And the winner of the first Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize is …

It is with great pleasure and pride that we can now announce the first winners of the Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize: Jane Weru and Kingsley Mucheke of the Akiba Mashinani Trust, Kenya. We have chosen 15 April to make this announcement because it was Olga’s birthday.

In choosing Jane Weru and Kingsley Mucheke, the judges felt strongly that ‘they represented best the full range of the award’s purposes, that is, that they, in the words of the award criteria, demonstrated remarkable leadership, creativity and results in developing philanthropy for progressive social change in an emerging market country or countries.

Olga Alexeeva, who died suddenly in July 2011

The judges were all impressed by the explicit focus of Jane and Kingsley on the most marginalized community in Kenya – landless slum dwellers – and by the way they have developed a philanthropic mechanism to support transformational efforts by that community.

“In terms of potential to transform realities, their work strikes me the most,” commented one judge.

‘They seem to have found a truly innovative way to tackle systemic and behavioral challenges, and created a model that generates amazing impact which combines sustainability and scale,’ said another.

Just as we found creating a shortlist a hard task, so our judges noted ‘the difficulty of making a decision among such an impressive set of finalists who represent very different contexts for the development of philanthropy. All of the finalists have made substantial contributions in their respective countries and have done so in very different ways.  They all deserve recognition for their important contributions.’ They explicitly congratulated the other finalists for their leadership and dedication.

Kingsley Mucheke

Jane Weru

We too would like to congratulate Jane and Kingsley and the other finalists as well. Each one of them would have made a worthy winner. If you haven’t already done so, you can read all about their achievements in a special Alliance supplement.

The prize will be presented at the International Forum on Emerging Markets, Emerging Philanthropies in Peterhof, Russia at the beginning of July. The winners will give a lecture and all the finalists will be present.

We can also announce the winner of the Alliance online poll: Nguyen Tran Hoang Anh of Vietnam’s LIN Center was the runaway winner – a clear demonstration of her great skill in reaching out to the Center’s supporters. Thank you to everyone who voted.

Finally, we’d like to thank our judges for their dedication and hard work:

  • Akwasi Aidoo, TrustAfrica, Senegal
  • Ana Valeria Araujo, Brazil Human Rights Fund, Brazil
  • Shenyu Belsky, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, China
  • Christopher Harris, Philanthropy Consultant, US
  • Kavita Ramdas, Ford Foundation, India
  • Larisa Zelkova, Potanin Foundation, Russia

In a few months’ time we will be launching the second Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize, so watch this space!

Maria Chertok, CAF Russia
Caroline Hartnell, Alliance
Jenny Hodgson, Global Fund for Community Foundations

Call for applications for joint action research pilot to map community philanthropy institutions’ work on the environment!

The GFCF is looking to engage a global cohort of community foundations and community philanthropy organizations in a joint mapping exercise to explore their work in issues related to their local environment

This call for submissions is only open to organizations that define themselves as community foundations, community philanthropy institutions, grassroots grantmakers and other types of local fundraising / grantmaking institutions. NGOs which implement programmes directly are not eligible to participate. (Find out more about selection criteria and FAQs)

Guidelines for this initiative can be downloaded here.

Deadline for submissions is May 20th 2013.

 

Moving forward with a Haiti community foundation: Q & A with Marie-Rose Romain Murphy

The GFCF spoke to Marie-Rose Romain Murphy, director of ESPWA, about efforts to establish a community foundation initiative in Haiti

The Haiti Community Foundation Initiative has been gathering steam over the past 12 months. Who is involved in the Steering Committee and what brings them together as a group? Why is a community foundation in Haiti needed, do you think?

The Steering Committee is composed of visionaries and connectors.  It is very diverse as it includes mostly Haiti-based business leaders involved in civil society, educators, civil society activists, religious leaders as well Haitian-American community development leaders.  What brings the members of the group together is their ability to think about the collective good and a profound desire to build a better future for Haiti.  Our team has a genuine desire to help move the country forward.  It’s refreshing!

