Addressing this complex challenge requires collaboration and coordination across various sectors, and community foundations have emerged as key anchor entities in facilitating cross-sector partnerships to drive economic mobility.
Economic Mobility Webinar Series: Cross-Sector Collaboration in Buffalo, NY
In response to an increased awareness of the role that community foundations play, CFLeads launched a new economic mobility webinar series, featuring community foundations and partners working to advance economic mobility in their communities.
Our first webinar, Collaborating Across Sectors: The Impacts of Local-level Partnership on Economic Mobility, featured the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and the regional chamber of commerce Buffalo Niagara Partnership. They shared insights into how they work in partnership on a number of economic mobility initiatives in the region, including the Benefits Cliff Calculator.
Collaborating Across Sectors to Meet Local Needs
One of the primary strengths of community foundations is their ability to identify and understand local needs. By conducting extensive research, engaging with community members, and analyzing data, they gain a deep understanding of the economic challenges faced by their communities. Armed with this knowledge, community foundations can effectively bring together diverse partners to collectively address these issues. Cross-sector partnerships are essential in economic mobility work, as no single entity or sector can solve these complex challenges alone.
The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, a community foundation with a focus on improving economic mobility, has played a crucial role in bringing together partners from various sectors to address the city’s economic challenges. Through partnerships with local government, universities, businesses, and nonprofits, the foundation has initiated programs to provide job training, support entrepreneurship, and create opportunities for underserved communities, including the Youth Employment Coalition and Employ Buffalo Niagara.
By leveraging the collective resources and expertise of these partners, the foundation has made substantial progress in understanding how to improve economic mobility in Buffalo.
Bridging Public and Private Sectors
Community foundations can also serve as a bridge between the public and private sectors. The private sector brings valuable resources, expertise, and market-driven perspectives, while the public sector can provide policy support and regulatory frameworks. Community foundations facilitate dialogue and collaboration between these sectors, enabling them to align their efforts, share best practices, and develop innovative initiatives that benefit the entire community.
In collaboration with public and private entities, The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership spearheaded the broad implementation of the Benefits Cliff Calculator, a tool used to educate employers on how their compensation and promotion practices effect low-wage earners. The tool also shows career advisors career paths that lead to greater economic success. Dottie Gallagher, President & CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership explained that Buffalo residents were not taking advantage of opportunity and promotions, which led to employers and workforce intermediaries making assumptions that weren’t true.
We really began to get underneath the “why,” and the “why” was really around the Benefits Cliff.
Dottie shared how the coalition then engaged employers to be part of the solution by using best practices from the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta, who built the Benefits Cliff Calculator. Through their continuous advocacy and effort, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership have proven that collaborating across sectors is crucial in promoting economic mobility in their community.
Community foundations all across the country are uniquely positioned to bring together philanthropy, community development, and civic engagement to support local causes and improve the well-being of their communities. They serve as trusted intermediaries between donors, nonprofits, government agencies, and the private sector, leveraging their local knowledge and networks to foster collaboration and maximize impact. In the realm of economic mobility, community foundations play a central role in convening stakeholders, aligning resources, and catalyzing innovative solutions.
We’re looking forward to highlighting more community foundations and partners that are working to advance economic mobility in their communities. Stay tuned for more information about our next webinar in the economic mobility webinar series!