This week I was honored to attend and represent Pride Foundation at a two-day convening of the Building Community Philanthropy Initiative – by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Cohort will address and seek to alleviate intergenerational poverty – heavy stuff and worthwhile work!
Okay, people – get ready for a philanthropy geek-out 🙂
Also attending from Pride Foundation – Kris Hermanns, our Executive Director, Ramon Alvarez, a Board Member who lives in Spokane, Washington, and Doug Exworthy, our Board President.
On Wednesday morning, Cohort 2 (our cohort) met to get to know each other and begin thinking about how our work intersects, what we can learn from each other, and how we can support one another.
Our cohort includes: the Blue Mountain Community Foundation, Community Foundation of North Central Washington, Community Foundation of South Puget Sound, Greater Everett Community Foundation, Pride Foundation (hello!), the United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties, United Way of Chelan and Douglas Counties, and United Way of Snohomish County.
Highlights for me were hearing about how a grant that Blue Mountain Community Foundation made to a woman working on farm to table food issues was leveraged to get national funding and create real change. The woman was passionate about food and taking the bounty of her valley and putting it on the table (local food! something I can mega get on board with 🙂 ). She used Blue Mountain Community Foundation’s $6,200 grant to work with Parent Teacher Associations, work with school cafeteria workers, and map food distribution from local farmers to cafeterias. In the process of all of this, she leveraged the $6,200 grant into a $96,000 two year grant from the United States Department of Agriculture! So inspiring how just a little money, hard work, and a confident investment from a community foundation can inspire larger entities to take notice and extend funding.Beth and Alan from the United Way of Chelan and Douglas Counties & Community Foundation of North Central Washington shared a project they’ve been working on that compiles data in real time across their counties. Dr. Patrick Jones and his students at Eastern Washington University maintain the database which has assisted informed grantmaking, and provides 139 data points over 9 vital categories to the public (schools, government, business people, you! – you can view it here chelananddouglastrends.org).
Another inspiring story came from the United Way of Snohomish County where they connected with a man named Todd McNeal who had recognized a need in his community – a place for children who had to be removed from their homes by Child Protective Services on weekends and after-hours who had no place to go – and has created a safe space for kids: Hand in Hand to establish a physical safe space that is warm and welcoming for kids.
While all of us will be doing work over the next four years to alleviate intergenerational poverty, each organization has a specific approach they will be utilizing that is best designed to work well with the community they serve and build the capacity of other local agencies.
The project falls under the Gates Foundation’s Pacific Northwest focus area and the scope of our work will start in Washington State and Portland, Oregon – though our reach for the stars hope is to take what we learn beyond these borders to the rest of our region.
With studies showing that about 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, this is an issue that effects our community widely and deeply.
Since I’m usually on the Development side of things (raising money, working communications 🙂 ) it was exciting to switch it up and be in a different headspace as I got to play programs officer for 48hours.Speaking of raising money…if you want to support this work and other steps toward equality in an impactful way, I encourage you to make a gift that is personally meaningful to you with Pride Foundation.
Christina is Pride Foundation’s Community Giving Manager. Email Christina.