We seek to strengthen, harness and demonstrate the value of community philanthropy as an essential cornerstone of community-led development that shifts power closer to the ground. To that end, our work covers a broad range of activities, from the very concrete and specific (making small grants to individual organizations) to the very broad (shaping new narratives and networks, influencing debates and changing mindsets) and it is largely carried out through partnerships with others.
Our impact is best described in the words of those individuals and organisations with which we engage, through our grants, our convenings and our influencing activities.
“The grant provided us with an opportunity to begin the discussions of an alternative to the international aid system through community philanthropy and Diaspora philanthropy. Grassroots community activists and organizations have been looking for an alternative to the international aid system to support their work on the ground – these grant gave us the space to explore this.” (Partner in Palestine)
GFCF funding was “lifesaving,” contributing to “the overall development of the organization because we had to create new ways of grantmaking and communicating about our grantmaking. It was a very enriching process that changed the way the community foundation is perceived locally and enriched the perspective of the board members who took part in the process.” (Partner in Italy)
“As a result of having embraced local philanthropy over the past year, we have taken concrete steps to integrate local philanthropy into the organization’s core programmes and communication work. The launch report, the launch event and communication activities piqued the curiosity for the topic not only with civil society organizations that we have been working with over the past nine years, but also by other stakeholders at large. The connector function of the GFCF and their steady supply of literature has played a big role in stimulating continuous reading about the topic and an ongoing discussion amongst our programme team.” (Partner in Zambia)
“The sense of being part of a wider network and an international community, as well as the solidarity expressed at the meeting, provides us with great reassurance and ‘emotional ammunition’ as we continue this work, where the issue of migration is particularly controversial and critical.” (Participant at convening on community philanthropy and migration)
“The opportunity to participate in the GFCF convening was a highly enriching experience for me in terms of learning and reflection. One of the main highlights of the convening was not only the fact that it addressed themes associated with the issue of power, but also that the ‘official languages’ were English and French. And this is no small feat, since the ‘official language’ is ‘normally’ English at the different sector conferences that I attend. In fact, English is the ‘natural language’ of the meetings that take place in the international philanthropic field…Considering that there is a direct relationship between language and power, I see the introduction of French in this setting as a political act, designed to promote inclusion and the democratization of access for groups that normally do not have the opportunity to express themselves and be present in these spaces of discussion and coordination.” (Participant at convening on community philanthropy in Africa)
“The Summit helped people understand how wide the field really is, how critical the different expressions of philanthropy are. People all over the world, from all walks of life, have been giving (time, money, etc.) in many different ways through a number of formal and informal mechanisms and having a significant impact on people’s ability to enjoy basic human rights. The Summit provided an opportunity to redefine key concepts: philanthropy; donor; recipient; and provide a wider canvas upon which new and innovative approaches could thrive.” (Participant at the Global Summit on Community Philanthropy, 2016)
“What is really exciting in this paper is the simple hypothesis of what community philanthropy is – all communities have a range of valuable, tangible, and intangible assets that are currently under-utilized or under-estimated in global development but are powerful when harnessed.” (Blog comment on Grantcraft leadership paper, How community philanthropy shifts power: What donors can do to help make that happen)
“The paper How community philanthropy shifts power: What donors can do to help make that happen is essential reading for anyone wishing to better understand the thinking behind and practical applications of community philanthropy. For external funders interested in discussing or even beginning to apply some of these approaches, this paper – using very accessible language – offers plenty of guiding questions and practical action steps while, at the same time, showcasing many examples of community foundations from various parts of the world.” (Blog comment on Grantcraft leadership paper)