The Secretary’s Award for Community Foundations recognizes excellence in public-philanthropic partnerships that have both transformed the relationship between the sectors and led to measurable benefits in terms of increased economic employment, health, safety, education, sustainability, inclusivity and cultural opportunities, and/or housing access for low and moderate-income families. The award is presented by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in partnership with the Council on Foundations’ Public-Philanthropic Partnership Initiative.
In the United States, community foundations serve tens of thousands of donors, administer more than $49 billion in charitable funds, and address the core concerns of more than 725 communities and regions.
Not only are community foundations a valuable repository of local wealth resources held in perpetuity, they are led by a local board of trustees and staff that provide in-depth knowledge of community challenges, opportunities, and broader resources. This facilitates the foundation’s capacity to provide leadership on housing and community development while guiding donors toward impactful investments in housing solutions.
By strengthening the connection between the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and community foundations, this award highlights the power of collective impact that can be achieved through public-philanthropic partnerships between government entities and foundations.
The foundation’s mission is to invest in ideas and organizations that improve access, education, research and public policy to result in a measurably healthier region. empirehealthfoundation.org
Eastern Washington Obesity Prevention Initiative
Through extensive partnership with school districts and community agencies, the Eastern Washington Obesity Prevention initiative is starting to see measurable reductions in childhood obesity rates. Six school districts have converted from unhealthy processed foods to healthy scratch cooked meals; from chicken nuggets to herb-baked chicken; from French Fries to roasted red potatoes; from syrupy canned peaches to fresh fruits and vegetables. Last year alone, 1.6 million meals were positively impacted by this change.
Empire Health Foundation, with $50 million in philanthropic assets, has invested in a public and private sector partnership that has successfully catalyzed sustainable systems and policy change. Cheney School District for example, has been working with Empire Health Foundation since the summer of 2011 on a comprehensive approach to obesity prevention including complete reform of the school breakfast and lunch program; reducing access to unhealthy competitive foods on campus (both in and out of the classroom); increasing nutrition education; and increasing physical activity levels across all grades. The place-based public private partnership has included critical stakeholders such as the City of Cheney, Parks and Recreation, Cheney Public School District, the public health district, and the community wide Let's Move! Cheney campaign.
After a successful first year the partnership was replicated to include a total of seven communities. Initial evaluation indicates significant impact in nutrition, projected financial sustainability, and early positive impact on rates of obesity. Most importantly, the partnership has transformed the relationship between the foundation and its public sector partners.
The City of Cheney, Cheney School District, Washington State University, Spokane Regional Health District, Davenport School District, East Valley School District, Newport School District, Othello School District, Spokane Public Schools, Wellpinit School District.
The foundation promotes philanthropy to build and sustain a vital and prosperous community where all have the opportunity to participate and thrive. www.fccfoundation.org
Stable Families Program
The Fairfield County Community Foundation (FCCF) was formed in 1992 when 5 smaller foundations merged. FCCF serves the 23 towns of Fairfield County, Connecticut with a population of just under a million people. In FY 2012, FCCF had $147.9 million in net assets and awarded $16.6 million in grants. Bridgeport, Connecticut’s largest city is located in FCCF’s service area. With a 2011 population of 145,638, Bridgeport has long struggled with high rates of poverty. Bridgeport’s 2011 child poverty rate of 39.9% ranks amongst the highest in the nation.
The Stable Families Program provides intensive case management and support services to high risk families in Bridgeport public housing. Services are aimed first at helping residents resolve issues that could lead to eviction and then to providing services and support that help improve the health, stability and economic and educational success of these families. The program is unique because of the strong relationship that has been built between the project’s key partners: FCCF, Bridgeport Housing Authority, Connecticut Legal Services, New Haven Home Recovery, and, most importantly, public housing residents. Since November 2009, 96% of the 154 families enrolled in the program have avoided eviction, gotten back on their feet financially and moved their lives forward.
While the Stable Families program has led to a number of very positive outcomes for families, the partners recognized that creating broader and lasting improvements for residents required a deliberate focus on creating positive community level outcomes. As a result of this recognition, the partners created the P.T. Barnum Partnership (PTBP) in the fall of 2011. PTBP is a place-based partnership that extends and deepens the Stable Families partnership work with a focus on a single public housing project: P.T. Barnum Apartments.
