Donor Engagement

At the Council on Foundations Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., some funders were expressing a move toward a new way of doing business with their grantees. Accountability has long been a theme in grantmaking. It has traditionally been top-down – foundations being held accountable to the people whose money they are spending and grantees being held accountable to the foundations.

Imagine this: a well-intended, charitably-inclined person of wealth creates a trust in the year 1514. This generous benefactor, deeply committed to an altruistic objective, funds the philanthropic cause without a sunset provision; thus, by default, potentially in perpetuity.

Silicon Valley Community Foundation is in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, close to the campuses of companies like Google, Facebook and Apple. Companies like these have made the region a leader in the global economy and a hub of innovation. The Bay Area is home to a diverse population of more than 7 million people, a number expected to grow by 2 million by 2040. Where will these people live and work? What impact will they have on our air, water, open space, traffic and climate?

It’s tough running schools in rural Missouri. Tight budgets, strained resources, and dwindling state and federal funding all conspire against students in the Ozarks region, which is designated by the United States Department of Agriculture as an area of “persistent poverty.”

The Community Foundations of Canada’s Vital Signs is an annual community check-up, conducted by community foundations across Canada – and now around the world – that uses data to measure the vitality of our communities. The effort started in the late 1990s at the Toronto Community Foundation (TCF). The Council’s Christopher Goett, caught up with Rahul K. Bhardwaj, President & CEO, Toronto Community Foundation, to discuss TCF’s Vital Signs initiative as part of The Council’s #CF100 series.

The Lincoln Community Foundation, along with leaders of Lincoln’s largest public and private charitable organizations, city and county officials, and the business community worked together for two years to develop Lincoln Vital Signs. The report was just released in January. The study, which was assembled by the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, is based on existing research and data related to the following areas: Community Profile, Economy and Workforce, Basic Needs, Education, Health, Safety and Community Involvement

It’s amazing what generous people will do when they understand a community issue and see a way to help solve it. But many times, the roadblock to getting started is that people don’t really understand the problem or even realize there is one.