Igniting the Future of Community Foundations

Igniting the Future of Community Foundations
Community foundation leaders hear early survey results from the Igniting the Future of Community Foundations project.
Community foundations are stepping up beyond their traditional grantmaking roles, assuming greater community leadership to help solve some of society’s most vexing challenges.

In 2005, On the Brink of New Promise: the Future of US Community Foundations was published by the Monitor Institute and served as a foundational document for the field. It recommended community foundations make three critical shifts to stay relevant: from institution to the community; from financial assets to long-term leadership; and from competitive independence to coordinated impact. 

Since 2005, we’ve seen the field begin to embrace these shifts and have encouraged community foundations to tap into their community leadership potential. Igniting the Future of Community Foundations examined where the sector is now, where it wants to go, and how it will get there.

In 2019 and 2020, we worked with CF Insights, a product of Candid, to survey the community foundation field. We supplemented these findings with dozens of interviews, highlighting specific illustrations of how community foundation leaders were responding to the challenges facing their communities and adapting to unexpected crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and racial reckoning in 2020.

The Igniting project was led by an Advisory Committee comprised of community foundation leaders from across the U.S., CFLeads staff, and James Davitt Rooney, Principal of Rooney Associates LLC and Senior Fellow at the Boston Foundation.

Visit the Going All In web portal to see the results of this landmark initiative.

Advisory Committee

  • Ivye Allen, Foundation for the Mid South
  • Fred Blackwell, the San Francisco Foundation
  • Clotilde Dedecker, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
  • Helene Gayle, Chicago Community Trust
  • Ellen Gilligan, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Advisory Committee Chair
  • Paul Grogan, The Boston Foundation
  • Doug Kridler, The Columbus Foundation          
  • Tony Mestres, Seattle Foundation
  • Shelly O’Quinn, Innovia Foundation
  • Dick Ober, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
  • Isaiah Oliver, Community Foundation of Greater Flint
  • Pedro Ramos, The Philadelphia Foundation
  • Randy Royster, Albuquerque Community Foundation
  • Ashley Swearingen, Central Valley Community Foundation
  • Steve Seleznow, Arizona Community Foundation

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