Bridgeport Housing Authority, Connecticut Legal Services, New Haven Home Recovery, and public housing residents
The foundation invests both in individuals and well-managed not-for-profit organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for Alaskans. www.rasmuson.org
Pre-Development (Pre-D) Program
The Pre-Development (Pre-D) Program is a service provided to nonprofits in Alaska through a partnership initiated by the Rasmuson Foundation. Pre-D’s core purpose is planning sustainable capital projects. Sustainable is defined as projects that contribute to the long-term viability of the organization and the community it serves.
The Pre-D Program is based on the principle that capital projects are more likely to succeed if they are well planned, right-sized, reasonably priced, properly vetted and are affordable to operate over the long term.
Funding partners are Rasmuson Foundation (a private family foundation), the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (a state corporation), Denali Commission (an independent federal agency) and Mat-Su Health Foundation. The State of Alaska has been an intermittent funding partner. The Foraker Group operates the program.
The Funding Partners pay the annual $1.05 million in operating costs. The three larger partners each contribute $300,000 per year. Mat-Su Health Foundation contributes $150,000 per year.
The Pre-D Program offers guidance and technical resources to plan new facilities and renovate or expand existing ones. The program helps nonprofit, municipal and tribal organizations determine feasibility of their projects and develop the documentation needed for funding applications. Organizations in the Pre-D Program also gain access to funders at an earlier point in the planning process.
Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Denali Commission, and the State of Alaska
The foundation’s vision is to provide a combination of financial, technical and training support across a limited number of high-priority issues with a focus on achieving resident engagement, organizational excellence and networks for collective impact. www.rjweanfdn.org
Youngstown Community Revitalization
The Raymond John Wean Foundation was established in 1949 as a family foundation and launched a transformational journey toward becoming a community asset in the early 2000s. The Foundation engaged PolicyLink, a national research institute, to undertake a strategic review process in 2006. The resulting recommendations provided the blueprint for the Foundation’s evolution into a place-based grantmaker with a focus on serving economically disadvantaged communities in Trumbull and Mahoning Counties, Ohio.
Once composed primarily of family members, the Foundation’s board evolved into one consisting almost entirely of community members, with the Foundation’s efforts carried out by a staff of five. With assets as of 2012 at approximately $72 million, this private foundation awarded $2.6 million in 2012 in five issue priorities: early childhood development, educational opportunity, economic opportunity, community revitalization, and public and civic leadership.
The Foundation has designed, launched and provided ongoing funding to several efforts to spur grassroots revitalization, including its Neighborhood SUCCESS and Leadership, a grant program through which residents review and approve requests that support local neighborhood projects, and the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative, a comprehensive community organizing initiative. In 2009, the Foundation formed a critical public-private partnership with the City of Youngstown to establish the city’s first neighborhood-focused community development corporation, the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC), to achieve major progress toward stabilizing transitional neighborhoods and to implement the City’s comprehensive plan.
Public Partners:City of Youngstown, Ohio
The Rhode Island Foundation is a proactive community and philanthropic leader dedicated to meeting the needs of the people of Rhode Island. www.rifoundation.org
Green and Healthy Homes Initiative Providence
The Rhode Island Foundation, established in 1916, is one of the oldest community foundations in the country, with assets estimated at $700 million. As a direct result of the public-philanthropic partnership between the Foundation and the City of Providence, Providence was awarded designation as a Green & Healthy Homes Initiative™ (GHHI) site in early 2010. GHHI addresses substandard housing by braiding categorically separate but mission-related funding and programs, and by leveraging federal, state, local and philanthropic resources.
In January 2013, with leadership from the Foundation, the City of Providence, the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning (Coalition), and the GHHI Providence Steering Committee made up of more than 30 city and state organizations and agencies, the first phase of the GHHI Providence Neighborhood Innovation Pilot was completed. Concentrating in two low-income neighborhoods, the pilot resulted in:
completion of health, safety, and weatherization retrofit interventions of 135 housing units;
twelve minority contractors cross-trained to perform weatherization, healthy homes, and/or lead hazard control work;
trained Resident Educators delivering more than 675 hours of health, safety, and energy efficiency related education to families; and
An electronic data collection system made up of more than an accumulated 65,000 completed data fields which manages data for analysis on topics such as energy cost savings, pre and post health, safety and energy maintenance behavior, and reduction in hospital visits. A one year post program evaluation will be completed in 2013.
