Community Foundation Week: A Vision for Bridging Divides
By Peter Panepento
Headlines and news reports offer a constant reminder that we are living in a divided nation. And following the rhetoric around the recent midterm elections, many fear that our nation’s divisions are about to grow even deeper.
But in the face of these stark ideological divides, there’s growing hope that we can move society forward — and bring people together — at the community level.
For this movement toward community-based change (called ‘New Localism’ in some circles) to take hold, however, it needs leaders who have the credibility, the resources, and the knowledge to help mobilize people and institutions.
It needs community foundations.
As we mark Community Foundation Week, now is a great time to reflect on how community foundations are uniquely positioned to play a leading role in bringing people together to bridge the divides in our communities, and across our nation.
We have an opportunity and responsibility to encourage donors and other partners to think about how they can engage community foundations to serve as a bigger catalyst for change.
In small towns and large cities across the United States, community foundations are bringing people together to reinvent civic dialogue through On the Table gatherings.
They are mobilizing individuals and companies to contribute to community-based nonprofits through giving days.
They are the trusted stewards when communities experience disasters.
And they bring crucial resources and leadership to advance projects that aim to feed the hungry, educate our children, improve health, train workers, and close the opportunity gap.
Throughout Community Foundation Week, we are shining a spotlight on the unique role community foundations play in bringing communities together by inviting community foundations and others to share examples of how they are bridging divides and making change.
Use #CFWeek on Twitter and other social networks to share your examples and to learn more about how community foundations are bringing communities together.
You can also learn more about CFWeek and the history of community foundations with this excellent article by the Cleveland Foundation.