As far as why is a community foundation needed in Haiti… I can tell you that there isn’t a country that has needed one more than Haiti for many reasons.  Reason number one: traditional economic strategies and traditional international development strategies have failed in Haiti.  Our development process has not involved our communities in the formulation of our development agenda which is very much controlled by international stakeholders.  We have grown increasingly dependent on foreign aid and on cash transfers from our Diaspora.  Reason number two: historically, our society has been deeply divided in terms of class, skin color, politics and religion.  Respected business and civil society leaders will tell you that these divisions are really the root cause of the poor state of affairs in our country.  The Haiti Community Foundation Initiative has been systematically bringing leaders from different sectors and various backgrounds together to work on the development of the foundation.  We are also working on models (regional planning processes) which work with community leaders on setting up their communities’ development agenda.  I also believe that a Haiti-based, Haiti-led, Haiti-beneficial Community Foundation focused on long-term planning, capacity-building, asset development and philanthropy is something that Haiti would really benefit from, as a vehicle for promoting sustainable development and civic engagement.

From your consultations with various communities in Haiti where you and others have presented the community foundation concept, what has the response been? What do people like about the idea that such a structure could be set up in Haiti? And what kinds of concerns have they raised?

ESPWA thought about focusing on the development of a Haiti Community Foundation after conducting dozens of consultations with communities and community leaders from all sectors.  Money was not the first issue on leaders’ mind when it came to challenges related to Haiti’s development; the lack of control and the need for technical assistance and support were.  When we started talking about the community foundation model and its use in Global South countries like Kenya, Mozambique, Brazil, Puerto Rico and Mexico, people loved it.  They welcomed the idea of a bottom-up process, community-led and community-defined process, conducted with respect and dignity, and focused on inclusivity and fairness.  The concerns that are often raised are related to one’s “real capacity” to build and operate a structure which promotes openness, inclusiveness, transparency and accountability.  We are trying to make sure that we live the principles that guide us and that the structures that we establish ward off corruption, exclusiveness, and what we call a system of “moun pa” a Creole expression which means  “your own people” (keeping to you own circle which keeps other people out).

Cacao in Sogepa, Haiti

What do you think it will take for Haitians to give to a Haiti Community Foundation, particularly when there has been so much international money poured into Haiti? What is the proposition that would make a Haiti Community Foundation initiative attractive to Haitians to give?

Haitians want to see effective action driven by commitment, passion and integrity. They also want to see genuine and respected local leadership endorsing the Initiative and working on it.  There is a lot of “talk” and not enough “on the ground action” taking place in Haiti.   We’ve been researched to death.  People talk about us and to us endlessly.  Conferences abound but don’t generate enough meaningful projects which engage Haitians. The Center for Global Development recently produced a report that stated that only 0.6 of the funds raised for Haiti for the past three years went directly to Haitian businesses and Haitian organizations.  It’s outrageous and destructive.   What this figure means is a world of missed opportunities in terms of leadership development, capacity-building and culturally appropriate interventions.

At all levels of our society, we have been mobilizing leaders who are either working hard with us at the community level and/or harbouring great hopes for a better model of development for our country.  The proposition of a solid, transparent and effective Haiti-based, Haiti-led and Haiti-beneficial institution is what will make Haitians give.  However, it is important to note that institutional philanthropy is not developed in Haiti.  Building it will take time, resources, energy and trust.

It seems that a lot of the discussions around development in Haiti often don’t seem to extend far beyond the capital, Port au Prince? How are you and the rest of the steering committee thinking about a structure that would avoid a concentration of resources (and power) in Port au Prince?

We are looking at a national foundation model which will encompass and support decentralized regional funds.  Ideally, the regional funds will be managed by regional committees which will hold the “power” as far as setting the priorities for their region, managing the funds and… raising the funds. 

Anse d’Azur Forum, Haiti

There is a big Haitian Diaspora in the United States which could be an enormous asset to a community foundation in Haiti, particularly in terms of potential resource mobilization, but this is a community foundation in Haiti that we are talking about. How is the steering committee thinking about the role of the Diaspora at this stage – i.e. as a resource to be harnessed while ensuring that the institution remains very grounded in the local Haitian context?

The Haitian Diaspora in the United States, Canada, Europe and elsewhere is very connected to Haiti.  And yes, they could be and, I believe that will be an enormous asset.  We are reaching out to Diaspora groups and associations to partner with them.  The reality is that we, Haitians tend to be very connected to “home regions” or communities whether we live outside the country, live in it or… come back to it.  It is a huge asset which has not been fully leveraged.  The bottom-up process and the community-driven planning process will ensure that HCF remains very grounded in the local Haitian context.  We will also need to be vigilant when it comes to that and be clear about what we won’t do as well as what we will do.