Building off a $3.2 million Housing and Urban Development Lead Hazard Control grant and an initial Foundation grant of $60,000, the City of Providence, the Coalition, and other partners have subsequently leveraged more than $1.5 million in public and private funding for GHHI work in Providence. The success of the Providence GHHI pilot program has catalyzed efforts to expand its model state-wide.
City of Providence, Rhode Island and Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources
The foundation’s mission is to mobilize resources and be a catalyst to enrich lives and communities. www.saintpaulfoundation.org
Central Corridor Funders Collaborative and Corridors of Opportunity
Since 1940, thousands of generous individuals committed to the Saint Paul area have made charitable gifts to The Saint Paul Foundation. Today, the Foundation is the state’s largest community foundation. Guided by the legacy of its earliest donors, the Foundation helps donors achieve their charitable giving goals and have long-lasting impact in the community. The Foundation is an affiliate of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners. Learn more at saintpaulfoundation.org and mnpartners.org.
The Saint Paul Foundation supports large-scale, cross-sector initiatives including the 13-member Central Corridor Funders Collaborative begun in 2008 and the regional Corridors of Opportunity initiative launched in 2011.
Both initiatives are focused on working with others — local resident organizations, community groups, nonprofit and business coalitions, and public agencies — to create and implement strategies aimed at ensuring that the adjoining neighborhoods, residents and businesses broadly share in the benefits of public and private investment along the region’s transitways.
These investments and partnerships are bearing fruit. Grant and loan funds are preserving housing affordability and seeding new development (more than 1,000 housing units and 150,000 square feet of commercial space) along three of the region’s transit corridors. In 2012 during the Central Corridor’s heavy construction season, 353 small, mostly minority-owned businesses received deep technical assistance, including business planning, marketing, and financial review. Of that cohort, all but four remained in business.
The Corridors of Opportunity work is led by a “Policy Board” comprised of 26 members from multiple sectors and jurisdictions.
For more than 15 years, the Sisters of Charity of Cleveland has worked to improve the lives of those most in need with special attention to families, women and children living in poverty. www.socfdncleveland.org
Housing First Initiative of Cuyahoga County
The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland works to improve the lives of those most in need with special attention to families and women and children living in poverty. Its funding priorities are in ending homelessness, reducing health and education disparities and supporting the ministries of women religious. In conjunction with many partners, the foundation is also the lead convener for a Promise Neighborhood in Cleveland’s Central Neighborhood. The foundation carries forward the mission of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, who have served Ohio and South Carolina for over 160 years through a number of health and human services.
The Housing First Initiative of Cuyahoga County was convened in 2002 by the Sisters of Charity Foundation, in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners and the City of Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services, to develop a strategy to address long-term and chronic homelessness among single adults in Cuyahoga County—a problem that had reached crisis proportions.
The Housing First Initiative was established with the goal of producing 1,000 units of permanent supportive housing. The City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County were early and strong champions of the Initiative, making significant funding commitments, solidifying the public-private partnership from the beginning.
Today, there are 471 permanent supportive housing units across Cleveland, another 105 units slated to open this year and another 400 more in future years. Most significantly, since opening the first building in 2006, chronic homelessness in Cuyahoga County has decreased by 62%. With this success, the Initiative is working to end chronic homelessness among single adults, families and young people by 2020.
The City of Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services
Their mission is to improve the quality of life for everyone in Greater Los Angeles by creating pathways out of poverty. www.unitedwayla.org
Home For Good
Home For Good launched in December 2010 by United Way of Greater Los Angeles and the LA Area Chamber of Commerce, Home For Good is a five-year plan to end chronic and veteran homelessness by 2016. At its core, Home For Good is a collective impact model, engaging public and philanthropic organizations, nonprofits, and business and community members to create extraordinary transformation in our community. These partners are implementing the plan via three major initiatives:
Home For Good Funders Collaborative: an unprecedented partnership of public and private funders aligning resources through a single Request for Proposals to invest over $100M a year in permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless people.
