Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, joins the GFCF board!

The board of the GFCF is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. The GFCF board is currently made up of individuals highly experienced in the field of community philanthropy and social development, hailing from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. The board is responsible for guiding the GFCF’s programmes and operations, and it very much looks forward to working with Clotilde in her new role! A short biography is available below.

Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker is president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. She has dedicated her career to improving lives through civic service. Her leadership experience has centered on leading collaborative efforts to solve the most critical problems facing communities. Clotilde is a nationally-recognized spokeswoman on a range of issues including strategic philanthropy, community service, and cultural diversity.

Previously, Clotilde served as the executive director of the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women where she worked to remove gender-based inequities for women addressing issues of representation on boards, domestic violence, and economic self-sufficiency.

She has founded and led numerous initiatives, including a public-private sector collaboration to establish the Family Justice Center of Erie County for victims of domestic violence and the Western New York Women’s Fund. Most recently, Clotilde founded the Literacy Funders Network, a national coalition of foundations dedicated to improving literacy in America.

Other service highlights include a White House appointment to the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, U.S. Committee co-chair of the United Nations International Year of the Volunteer, and president of the Association of Junior Leagues International. Clotilde has served on many national and local boards, including the National Women’s Hall of Fame (president), Mayoral Council on Hispanic issues (chair), John R. Oishei Foundation, and the National Federation for Just Communities. Currently she serves as a board member of CFLeads and a national delegate to the Vision 2020-Equality in Sight project.

Clotilde’s work has been recognized by many including the Points of Light Foundation, the Governor’s Award for Service, and the President’s Award for Service. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Canisius College and a Master’s degree in Education from the State University of New York at Buffalo and is a distinguished alumna from both. Clotilde is a naturalized U.S. citizen and a native of Cuba

What can community philanthropy do? Global Alliance for Community Philanthropy highlights shared themes around the world

Check out the storify from Jennifer Lentfer, Oxfam / How Matters, who live tweeted the Global Alliance for Community Philanthropy’s public lunch event at the World Bank on 9th July 2014.  

When communities pull together to solve problems, it rarely makes headlines (especially in developing countries) but this month such an example did draw media attention, along with an international event spotlighting the practice known as community philanthropy.

Earlier in July a story of a Kenyan community’s success managing a water crisis with local assets was featured on America Abroad (“Kenyan communities succeed in managing scarce water, where aid projects once foundered”). The program heard on National Public Radio (NPR) captures how local ownership created a long-term solution; that in turn bloomed into other improvements, with road access and education. As David Clatsworthy of the International Rescue Committee notes, “It’s obviously much better when the community starts out with that sense of ownership…So it would be great if this was a model that spread virally.”

That type of exponential spread is what the Global Alliance for Community Philanthropy, established last year, is working to achieve. On July 9th 2014 the Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. (AKF USA) joined with its partners in the Global Alliance, including the C.S. Mott Foundation, U.S. Agency for International Development and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, at a lunchtime talk that showcased a wide range of community philanthropy experiences from around the world.

Lunch participants at the World Bank, 9th July 2014Held at the World Bank’s Washington, DC offices, the panel discussion, “Community philanthropy’s role in sustaining development: Development’s role in supporting community philanthropy,” featured experiences from Northern Ireland, Haiti, and across the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). The stories described examples of community-led initiatives that were strengthened by select international support, in some cases going back more than 30 years.

“How can community-driven development play a role in enhancing the development outcomes of big international donor aid?” asked Jenny Hodgson, Executive Director of the GFCF, which serves as the secretariat for the Global Alliance. In response, three main themes emerged from the panel.

First, there’s a need for local voices and there must be space for local actors to play a role in development planning and decisions. Dr. Mirza Jahani, CEO of AKF USA, noted how AKDN’s first rural support programs are rooted in this community-driven approach, empowering communities to make decisions about their own development in remote areas of Pakistan and India. When you build on local assets and local traditions of self-help, he added, “you have a much stronger chance for sustainability.” The practice of community philanthropy is not new around the world, and “has been there throughout history.”

