Strengthening Communities

Youth and young adults are engaging with each other and their communities in many different and new ways that affect their philanthropic activities. Both formal and informal structures to support youth and young adult philanthropy are now emerging, building on the long tradition of youth philanthropy in the community foundation field. Many community philanthropic organizations are working with young people to help them become more engaged with their communities, but are not aware of the innovative work going on in other countries. Identifying the most promising practices can give insight to community foundations and community philanthropic organizations as they look to expand their work with young people.

The Richmond Community Foundation began, in 2002, what was to become its largest community initiative: The Nystrom United Revitalization Effort (NURVE). The Foundation began to convene Richmond, California community residents and stakeholders through focus groups, surveys and planning charrettes to develop a vision for the Nystrom community, considered at the time one of the most violent communities in the United States.

Telluride, Colorado is an American success story and one of those communities that re-invented itself from its historical mining origins to snow skiing mecca and destination tourism spot. Telluride is successful, and the Telluride Foundation is a central player in the life and promise of Telluride.

“Dream big.” That’s Ivye Allen’s philosophy when it comes to securing funding and support for local community efforts aimed at enhancing education, health care and other community needs. As President of the Foundation for the Mid South, Allen has employed that aspirational approach to help generate significant state and federal funding for a range of local programs and initiatives.

How can we engage older residents while tapping their expertise? In 2006, The New York Community Trust responded to an invitation from Atlantic Philanthropies offering challenge to get people over 60 involved as they improve life for everyone in their communities. Atlantic’s effort, called the Community Experience Partnership, used this tagline: “in the 60s they changed the world, in their 60s they might do it again.”

Today, over 30 philanthropic organizations and corporations announced pledges totaling more than $170 million over the next five years to support veterans and military families. The Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact Pledge was announced today by Joining Forces and a coalition of leading foundations at an event hosted by the American Red Cross, Council on Foundations, and the White Oak Summit Steering Committee. The Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact Pledge - initiated by Blue Shield of California Foundation, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, the Lincoln Community Foundation, and the McCormick Foundation - creates a community of funders and builds momentum for programs that will support service members, veterans and their families, in local communities as the country draws down from twelve years of war.

The proudest moment of Ruben Garcia’s life was when he watched his first child graduate from Boulder High School last spring. The father of three and his wife know how much it took for their son to reach the important milestone. They will tell you that their work with him started before preschool.