The global community foundation is vibrant but still quite small in numbers in many parts of the world. Where has the steering committee been looking to for advice, possible models and structures? And finally, if people are interested in finding out more about the initiative or even getting involved, how should they get in touch?

We are talking to a number of Foundations such as the Nebraska Community Foundation (which has developed a very interesting system of devolved or affiliate funds) and the Kenya Community Foundation to discuss their experience in details and learn from them.  Our group is also planning a visit to Kenya for an intensive learning experience with the Kenya Community Development Foundation, a friend and supporter of HCFI.   We are also talking to foundations such as the Brazil Foundation to learn about their successful engagement of their Diaspora.  And on Haiti’s doorstep, of course, we also have the Puerto Rico Community Foundation, with over 25 years of experience from which we can learn.  We draw much strength from our growing network of partners, and collaboration is one of our core values as it is essential to meaningful impact.

Where are now? We are working on a pilot program in the Grande Anse, Haiti’s bread bowl and last green reserve- which is very much endangered.  We have an amazing Working Group which has been working relentlessly on a regional planning process in the Grande Anse.  Strategically, we are working on raising funds for the planning and development of the Haiti Community Foundation.  We will also need operations and endowment funds.  Interested people should not hesitate to contact us at info@espwa-haiti.org.  The national motto of Haiti is “L ‘union fait la force”.  Unity begets strength. And, yes, only together will we be able to build a better future for Haiti.

The GFCF made a grant to the Puerto Rico Community Foundation and Espwa in 2011 for an exploratory round table discussion that took place in Haiti in July 2011. It also provided support with facilitation and organization of a follow-up workshop in early 2012.

 

News from the field: Growing social justice philanthropy, weaving strong communities in the Arab Region and a new blog on community driven development from Amazon Partnerships

“How can we grow the practice of philanthropy for social justice and peace?” asks a new report from the Philanthropy for Social Justice for Peace Network. The report draws on interviews with a 24 philanthropy practitioners from different parts of the world and data collected from a survey of many more. “You’ll hear a fascinating and at times provocative array of answers, reflections and further questions. Some talk about the relationship between social justice and economic development. Others call for a greater emphasis on indigenous philanthropy. Some speak to what is common among practitioners of social justice philanthropy, while others discuss geographic differences. Risk emerges as a key obstacle, networking as a key opportunity”.

Read the report  How Can we Grow the Work?

———————–

A new report from Naseej Foundation (a GFCF grantee in 2012) tells the story of the organization’s 8-year journey to establish itself as a catalyst for and promoter of youth civic engagement in communities across the Arab region. Naseej (its name translates as “the act of weaving”) was established in 2005 as the joint initiative of the Ford Foundation and Save the Children, with the objective of making grants to respond to the growing needs of youth and communities in the region. Over the years, it has used grantmaking, as well as other asset-based tools to “weave” an integrated approach to community youth development. At the heart of its work lies Naseej’s believe that the young people and communities all have capacities, strengths and rights that external agencies must acknowledge and build upon if their interventions are to be sustainable in the long term. According to one of its supporters, “Most of the time, when NGOs plan and run programmes, they work in one area: something that is very artificial and one-dimensional. In fact, it is the very opposite of how life works with everything connected to, touching and reacting to everything else… Naseej, the act of weaving, is a human ecosystem, connecting all parts, working song, art, drama, economic and social development, giving young people tools and confidence to imagine, plan and create their futures.”

Read the report, Weaving our Fabric in the Arab World

———————

Another GFCF partner, Amazon Partnerships Foundation, has launched a new blog on community-driven development. From 2008 to 2012, the Amazon Partnerships Foundation collaborated with indigenous Kichwa communities in Napo Province, Ecuador on a local grant-making model aimed at supporting local initiative and local leadership. Using its Community Self-Development Methodology, APF provided small grants for projects designed and implemented by communities, as well as grassroots training to help them develop project management skills and define and advocate for their vision of sustainable development.

In 2013, APF is redirecting their efforts from on-the-ground community work to knowledge sharing. “Eager to join the growing global conversation about the need for community-driven development as a more successful alternative to conventional top-down approaches, we launched Amazon Partnerships Online, which offers stories, data, resources, and fresh perspectives to support communities’ power to define their future…This exciting new phase for Amazon Partnerships arises out of our core belief, which has developed through several years of on-the-ground collaboration: communities, not funders or other outsiders, must be the drivers of their own development and offer the greatest hope for a vibrant, healthy future for people and our planet. Through our blog of international contributors, our materials, and links to other outstanding organizations and thought leaders, we aim to help connect grassroots leaders, funders, volunteers, aid workers, and others to good ideas and inspiring strategies from around the world.”

