Council on Foundations Q&A with Ann Sewill, Vice President of Housing & Economic Development, California Community Foundation
Would we be happy if you read about our “Good Deeds” initiative, thought to yourself, “How nice” and then moved on? Not so much.
At a recent gubernatorial candidate forum I attended in Rhode Island, a Brown University professor presented on the challenges of climate change for the Ocean State. His last slide gave three examples of “win-win solutions.” At the top of the list was the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI).
The Community Foundation of Western Nevada embarked upon a resident engagement initiative in 2013 centering on improving the lives of runaway, homeless and aging-out foster youth, ages 12-24.
Sometimes small grants can have surprisingly large effects, and advance your mission with unexpected potency. Case in point: the Northwest Area Foundation made a $50,000 grant to support the work of the Growing Transit Communities partnership in the Central Puget Sound Region. Planners needed funds to analyze areas of opportunity and access in Seattle. They believed the findings could impact housing and transportation projects planned to revitalize low-income neighborhoods through the Sustainable Communities Initiative of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
It can be frustrating to look for useful bits of information on grantees and strong programs inside an agency that produces large amounts of data each and every day. Since its inception two years ago, our Office for International and Philanthropic Innovation (IPI) has fielded a variety of requests from funders seeking alignment on Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grantees, program strategies, and leverage opportunities. Together with our philanthropic partners, HUD and IPI understand that effective collaboration requires transparency, communication, and easy, timely access to information.
I looked down at my phone as it began to ring and I screamed with frustration, “Seriously? Again?!? Don’t they realize that it is 3 p.m. on a Friday?” That was the tagline I was known all too well for when I did housing relocations for tenants. Housing inspectors would notoriously find a home to condemn for unsafe housing conditions, including supporting beams being taken down and illegal sleeping quarters in basements, attics, and even kitchen pantries.