As place-based efforts continue to expand, the relationship between philanthropy and community must evolve and change. For community change efforts to be successful, the people who live there must be central to the design and implementation because place is about the people who live and ultimately thrive there. The time is ripe to rethink the role of funders and in supporting community resilience and cohesion as a part of community power building.

On September 19-21, 2016, the Neighborhood Funders Group and the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions hosted a three-day funders’ convening on place-based philanthropy. This gathering in Aspen, Colorado, provided an in-depth exploration of best practices for philanthropy’s role in improving the well-being of people and communities.

This convening was a space for local, regional and national funders to have the opportunity to learn about practices, policies and models for working in a collaborative way to grow funders and community organizations that work on the ground, with learnings from past successes and failures of funder peers. We sought to gather a broad range of perspectives to foster a learning exchange regarding behaviors, content, and practices that make community change efforts more productive and collaborative.

Together we continue to develop our learning community and agenda to explore community change and growth. As a part of next steps, we discussed where to next take the conversation. What will it take to transform the power paradigm between grantees and funders for efforts supporting resident engagement? What does a “successful community” look like, using the resiliency frame? What does it look like when a community makes that transition? What are the qualities?

Conference Reflections

  • Dennis Quirin, President of Neighborhood Funders Group, and Steve Patrick, Executive Director and Vice President of the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions, share their top takeaways from the convening.
  • Angela Brown, Director of Programs at The Hyams Foundation, reflects on the variety of grantmaking approaches in the field and the importance of working with communities on long-term strategies.
  • Raquel Gutierrez, Director of Strategic Learning & Practice at Vitalyst Health Foundation, reflects on where the culture in foundations needs to evolve to match developments in the field.
  • Dawn Phillips, Executive Director of the Right to the City Alliance and Program Director of Causa Justa :: Just Cause, outlines an agenda for place-based change that acknowledges our past and looks to local solutions to guide the future.
  • Simran Noor, Vice President of Policy & Programs at Center for Social Inclusion, shares three lessons that funders should build on to support sustainable community change.
  • Lisa Ranghelli, Senior Director of Assessment and Special Projects at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), explores the concept of resilience and the need for philanthropy to embrace critical community feedback.

Conference Videos

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Conference Program

Towards a More Resilient Place Program

Convening Sponsors

We would like to thank our sponsors for their generous support:


Additional support provided by: