Building Community Capacity: The Potential of Community Foundations

Here's how to grow your endowment and leadership skills

thumbnail of ECP_BuildingCommunityCapacity

Endorsed as essential reading in the field, this small book summarizes the workings and accomplishments of the Ford/MacArthur Leadership Program for Community Foundations.  The initiative, operated between 1987 and 1993, had many design features key to its successful results. The book details these features and contains lessons for growing community foundations and making them useful to communities.

  • For Grantmakers: One purpose of the initiative was to show more established private foundations how to stimulate the growth of less established and more local community foundations, to help them become more capable leadership institutions.  The book makes clear the successful growth-enabling design features of this program.
  • For Activists: This small book develops the concept of community capacity – the combined influence of a community’s commitment, resources, and skills which can be deployed to build on community strengths and address community problems.
  • For Evaluators: This evaluation inquiry made use of an “organizational capacity building framework” developed by this author and based on his earlier discoveries of growth factors in emerging community foundations – and filled in the framework with data and observations over a five-year period.
  • For Nonprofits: Almost every community in America, and increasingly throughout the world, has a community foundation eager to import project dollars and distribute them in support of local strategic goals.  This book shows how local nonprofits can make themselves attractive to such community-focused grantmaking.

Building Community Capacity: The Potential of Community Foundations (pdf)

Originally appeared:  A publication of Rainbow Research, Inc.

Number of pages: 222    Original date: 1994

Author: Steven E. Mayer, Ph.D.