Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Local philanthropy: Humboldt County, California-style

“[I]f you do not build on what you have as a community, outside experts and outside resources are unlikely to make any practical difference. When the bedrock experience, cultural orientation, and skills needed to confront a barrier emerges from an engaged community, the odds of philanthropic support making a dynamic difference increase dramatically.”
So says a recent report from the Kettering Foundation entitled “Philanthropy and the Regeneration of Community Democracy.” Peter Pennekamp, who for 19 years led the Humboldt Area Foundation in northern California and served for a time as vice president of National Public Radio, is the author of the report along with philanthropic consultant Anne Focke. Pennekamp and Focke take on the tendency of foundations to come into communities and set up programs as if the community was a kind of project. In contrast, they argue that philanthropic investment in communities is best done in deference to local wisdom, institutions, and people. Foundations should get involved in communities, rather than trying to get communities involved in foundation initiatives.

Read more at Philanthropy Daily here