Visit the Amazon Partnerships blog and find out how to join the conversation.

 

Small grants make big differences globally: Mott Foundation profiles GFCF

The Mott Foundation has been one of the GFCF’s biggest supporters since the Fund was established in 2006. For more than three decades Mott has funded organizations, initially in the U.S. and now globally, that help develop and strengthen the community foundation field.

As part of an occasional series about the community foundation field and the Mott Foundation’s role in supporting and strengthening it, Mott highlights the work of the GFCF and its partners around the world in a new slideshow. The series reports on what is occurring in Mott’s major geographic focus areas — Central/Eastern Europe and Russia, South Africa, and the U.S. — as well as providing information about how the field is expanding globally. Mott’s goal is to inform the public about the latest trends in the community foundation field in advance of its 100th anniversary year in 2014.

See the slideshow

 

 

Community philanthropy in emerging markets: building something new for the future

Dramatic shifts in the political and economic landscape of many low and middle- income countries in recent years have resulted in the emergence of a new class of wealthy individuals. This has led to a rapid growth in private and family foundations in many emerging markets. But the benefits of economic liberalization have not always resulted in an equal distribution of wealth, and income disparities have only been exacerbated by the global economic crisis. As social and economic inequality increase, welfare systems are cut and the effects of climate change begin to make themselves felt, poor communities are increasingly finding themselves under pressure. Against this backdrop, a new breed of community philanthropy institutions is emerging. (It is perhaps no coincidence that three of the finalists for the Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize are from the community philanthropy field.)

The phenomenon is global and the institutions diverse in shape and size: community foundations, women’s funds, giving circles and other community grantmakers. Growth has been particularly marked in emerging market economies. ICom, a community foundation in southern Brazil, was established to address growing inequalities in the city of Florianopolis, while the Waqfeyat al Maadi Community Foundation in Egypt seeks to promote community development through the revival and modernization of the Islamic philanthropic practice of waqf. And in Vietnam, the LIN Center (one of whose founders, Nguyen Tran Hoang Anh, is a finalist for the Olga prize) has done much to foster giving for social causes among young middle class professionals as a strategy for strengthening social cohesion in Ho Chi Minh City.

NGO networking event, LIN Center

Building on existing traditions of solidarity
Of course, the concept of community philanthropy is not new. Every country and culture has its own traditions of giving and social solidarity between family, friends and neighbours, whether it is the tradition of burial societies in Africa or hometown associations in Mexico. Community philanthropy has consistently saved and improved people’s lives; where the state lacks the resources or simply the will to provide for its citizens, it has often been the only safety net available. However, while the value of these forms of giving is well understood by those who benefit from them, they tend to be overlooked as marginal and unstrategic by the formal development sector. What is significant about many of these institutions is the way in which they are embedding and adapting existing cultures of giving in their own operation and organization. Two other prize finalists from Kenya, for example, have been behind a new fund which seeks to build philanthropy from the roots of mutual aid in an urban slum.

In our recent report, A Different Kind of Wealth, which provides a baseline study of the emerging community philanthropy field in Africa, Barry Knight and I noted a number of features that distinguish this set of institutions from other parts of civil society. Although this report was specific to Africa, these features can also be applied to many low and middle-income countries. First, they are seeking to draw on local resources and assets, not just as a strategy for funding but also in the belief that development outcomes are more lasting when people have invested in their own development. Second, they are looking to build bridges at many levels, whether between external forms of development support and more local mobilization of communities and their assets, or within different parts of communities, usually by directing the resources they raise to community organizations through small grants. Third, although many of them are small in terms of money they are rich in terms of social capital and trust-based relationships.

Challenging the conventions of mainstream development
A number of factors may explain the recent growth of the field (an average of 70 community foundations, for example, have been established each year for the last decade). Reductions in international aid flows generally, and donor exits from various middle income countries (like DFID’s planned withdrawal from India in 2015), are certainly one factor. As this trend continues, local donors will increasingly be called upon to fill the funding gaps and they will need mechanisms through which to give.

But community philanthropy is not just emerging in response to changing funding patterns. Either implicitly or explicitly, it is also challenging many of the conventions of mainstream development with its issue-based silos, short-term project horizons and upward accountability to external donors, choosing instead to take more holistic, long-term and flexible approaches which can develop community resilience and social cohesion.

