Community-Centered Philanthropy

The Forum for Community Solutions believes strongly in the power of local communities to come together to solve the challenges their own communities face. People know their own communities, and are best positioned to offer solutions. Three examples of our work in this area follow.

Place-Based Initiatives

Place-based initiatives bring necessary resources to local communities. Over the past few years there has been a resurgence of interest by philanthropy in place-based initiatives and efforts. This renewed interest led the Forum for Community Solutions to partner with the Neighborhood Funders Group to host a series of meetings that explored philanthropic practices.

The first meeting, Towards a Better Place: A Conversation about Promising Practice in Place-Based Philanthropy held in September 2014 was intended as a beginning discussion with a diverse learning community of funders to get grounded in discourse on place-based -grantmaking and to share best practices and lessons. The conference report shares these best practices and lessons.

There were follow up meetings in 2015, Is this a Better Place: The Art & Science of Place-Based Evaluation and during September 2016, Towards a More Resilient Place: Promising Practices in Place-Based Philanthropy.

The basis for these convenings was to refine the relationship between philanthropy and community as local efforts continue to expand. 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.

Through our work with Neighborhood Funders Group, we also are launching Philanthropy Forward, which is a new leadership fellowship for CEOs of progressive philanthropic institutions. Learn more about it here.

 

The Forum for Community Solutions believes strongly in the power of local communities to come together to solve the challenges their own communities face. People know their own communities, and are best positioned to offer solutions.

Collective Impact Forum

The Forum for Community Solutions co-convenes with FSG the Collective Impact Forum to support field building around the use of  collective impact, a systems approach to solve complex issues through deep cross system and cross sector community collaboration.  This method enables communities to effectively address their most pressing challenges in society today.

There are five conditions of collective impact:

  • Common Agenda-common understanding of the problem and shared vision to solve it.
  • Shared Measurement-agreeing to track progress ini teh same way, which allows for continuous improvement
  • Mutually Reinforcing Activities-coordinating collective efforts to maximize end results
  • Continuous Communication-building trust and relationships among all participants
  • Backbone Support- Having a team dedicated to orchestrating the work of the group

Through the Forum for Community Solutions’ support of collective impact as a tool for community collaboration, we seek to put a spotlight on community success stories, provide tools and resources, inspire others to act, and take collective impact to the next level.

Opportunity Youth Forum

The Opportunity Youth Forum supports a network of 24 urban, rural, and tribal communities that reach from Seattle to Atlanta, and from Southern Maine to San Francisco. In total, this network works on creating systems-wide and changes in the local community to reconnect opportunity youth to education and employment pathways. A key feature of this network is that it allows each community to find its own unique path forward, operating under the belief that each community knows itself best, and that one size never fits all.  Find out more about the Opportunity Youth Forum here.