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. We aim to make the most of this momentum by offering a fresh and informed perspective on it and encouraging community foundations to expand and accelerate their community leadership to strengthen local outcomes.

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 will examine where the sector is now, where it wants to go, and how it will get there, highlighting compelling illustrations of leadership, dynamic tensions, and a vision and pathways toward it. 

Through an iterative and inclusive process, we are working with CF Insights, a product of Candid, in surveying the field. Supplemental research will cast survey findings in sharper relief by surfacing dynamic tensions and promising resolutions that community foundations are pursuing to strengthen local outcomes. All of this will help to inform a vision for the sector going forward in building healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities in which all can prosper. 

Igniting is led by an Advisory Committee comprised of community foundation leaders from across the US whom we thank for their continued input, insights, and leadership. James Davitt Rooney, Principal of Rooney Associates LLC and Senior Fellow at the Boston Foundation, is leading this project for CFLeads. 

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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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