Strengthening Communities

“Los Angeles: America, Only Sooner” John Deasy, our dynamic new superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), recently used that phrase to describe Los Angeles at a recent convening of funders.

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.

One year ago today the Danville Regional Foundation launched "Make It Happen!" with the goal of creating “bright spots” in the community based on the ideas of every day citizens. Rather than people just complaining about problems in the community, they now have an opportunity to create change. Another difference maker by a Council member.

According to research by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, there is a correlation between residents’ attachment to community and economic growth, and the Centre County region showed the most attachment among the areas studied. Erin Rowley blogs today about how the Centre County Community Foundation is using this information to the community’s benefit.

Carol Thompson Cole, president and CEO of Venture Philanthropy Partners, offers a blog about how having data and information is essential to mobilizing a call to action on an issue, but even more important is how the research is used if a difference is to be made.