Strengthening Communities

Historically, community foundations have worked to create change by making grants to local nonprofits, advocacy groups, and other organizations. But a new breed of funders is showing how, by serving in yet another role, they can foster change that is more comprehensive, more responsive to residents’ needs, and, hopefully, more enduring. This role involves reaching into the very roots of the community to its people, and empowering them.

My journey with community philanthropy began when I accepted we all die. The goal isn’t to live forever. The goal is to create something that will. This is why I have an endowment with my local community foundation and I suggest you consider the same to make a difference in the world; at least your little corner of it.

Immigration reform is a hot topic on the national scene as the 2016 presidential election looms. While no consensus legislation has emerged on Capitol Hill to date, our guests will discuss how funders can play a role in educating policymakers on the impacts of pro and con policies. Get an update on federal Executive Branch actions to implement the President's 2014 Executive Order that focused on cracking down on illegal immigration at the border; deporting felons, not families; and accountability through criminal background checks. Explore what funders can do to promote sensible policies that insure fair treatment of immigrants and their families.

It’s an ever-clear sky today. Just as it was in 2001. And yet ever-clear and jet trails slicing September blue-skies then are now reminders, important ones, of the events of 9/11 and the losses and learnings we have experienced since.

War and tragedy have always brought us together as a people, but we need more regular experiences that foster the understanding that we are in a common enterprise. When the Founders penned the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness, they weren't just talking about an individual right, but a common undertaking that we help one another to achieve.

California's historic drought has us talking about access to water — who gets it, where to store it, how much it should cost — for the first time in 50 years. Many of us have taken water for granted and can use much less. At the same time, empty wells and desperate drilling should remind us how vulnerable many households are. Access to water is a human right, even in a drought.