Second, there’s a role for international donors as long as they allow local voices to decide what is needed. Avila Kilmurray, former Director of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland (CFNI) and now GFCF Director of Policy & Strategy, described how in 1994 CFNI received funding from the European Union to support the peace process in Northern Ireland, especially in areas most affected by the conflict, which were also the poorest. Over half of the European Union grant went through CFNI in sub-grants of under $10,000 each. Small grants were essential, Kilmurray said, in order to include small and marginalized groups in the process. “Big grants…would have destroyed the volunteer base of many community-based organizations.”

A third theme running through the discussion was a need to listen for the range of local voices present.Marie-Rose Romain Murphy of the HCFI Kilmurray explained how crucial that was to CFNI’s effectiveness, which had board members on both sides of the sectarian divide during “the Troubles” starting in the 1970s. Marie-Rose Romain Murphy, who leads the Haiti Community Foundation Initiative (HCFI), also expressed the urgency that Haitians had to build a wide-reaching community foundation to regain control of their development, which HCFI is working on.

Additional success stories noted by Hodgson included the Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF), established in the 1990s with the Aga Khan Foundation and Ford Foundation support. KCDF was noted in the NPR story as a model of a national body with a spectrum of partners. (Click here for a post about KCDF’s origins and lessons.)

When looking at community philanthropy as an approach to development, the question often remains: How can international actors best support developing countries to mobilize local assets and build the culture of self-directed development, without squashing local initiatives? Rather than any one answer, the event pointed to many local responses built on empowering communities to come together, determine shared priorities, and mobilize resources, instead of being driven by external donor priorities.

Natalie Ross is Program Officer for Civil Society at the Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A. This blog was originally posted by the AGA Khan Foundation U.S.A. on their “Stories from the Field” blog.

Philanthropy as an emerging contributor to development cooperation: Community foundations are on the map and other updates

We recently reported on a conference, International Development Cooperation: Trends and Emerging Opportunities – Perspectives of the New Actors, held in Istanbul and organized by Tika, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, and UNDP. Here is a quick update on the latest developments and related conversations:

Watch with interest: Community foundations are on the map!

  • The 20 Key Messages paper from the Istanbul conference cite “a growing web of community foundations” as a suitable entry point for private philanthropy to realize its potential as a powerful force in “catalysing private action, civil society involvement and championing innovative solutions for development, especially at the local level…”
  • The paper also suggests that multinational organizations “should routinely involve philanthropists and community foundations as partners on the ground and in planning and implementation of the Post-2015 development agenda.” July 2014 planning meeting for the Haiti Community Foundation Initiative, © Patrice Dougé

Philanthropy as an Emerging Contributor to Development Cooperation – paper now published

Heather Grady’s background paper for the conference has been finalized and published. The paper (which can be downloaded here) lays out the following case:

  • The world is at a pivotal moment for global development cooperation. While many stakeholders are brought increasingly into international development processes, philanthropy stands apart, despite the scale, ambition and potential of philanthropy’s contributions to international development.
  • A range of issues and recommendations are raised in the report, commissioned by the United Nations Development Program. Philanthropy’s contributions to international development should be better measured, and there is a need for a stronger emphasis on better data overall in terms of both measuring progress, and enabling a better understanding of the range of potential grantees working on development themes.

Blog: Philanthropy, the post-2015 agenda and diffuse collaboration

In a separate blog for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Heather reflects some of the structural issues that emerge when foundations think about collaboration, with particular reference to the Post-2015 Partnership Platform for Philanthropy.

  • “Our assumption is if we [cooperate] at the national and global levels vis-à-vis the Post-2015 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals, we will have a more positive impact on development outcomes. Moreover, the convergence of action around shared vision, mission, and objectives can leverage our individual and collective resources and benefits. But there is no immediate return on investment, and the growing emphasis by foundations on attribution (to the funder), rather than contribution, sometimes has the perverse effect of separating, rather than converging, development efforts.”
  • “If you want to try new approaches to collaboration on the Sustainable Development Goals and put diffuse reciprocity in action by putting some skin in the game, get in touch as our circle widens.”