Repairing relationships
Community foundations are also filling new spaces opened by the overhaul of state, private sector and civil society relationships which many emerging markets countries have undergone in recent years. The transition from a communist system to a free market democracy in Russia, for example, created new wealth and new freedoms but also produced new kinds of poverty, inequality and distrust. The dramatic retreat of the state, for so long the sole provider, created new expectations of the private sector in the form of corporate philanthropy. Community foundations, the first of which was in Togliatti (whose founder Boris Tsyrulnikov is another prize finalist), emerged as a response, a mechanism that could smooth the mistrustful relationships between those with money and those looking for it. By advising new local donors and managing their funds, community foundations could ease the flow of charitable monies and ensure they were used effectively. And because they were working equally with donors and local groups they were also uniquely placed to foster new kinds of community interaction with new tools like grantmaking. The fact that there are now over 40 community foundations across Russia shows clearly how their introduction to the country in the late 1990s answered a need for new types of bridging or facilitating institutions in the post-communist context. Indeed, in many parts of Russia where independent civil society is still very weak community foundations may offer almost the only spaces for voluntary action.

Meanwhile, in Turkey, TUSEV is currently leading efforts to generate interest in the community foundation concept among a range of different stakeholders (Turkey has one community foundation, established with support from a member of the Turkish diaspora in the US). Many of the right ingredients are in place: there is local money, a rich tradition of mutual support, a growing philanthropic sector and an active civil society. Conversely, much philanthropic giving is one-off, in-kind and unstrategic. When they give, most people prefer to bypass organizations altogether and give directly, while local NGOs struggle to raise local money and there are few tax incentives for giving. Underpinning all of this, however, are much larger concerns about current strains on the notion of ‘community’ in Turkey, in both urban and rural areas, as the country finds itself pulled increasingly in different directions along religious, ethnic, class and political lines.

The notion of an organization that seeks to build trust among people in a community and, by doing so, can strengthen it, is an important one, not least in emerging market countries where public trust is often low because of weak institutions or a history of conflict or division.

Agents and brokers
In practical terms, community philanthropy institutions also have much to offer local donors in these countries, offering economies of scale in their grantmaking and a cost-effective mechanism for managing and monitoring funds. Pooled multi-donor funds can help foster a culture of collaboration and they can also reduce risks (and on tricky social justice type issues which might not find favour with authorities, there may be also safety in numbers). More importantly, they can also provide a direct line to communities. As social inequalities grow, so do the cracks within communities. A wealthy individual may end up far removed from the problems of an urban slum in his or her community and their views may be ill-informed or even paternalistic. Small grants to community groups through a community foundation can offer a way of opening up a conversation with different parts of the community and bringing different perspectives to the table.

ICom, Brazil

So much in philanthropy and development is big – big ambitions, big budgets and big numbers. For their part, community philanthropy organizations around the world offer modest and yet crucially important platforms for engagement and participation, working at the intersections between public, private and civil society sectors and maximizing what they have to offer. Perhaps most importantly, they offer a meeting point where numerous expressions of giving, responsibility and solidarity can come together and move forward in a progressive and inclusive way. In the words of one of our partners in Romania, ‘Community foundations are working from the bottom up; our focus is not about fixing what’s broken but about building something new for the future.’

Jenny Hodgson is executive director of the Global Fund for Community Foundations

This article was first published in Alliance magazine, March 2013. To download the article as it was published, click here.

“Currency of giving goes beyond the dollar, rand and euro”

  • The answers to local problems often lie within the community itself, says the executive director of the Community Development Foundation Western Cape.
  • Knowing how to tap into residents’ interests and energy, and also change mindsets, are characteristics of an effective community leader.

The familiar phrase that starts fairytales worldwide — “once upon a time” — also triggered the development of a sustainable food programme in South Africa.

Beulah Fredericks, executive director of the Cape Town-based Community Development Foundation Western Cape (CDF WCape), smiles when she recalls how the project started.

After a local community-based organization in one of Cape Town’s townships applied for a $50 grant to cover one month’s operating expenses for a soup kitchen that feeds the poor, Fredericks visited the site, listened to their stories, engaged in conversation and then declined the request.

“A soup kitchen is an obvious solution,” Fredericks told the group.

