“A Mile Wide and an Inch Deep” – A Foundation’s Journey to More Strategic Grantmaking

Sharon Charters, Senior Fellow, International Fellows Program ~ 2010




Hamilton Community Foundation is the first Canadian foundation to commit its unrestricted funding to one issue – poverty.  In this paper, Sharon Charters offers a case study of the foundation’s Tackling Poverty Together (TPT II) initiative.  TPT II was designed to address the “geography of poverty” by providing grants and support to neighborhood hubs established in eight economically impoverished neighborhoods.  The case study provides background on how the foundation reached the decision to focus its grant making and leadership activities in a strategic way to address poverty. 


The paper includes recommendations, both specifically for the Hamilton Community Foundation and for other foundations which may be interested in developing a neighborhood focused granting model. Areas of discussion include the need for organic structure, multilevel strategy, and extensive community organizing.


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