Coordinated Entry System: a collaboration of nonprofit and government partners to build a system that will ensure every homeless person is known by name, assessed for their needs, and quickly linked to the best permanent housing option to meet their needs.
Standards of Excellence: operating standards and performance measures to define “excellence” for outreach, shelter, and permanent supportive housing providers, co-created by nonprofit providers and public and private funders throughout Los Angeles.
The Home For Good effort is powered by over 125 cross-sector leaders, including the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the Weingart Foundation, the Housing Authority of the City of L.A., the L.A. Homeless Services Authority, the Greater L.A. VA, L.A. County Departments of Health Services and Mental Health, the cities of Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pasadena, West Hollywood, and Long Beach, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Community Solutions, Rapid Results Institute, Downtown Pathway Home, Shelter Partnership, and public, philanthropic, and nonprofit organizations from throughout the region.
Los Angeles area housing authorities and housing departments, homeless services agencies, and veterans affairs agencies, and other municipal governments
Wells Fargo Regional Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for children and families living in low-income communities in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware by concentrating resources on comprehensive, neighborhood-based economic and community development initiatives. wellsfargo.com/about/regional-foundation
New Jersey Neighborhood Revitalization Grants Program
Since 2003, the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation’s Neighborhood Grants Program, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program (NRTC) and the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ (The Network) have worked together to create a resident-driven collaborative approach to revitalize New Jersey’s low-income neighborhoods. The approach requires that:
The revitalization initiative focuses on a low-income neighborhood within a defined geography.
Revitalization strategies originate from a resident-driven plan which addresses the neighborhood’s affordable housing, economic development, and neighborhood building needs, and identifies the service needs of children and families. The plan’s strategies and projects are prioritized and budgeted.
The specific milestones and activities are outlined and scheduled; progress against these plans must be achieved for funding to be awarded and continued over time.
The initiative is overseen by a stakeholder group led by a non-profit organization that includes residents, civic groups, businesses, and local government.
Each initiative is evaluated to assess the impact of its work to support learning and increased effectiveness.
The combination of large dollar, multi-year funding sources, access to both programmatic and project capital and the provision of technical assistance is creating a tipping point for neighborhood revitalization. The collective initiative has catalyzed partnerships in 26 New Jersey neighborhoods -- funded by $16 million in grants from WFRF and $44 million in NRTC investments from 24 corporations -- that have produced an impressive level of concentrated activity across disciplines. The coalitions that have emerged are a foundation upon which other programs and investments can quickly take root and build.
The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Camden Redevelopment Authority, and Newark Division of Housing
Founded in 2004, the foundation’s mission is to encourage philanthropy and foster leadership among women and support programs that enable women and children to reach their full potential. www.wfgm.org
The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis (WFGM) joined forces with the City of Memphis, the Memphis Housing Authority (MHA), and national nonprofit Urban Strategies to implement US Memphis HOPE, a model public-philanthropic partnership dedicated to breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty for Memphians. Since 2004, the partnership has secured $88 million in grant funds under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HOPE VI program for the community revitalization of three public housing locations — Lamar Terrace/University Place, Dixie Homes/Legends Park and Cleaborn Homes. The transformation of Memphis’ languishing public housing became the keynote project of this partnership.
WFGM raised and leveraged partnerships totaling more than $22.2 million in public and private resources over the past seven years to build a two-generation model for comprehensive community supportive services (CSS) for women and children. The supportive services component ensured that the nationally-recognized US Memphis HOPE initiative provided viable means and expandable approaches to neighborhood revitalization, while offering holistic wraparound services that produce measurable outcomes of employment and economic self-sufficiency.
Currently, US Memphis HOPE has increased the number of families supported from 700 in 2004 to nearly 3,000 public housing families of MHA housing communities. WFGM is the first women’s foundation in the nation to lead fundraising for a HUD HOPE VI human capital development.
City of Memphis, Memphis Housing Authority, and Housing and Community Development.