakers for Southern Progress, The Highlander Research and Education Center, Project South, The Southeastern Council of Foundations, Southern Echo, Inc., Southern Vision Alliance and The United Way of Greater Atlanta is holding a funder briefing on June 4 from 10:00am to 5:00pm at the Loudermilk Conference Center in Atlanta, Georgia, to engage with youth leaders and local and national funders to discuss how to support young people as drivers of community change across the South. We urge funders across the region to join us.
Attendees can expect three takeaways from this interactive day:
An Innovative Approach to Launching and Sustaining Student Success
Author: Karen Lambert
Navigating college for the first time can be daunting, especially when you’re the first from your family to do so.
This notion of firsts is what caught the Peyton Anderson Foundation’s attention when Middle Georgia State University presented plans for the Center to Launch and Sustain Student Success (CLASS).
The proposed 8,000-square-foot Macon campus center will be a key resource in helping prospective, incoming and current students navigate the process of applying to college, securing financial aid, meeting with academic advisors, registering for classes and transitioning into their professional careers, all within one central space.
Middle Georgia State University is Georgia’s most affordable public university. With diverse degree offerings, central locations (five campuses throughout Middle Georgia) and tuition and fees totaling approximately $4,600 a year, the university takes pride in its accessibility for students seeking postsecondary education, especially when they are the first in the family.
Responding to Hurricane Florence
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations
UPDATE (Monday, September 17): After making landfall last week, Florence has continued to bring catastrophic rain and flooding to the Carolinas. SECF has partnered with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy to present a special webinar, Hurricane Florence: What's Next?, at 3:00pm Eastern on Tuesday, September 18. Click here to register!
Within hours, Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall somewhere along the Carolina coast. The Category 2 storm is expected to produce high winds, massive flooding and torrential rains.
Many SECF member foundations, and their staff and trustees, are in areas that have already been evacuated or will be affected by the storm as it moves through the region in the coming days. We are keeping everyone affected by this storm in our thoughts and hope those who have had to leave their communities are able to return home soon. SECF is also ready to support any member organization directly affected by the hurricane.
Many grantmakers are already wondering what they can do to assist with relief and recovery in the wake of Florence. SECF has partnered with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy for a special webinar at 3:00pm Eastern on Tuesday, September 18, on how grantmakers can respond to the storm. Registration is now open at CDP's Hurricane Florence overview page.
Dianne Oliver on the Value of Connection and Supporting Aging Populations
Author: Southeastern Council of Foundations
Editor’s Note: This year, Grantmakers in Aging’s annual conference will come to the Southeast, taking place at Memphis’ legendary Peabody hotel October 17-19. Ahead of this event, we asked Dianne Oliver, executive director of the West End Home Foundation, based in Nashville, for some thoughts on the value of membership associations like SECF and GIA, as well as the importance of supporting aging populations.
What do you find valuable about being a member of SECF? GIA?
The benefits of being a member of SECF and GIA can be captured in three words: relationships, information and community.
Membership in these associations has provided me the opportunity to develop relationships with other grantmaking professionals that I can call on for advice and counsel on issues related to management and governance or issues related to best practices in the field. SECF gives me strong regional connections where I can access incredible information about grantmaking best practices, policy issues and legal issues impacting our industry. GIA has connected me with grantmakers across the country who focus on my specific content area – aging and older adults. Through both organizations I feel part of a philanthropic community that supports and nurtures its members so that we can all achieve greater impact.
Inside Our New Framework for Grantmaking and Learning
Author: Maurice "Mo" Green
For the past two years, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation has been on an exciting, exploratory journey, as we have taken a step back to examine our own work and determine how we can best serve the people of North Carolina moving forward.
One thing we’ve learned is that this process of discovery and reflection will be ongoing and in many ways our learning, and the journey, is just beginning. It is in this spirit of ongoing learning that we recently announced the launch of All For NC: Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation's Framework for Grantmaking and Learning.
Our new framework reflects the foundation’s longstanding commitment to improving the quality of life for all North Carolinians and infuses what we heard during our statewide listening and learning tour about what is critical, and visionary, at this moment in time.
All For NC: ZSR’s Framework for Grantmaking and Learning builds from the strategies of our “emerging direction” and aligns with our mission and core values to:
Helping All Kids Succeed in School and in Life is Possible, and We Have the Tools
Author: Ellen Lehman
If we consider the learning process as an assembly line, our first reaction is to say that the assembly line is broken in high school – after all, that’s where dropouts occur.
But although high school is where the dramatic evidence of the failed system is obvious, that’s not where the break occurs, and therefore, that is not the point at which it can be fixed. By then, it’s too late.
If we move toward the beginning of the assembly line, we find that children unprepared for kindergarten often don’t achieve reading comprehension by the third grade and are, therefore, 90 percent likely to become a dropout.
There is nothing more stifling than a compromised beginning; nothing more tragic than a child whose possibilities are unnecessarily diminished.
Achieving the Dream Through Partnership
Author: Jim McHale
Vince Lombardi once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” This is the mindset we must have in our efforts to improve postsecondary outcomes for underserved students. No one can succeed alone. Because the challenges are many and the resources limited, it is essential to look for every opportunity to partner.
One such partnership opportunity is coming to Mississippi for the first time, supported by a $900,000 grant from the Woodward Hines Education Foundation. Achieving the Dream (ATD) leads a growing network of community colleges committed to helping their students – particularly low-income students and students of color – achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth and economic opportunity. This fall, Coahoma Community College and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) will join more than 220 community colleges serving 4 million students across 40 states in the ATD network.
ATD offers data-driven coaching and training for community college leaders, tapping into national datasets and assessment tools to help colleges benchmark their performance over time. Through their participation in ATD over the four-year funding period, Coahoma and MGCCC will have access to these tools to help them set priorities within seven key capacity areas: Leadership & Vision, Data & Technology, Equity, Teaching & Learning, Engagement & Communication, Strategy & Planning, and Policies & Practices. ATD will coach each college on how to use their own data to inform their actions, from the programs they offer to the policies they enact.
Look to Your Community Foundation in Times of Crisis
Author: Foundant Technologies
This post originally appeared on Exponent Philanthropy’s PhilanthroFiles blog.
Everyone wants to help during a crisis, and, for many, that means giving money. But few understand what it takes to distribute funds to the people, businesses, or nonprofits that will create the greatest impact and fulfill the most need—especially if the money lives in different funds at different organizations.
Enter community foundations, which are inherently good at sharing information and resources. In fact, they do it all the time. Community foundations exist to help others do more with less and find ways to strengthen a community through common resources, ingenuity, and communication.
In the community foundation world, you should never have to ‘reinvent the wheel,’ especially with things like disaster preparedness and recovery. Our community of community foundations is amazing and collaborative.
— Bridget Wilkinson, Executive Director, Bozeman Area Community Foundation