Here's a new (well, relatively - it was started in 2002) take on community philanthropy. Modest Needs is a website that helps people give small gifts to other people to get them through short-term financial crises. This is the oldest form of community philanthropy - helping your neighbor - brought into the web age. It has some very nice features that more formal institutions of community philanthropy might consider - check out the ledger, financials and the statement on transparency.
I spend a lot of time with a lot of smart people. Last week I had the chance to spend a day with several CEOs of community foundations in Ohio - a smart bunch. Here's a paraphrase of one of the many wise thoughts I heard:
"Community foundations' products are the changes they make happen - whether it be economic development, new housing, or safer kids. That's what we do."
Ronn Richard, President, The Cleveland Foundation
Thinking about community foundations this way puts the communities first, and all the processes, standards, technology, and back office issues second. Focusing this way would be a refreshing mindshift for everyone making decisions about operations, board leadership, marketing, staff capacity, investment strategies, or other structural needs in community foundations.
Posted by Lucy Bernholz at 7/18/2005 11:41:00 AM