Join the discussion! WINGS and UNDP to host a webinar on Philanthropy’s Role in International Development Cooperation

  • When? August 12th 2014
  • Who? Speakers include:

Heather Grady, Senior Fellow, Global Philanthropy, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Karolina Mzyk, Program Specialist and Foundations Coordinator, UNDP

Naila Farouky, Executive Director, Arab Foundations Forum

Helena Monteiro, Executive Director, WINGS

 

  •  How to register? Register here

 

 

Call for expression of interest in commissioned research for GFCF

GFCF wishes to commission research studies in the following areas:

(i) Report on the status of community-based philanthropy in Latin America and the Caribbean

This study will compile a comprehensive list of grantmaking foundations (and philanthropic organisations with the active objective of being grant-makers) that are located, and are working to address needs at the community level, in the respective countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition, the research will collect qualitative data through telephonic interviews with a sub-set of short listed foundations (to be agreed with GFCF) to gain an in-depth understanding of the context in which they work; the nature of their grantmaking and related programmes; the size and structure of their foundation; the nature of their donor base; and any strategic approaches or stories they would like to share with their peers to make the case for community philanthropy.

It is envisaged that the commissioned research will be available in draft form for review by 16th December 2014, to be available as a final report by 31st January 2015.

(ii) Report on the status of community-based philanthropy in Central Asia/Central South Asia

This study will compile a comprehensive list of grantmaking foundations (and philanthropic organisations with the active objective of being grant-makers) that are located, and are working to address needs at the community level, in the respective countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In addition, the research will collect qualitative data with a sub-set of short-listed foundations (to be agreed with GFCF) to gain an in-depth understanding of the context in which they work; the nature of their grant-making and related programmes; the size and structure of their foundation; the nature of their donor base; the main challenges they face; and any strategic approaches or stories they would like to share with their peers to make the case for community philanthropy.

It is envisaged that the commissioned research will be available in draft form for review by 13th February 2015, to be available as a final report by 13th March 2015.

 

Expressions of interest should be submitted to Avila Kilmurray, Director of Policy & Strategy (avila@globalfundcf.org) by Friday 26th September 2014. Completed submissions should include the following:

  • Name(s) and contact details of researcher(s)
  • CV with reference to previous research studies completed, together with the name and contact details of two referees
  • Summary of experience relevant to the research topic
  • Languages spoken
  • Outline of proposed methodology
  • Timescale for the research study
  • Estimated number of days aligned to methodology and timescale
  • Summary of financial costs (set out against number of days and related expenses)

Katanga Community Foundation: Dreaming of a poverty-free Katanga!

Read this post in French 

In February 2014, plans to create a Katanga Community Foundation (KCF) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) got underway. An initiative group, coordinated by NGO professional, Pierre Kahenga, engaged in a series of consultations and discussions aimed at exploring how to grow the idea of local philanthropy under the auspices of the new community foundation. The Katanga region is in the south of Congo and is known for its rich deposits of copper and cobalt.

Once a shared understanding of what a community foundation for Katanga might look like had emerged within the group, it was time to translate these ideas into action. It’s fair to say that we all had some reservations, even fears:  the fear of the enormity of the task; the fear of stepping off the “beaten path” of development and discovering new ways to work; the fear of writing a new page in history, of innovation. There were other things missing too: a greater sense of legitimacy perhaps or more resources… or knowing even where to start!

And so it was to help overcome these “birthing pains” that we looked to Kenya and the well-established Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF) for both guidance and energy. In July 2014, eleven of the fourteen members of the FCK planning group traveled to Nairobi on a study visit. KCF has already benefited from good relations with its partners, the King Baudouin Foundation, GFCF and the Haiti Community Foundation initiative. KCDF can now also be added to the list.

