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: The design of this program coupled with the quality of the participants showed it’s possible and even likely that a more established private foundation can stimulate the growth of less established and more local community foundations. The book makes clear how they did it, essentially by incentivizing their community leadership by dangling a meaningful financial match on favorable terms, and offering long-ish term support and assistance.
- For Activists: The concept of community capacity emerged from the experience of participating community foundations. We see it as “the combined influence of a community’s commitment, resources, and skills which can be deployed to build on community strengths and address community problems.” Increasing community capacity should be on the agenda of every community foundation.
- 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. With every site visit, both participants and evaluators 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.
Free download: Building Community Capacity: The Potential of Community Foundations (pdf)
Participating community foundations:
Originally appeared: A publication of Rainbow Research, Inc.
Number of pages: 222 Original date: 1994
Author: Steven E. Mayer, Ph.D.