A classic revived!

Now down-loadable in its entirety, my 1994 classic, the editor’s cut of “Building Community Capacity: The Potential of Community Foundations.”

This book is based on our experience evaluating the performance of 17 community foundations participating in the Ford/MacArthur Leadership Program for Community Foundations, during the years 1987-1995.

I still consider this initiative the best for strengthening the leadership roles and capacities of community foundations.  It was designed to help small and emerging CFs grow their discretionary assets as well as their community leadership skills, and succeeded admirably. The evaluation yielded major insights, still completely applicable.  Chapters are devoted to:

  • the nature and value of community capacity — that mix of community commitment, resources, and skills needed to address community issues;
  • the work of community foundations in the US, and their potential for building community capacity;
  • the four areas of organizational capacity tracked by our evaluation — areas for building organizational strength internally, needed to build up a community’s capacities externally;
  • the strategies used by participating CFs, each starting with $10 million or less in permanent endowment, to meet the demanding challenge of raising $1 million in new discretionary funds in just two years;
  • strategies they used to develop and implement a meaningful leadership initiative in their community — and their interplay with asset development;
  • an analysis of the features of the program that made it so successful — five years’ support, an active assistance and learning agenda, and the selection of good participants, every one of which succeeded grandly, each in its own locally-appropriate way.

Once found on the bookshelf of every community foundation in the U.S., thanks to the generosity of the Ford Foundation, which sponsored the initiative and our evaluation work, and only rarely available on Amazon, this book is now a collector’s item, though I’m pleased to say it still is in the possession of most CFs that I’m in touch with.

Would that the principles of healthy institutional growth and leadership discovered in this initiative were in wider practice, and better supported by private foundations interesting in developing the capacities of community foundations in their territory.

The complete book is now available, free, in a down-loadable PDF, from my Effective Communities website, here.  Admittedly, it’s not a great reproduction, but the best this little office can do at the moment.

Steven E. Mayer, Ph.D. / May 16, 2011