 

Understanding the context

The global financial crisis that hit many of the world’s developed economies in 2008 forced a radical rethink about the potential role of local resources in supporting community development. This thinking is now also moving beyond the traditional sphere of development cooperation.

According to current statistics, the DRC’s economy will grow by 8.7% this year, thanks mainly to the development of the mining industry. However, although the impact of this growth is not yet evident in terms of poverty reduction among the majority of the population, it is enough to convince traditional development partners to shift their attention to other provinces in the country. At the same time, few companies are using their social responsibility programmes to really invest in supporting the socio-economic recovery of communities, preferring to establish funds or foundations or to run their own social development programmes directly. But the unbalanced distribution of development assistance to urban and mining areas is clearly felt by rural areas.

In the face of such inconsistencies, how can one contribute to the overall wellbeing of the greatest number of people? What could we learn from KCDF’s fifteen years of experience and expertise to help inspire and shape the Katangan project? And would KCDF be ready to accompany us on this journey. If so, how?

In Nairobi, Janet Mawiyoo, Tom Were, Francis Kamau and the rest of the KCDF team provided a warm welcome and an excellent programme for our visit, which was comprised of both meetings with KCDF and visits to some of KCDF’s partners, including St. Martin’s School, Haki Self Help Group, Grapevine Hope Centre, and Watoto Wema Centre. We were also invited to attend the Forum of KCDF’s “Fund Builders” which focused on the review of performance evaluation and investment strategies, as well as the launch of KCDF’s new strategic plan (“KCDF: 2014 to 2018”) and its “Community Day.”

 

What did we learn?

KCDF emerged as the result of the frustrations of its founders, who wanted to challenge the situation in Kenya, where despite numerous external interventions, the poor continued to be poor. International donors continued to design projects from their own countries, without a real understanding of local needs or of local expertise. KCDF has its roots in both the Kenyan national context as well as within the broader African cultural heritage. Its institutional architecture and form were shaped by its long-term vision and KCDF has invested in building up a strong and professional staff, which can continue to maintaining the trust of the general public.

KCDF is a truly public fund that operates in the service of the most disadvantaged. It has filled an institutional vacuum in Kenya by establishing two key roles for itself. Firstly, as primarily a grantmaker that mobilizes resources and targets them towards development projects. As such, KCDF doesn’t seek to be an operational organization but rather to position itself at the national level and to provide financial support and capacity building to 180 partners scattered across the country. The organization has also managed to build financial capital, including property (specifically the office block where its office is located), all of which generates interest and / or income. These resources are held in perpetuity in the form of a Trust, which can provide ongoing funding for local development. Its donors include companies, individuals, the government as well as grassroots organizations, all of whom are regularly invited to forums to discuss strategic direction and reflect on outcomes.

 

Conclusions….

An organization that started from scratch and learnt through its experiences, KCDF has evolved into a highly complex “machine” which is hard to sum up. As a highly trusted organization, KCDF has managed to build up a sustainable development fund for the community. KCDF’s success comes down to the skills and commitment of the individuals behind it, who have combined their know-how and values to create a mechanism for local communities to be in charge of their own development. No-one can develop someone else but, at the same time, no-one develops alone. As such, KCDF works to empower communities.

This trip to Kenya encouraged us all to reflect on some of the fundamentals: vision, mission and goals. Returning home, we have continued to work on this, inspired by KCDF’s story.

 

Next steps

We need to:

  • Review Congolese laws governing non-profit organizations in order to develop an organizational structure that best meets FCK’s vision.
  • Embark on a campaign to build up some initial capital.
  • Create a simple organizational structure with light and flexible management procedures.
  • Meet regularly and consistently.
  • Analyze our own local context further in order to be able to review our options and then to develop a multi-year plan of action.

 

Pierre Kahenga has been involved in the planning group for the Fondation Communautaire du Katanga initiative from its outset. The King Baudouin Foundation has been a key source of support to the process. The GFCF has also provided technical support to the intiative.

Lights, camera, #CF100 Video Contest!

The Council on Foundations is helping to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the world’s first community foundation, The Cleveland Foundation, by highlighting stories that show how community foundations are addressing critical local and regional issues. Part of this is the exciting 100-second Centennial Video Contest for community foundations.

Applicants are encouraged to create and submit short, entertaining clips of no more than 100 seconds that spotlight their role in shaping and impacting their communities. First place will be awarded a grant of USD $15,000, second place $7500 and third place $2500. Videos must be submitted to COF by 12th September 2014 for consideration.

Is your city resilient? Apply to be a part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Challenge

As part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s centennial in 2013, the organization launched its 100 Resilient Cities Challenge, a $100+ million effort to build urban resilience around the world. 100RC aims to help cities build the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience. The first cohort of 32 cities was selected in December 2013, and the 100RC team has been working with them closely ever since.

The application period for the next group of cities has just opened, and municipal government leaders, or local institutions that can demonstrate a strong and collaborative partnership with their municipal government, are invited to apply on behalf of their city. The finalists identified during the 2014 100RC Challenge will be eligible to receive:

  • Funding in the form of a grant to hire a Chief Resilience Officer;
  • Technical support to develop a holistic resilience strategy that reflects each city’s distinct needs;
  • Access to an innovative platform of services to support strategy development and implementation. Platform partners come from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, and will offer tools in areas such as innovative finance, technology, infrastructure, land use, and community and social resilience; and, 
  • Membership in the 100 Resilient Cities network to share knowledge and practice with other member cities.     

The Challenge application period continues until 10th September 2014. More information and how to apply can be found at the following link.

What role for domestic fund mobilization? Is it time for INGOs to retire? Join the Change the Game Debate!

The Dutch development sector is (modestly) celebrating its 65th anniversary this year. Is it time to retire, or should it continue? And, if so, in what way? With shrinking development budgets on one side of the spectrum and a globally rising middle class on the other, domestic resource mobilisation and claim-making are presented as the future of international development. But what exactly does this approach entail? What are the challenges and opportunities concerned with it? How do we make International development relevant in the years to come? How to Change the Game?

For the next four weeks, Vice Versa, a Dutch journal on international development and the Wild Geese Foundation will be exploring this topic by conducting research, interviews with Dutch and international experts and professionals in the field. In the opening article, Jenny Hodgson, Executive Director of the GFCF, argues that domestic resource mobilisation and claim-making is about more than diversifying an organisation’s donor base in favour of a radically different approach to international development. “In the end, it is about devolving power. The willingness to give up power to local groups”, claims Hodgson. Does this reorientation mean we (INGOs) should completely stop our involvement? “No, absolutely not”, she says. “Especially at this point it is important to invest, both in the capacity to mobilise resources domestically and in the strength of the lobby and advocacy skills of local partners.”

Follow the debate and join the discussion!

EAAG Awards seek to recognize and celebrate outstanding philanthropy in East Africa – nominations open!

The East Africa Association of Grantmakers (EAAG) has announced the call for nominations for the 2014 edition of the East Africa Philanthropy Awards. Launched in 2011, the awards were established to identify, recognize and celebrate outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations to strategic social development and to the growth of the philanthropic movement in East Africa. By highlighting their contributions, EAAG hopes to create awareness on the significance of giving and create role models for local philanthropy.

Previous recipients of the award are: Dr. Manu Chandaria, Ephantus Maina of the Happy Kidney Foundation, Safaricom Foundation, The Lewa Children’s Home, the Janada Batchelor Fund for Children (TZ) and the Maasai Girls Education Fund. The 2014 Awards will recognize those who through their planned and structured giving of money, time, information, goods and services have given voice and influence towards improvement of the wellbeing of humanity and the communities they live in.

For more information on how to nominate (deadline of 15th August), please consult this link.