Six Community Foundations, New Brunswick
In New Brunswick, six community foundations are working towards poverty reduction in various ways including developing sustainable strategies in collaboration with the provincial government and community partners. The six community foundations are:
The first phase of the province’s poverty reduction strategy was to conduct meetings all around the province to gather input for a strategy. Community foundations participated in this effort in different ways: some community foundations hosted meetings, some helped to facilitate discussions, and some organized the attendees. They saw their collaborative role in a clear way, and all were very committed to the efforts of poverty-reduction from the very beginning.
The last part of developing the strategy was to finalize a plan of action at the Final Forum in November 2009, by a very diverse audience consisting of cabinet ministers, individuals living in poverty, business leaders, and non-profit leaders including representation from the community foundation movement. The 50 attendees met with the Premier, mapped out what the action plan could be, including setting up local leadership networks in communities. The community foundations are now looking at their potential role in these networks, some having been already created from their work in convening or collaborative efforts.
The Province of New Brunswick recognizes the value of community foundations through their roles in convening, granting, and endowment building. A meeting to discuss the roles took place with the Deputy Minister responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy and members of the community foundation movement in the spring of 2009, and then again after the strategy was developed in January of 2010.
NEXT STEPSOne of the next steps as the strategy rolls out is building and supporting local social and economic inclusion networks across the Province. The poverty-reduction networks that will be developed could foster a strong momentum to address poverty in these communities, aligning their actions with the strategy and priorities of their community. Community foundations can be an important part of these networks at various levels of leadership, depending on their capacity and resources. There is a lot of value in recognizing the strengths that a community foundation has; more importantly, it emphasizes the point that a community foundation can be a leader without necessarily being the lead.
CFC Regional Coordinator
www.vibrantcommunities.ca Vibrant Communities Canada, an action-learning initiative that explores promising local solutions for poverty-reduction, supports the work of 12 communities in Canada, one of which is in New Brunswick, in Saint John.