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There is a complex ecosystem of organizations working to enable, strengthen, and evolve the work of philanthropy, nonprofits, and civil society around the world. From communities of practice that build skills and encourage collaboration to data and research that inform solutions and foster transparency, these organizations provide a much-needed backbone for work on our most critical global challenges. New research from Foundation Center aims to map the composition of and support for this ecosystem of infrastructure organizations so that we can better align and improve efforts to build a better future.
Community foundations have several attributes that, taken together, distinguish them from many of their philanthropic brethren, including a local orientation, relationships with many living donors, and a public charity tax status. This affects everything from their approach to solving problems to their business model. Because of this, community foundations have sought out support services that are designed for their particular needs. The infrastructure of organizations serving community foundations has evolved, and there has been confusion among community foundations over where to get their needs met and some frustration over the perceived fragmentation of services.In response to these concerns and to create some clarity, CFLeads and CF Insights, both of which exclusively serve community foundations, decided to map out the current support services and lead a discussion exploring a vision for the future. The findings from a survey of a dozen large community foundations and a one-day symposium are summarized here. Hopefully the results of this partnership provide a better understanding of the ecosystem of organizations serving community foundations and some initial thinking on how to meet needs in the future.
This report, a joint effort by the Council on Foundations and Foundation Center, examines the current state and recent trends in international giving and engagement by large U.S. community foundations. The first-ever analysis of this type suggests that many community foundations are beginning to adopt a broader, more nuanced definition of "community" than they have in the past.The report documents how funds channeled from U.S. community foundations support international programs and recipients and highlights five U.S. community foundations and their approaches to global engagement and international grantmaking. For this report, we analyzed all the international grants made by U.S. community foundations included in Foundation Center's set of 1,000 of the largest U.S. Foundations from 2011 to 2014, which included 10,533 grants worth $697 million.
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