Implementing Lasting Change: Building the Impact of Community

Foundations through Programmatic Initiatives

Allyson Reaves, Diversity Fellow, International Fellows Program ~ 2007


Abstract: Taking as her starting point that devolution has transferred the responsibility of addressing community problems to local agencies, including community foundations, Ms. Reaves argues that community foundations of the 21st century have the unique opportunity to expand the response to community need by undertaking, what she calls, programmatic initiatives.  These initiatives: 1) seek to directly improve conditions; 2) promote innovative, collaborative solutions that address both current and future needs of the community; 3) engage the community in crafting sustainable approaches to important issues; 4) highlight the importance of visionary community leadership in improving lives; and 5) fall outside a community foundation’s normal grant-making.



The author identifies the basic tools necessary to launch and evaluate a programmatic initiative resulting in two products. The first is a paper that defines programmatic initiatives and details three successful models demonstrated by the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry; The New York Community Trust; and Community Foundations of Canada.  The second product is a manual that identifies practices for community foundations wishing to use a proactive strategy in designing, implementing, and sustaining programmatic initiatives.



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