“But after listening to your stories, I see you are a community that has it in you to move beyond the soup. We cannot give you $50 to buy food for the soup kitchen because next month you will be hungry again and ask for another $50. Why not start a community garden instead?”

Fredericks’ rejection did not prompt disappointment; it inspired local residents.

Beulah Fredericks

One person replied, “Once upon a time we grew our own vegetables right here in our own community.” That simple reminiscence was all it took for the vision to catch on — plus a $600 grant from CDF WCape to build two greenhouses in which to grow the produce.

That was five years ago. Today, the region boasts multiple community gardens that supply more than enough vegetables for the local soup kitchen and school lunches. Surplus food is sold to generate funds for student scholarships. One student’s grandfather receives a stipend from CDF WCape to oversee the gardens, which are located on school grounds. Additionally, students of all ages, even preschoolers, are tending their own family gardens.

Community foundation leaders — locally, nationally and globally — point to projects such as the community gardens as evidence of Fredericks’ ability to see beyond the horizon in pursuit of positive and long-lasting societal changes.

Instead of funding a soup kitchen, she engaged and empowered local residents of all ages to meet their own needs, says Jenny Hodgson, executive director of the Global Fund for Community Foundations, based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“Beulah brings an extraordinary level of energy and creativity to her work in the Cape Flats,” Hodgson said. “This is enormously important in the communities where the foundation operates — because apathy, hopelessness and despair are often the order of the day.”

Along with CDF WCape’s board and staff, Hodgson says, Fredericks is building an organization that offers opportunities for local people to engage in their own development. Whether it is involving youth in a project linking photography with South Africa’s Bill of Rights, she says, or working with a specific community to overcome barriers and divisions so residents can establish their own community fund, Fredericks’ goal is often the same.

“Beulah has sought both to change mindsets and to tap into local energies, interests and assets that may have lain latent or been disregarded by others,” Hodgson said.

She also praises Fredericks for voluntarily serving as both teacher and pupil in a global network of community development partners.

Fredericks, who prefers the term “community philanthropy” to “community foundation” to describe the grantmaking organization she heads, laughs when people call CDF WCape a field leader.

“If you want to look at us as a community foundation, you can do that,” she said, “but you won’t see us operating in the traditional way.” [Read more about community foundations in South Africa.]

Fredericks’ ability to see things from an alternative perspective and do things differently earned her recognition in 2005 as one of 144 Synergos Senior Fellows from more than 50 countries. One of the many qualities that distinguish these fellows, according to Synergos, is that they “possess a compelling vision about solving complex, systemic problems of poverty, inequity and social injustice.”

CDF WCape strives to involve youth in helping shape the future of their community

The Mott Foundation funds CDF WCape’s work through its Civil Society program, providing five general-purposes grants totaling $400,000, since 1991. By supporting the organization’s work, Mott aims to strengthen its efforts to encourage local giving through a variety of local initiatives, and also help develop a network that advances community philanthropy in Southern Africa.

Fredericks says she believes that answers to local problems often lie within the community itself. One of her roles as a leader is to draw them out from residents so they can give back, especially those who say they have nothing to offer.

“There are a lot of currencies of giving in South Africa. There is time, skills, sharing of resources, and there is money,” Fredericks said.

“We’re bringing in volunteers to help us here because we know that the currency of giving goes way beyond the dollar, rand and euro.”

While Fredericks has shared her knowledge and experiences about community development at international conferences and via Internet webinars, she says her greatest satisfaction comes from working with residents to improve their quality of life in the Western Cape province of post-apartheid South Africa. It is in that same Cape Town region that Fredericks was born, reared and university-educated.

Although she and the organization’s founder, Renier van Rooyen, have been thanked face-to-face by former President Nelson Mandela for the work they do, Fredericks remains humble and focused. For her, there are three entrenched issues still to address: poverty alleviation, youth development and HIV/AIDS prevention.

“I have wanted to resign 99 times,” Fredericks said. “Then, something small but meaningful happens with the young people or in the community, and I see they are so eager to make a difference and it gives me hope to continue.”

Maggie Jaruzel Potter, Mott Foundation

This article is part of an occasional series by the Mott Foundation about the community foundation field and the Foundation’s role in supporting and strengthening it. The series reports on what is occurring in Mott’s major geographic focus areas — Central/Eastern Europe and Russia, South Africa, and the U.S. — as well as providing information about how the field is expanding globally. Mott’s goal is to inform the public about the latest trends in the community foundation field in advance of its 100th anniversary year in 2014