Community foundations have traditionally helped local donors support local charities.Increasingly, in California and across the country, community foundations are doing more —they are becoming active leaders within their communities.
Since 1995, The James Irvine Foundation has supported seven community foundations in California through the Community Foundations Initiative (CFI). While involved in the initiative, many of these community foundations have become actively engaged in important, sometimes controversial, regional issues. We refer to this role as “community catalyst,” and explaining that role is the focus of this report. By commissioning a broad evaluation of CFI to identify what worked, what didn’t, and why, the Irvine Foundation, along with our seven community partners, learned how to enhance the impact of our philanthropic work. Once we decided to disseminate the evaluation’s findings, we consulted practitioners in the field to determine which topics might be of greatest interest and value. The answer came through loud and clear: community catalyst work. In the pages that follow, you will see that the CFI yielded rich lessons regarding what it means and what is required for community foundations to become agents for positive local change. Community Catalyst tells the story of how four local foundations helped their communities meet challenges and make progress, and it explores what they learned about how to do this important work.
Essay / Document / Paper
Video (These tend to be speeches)
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