Partnering with local government: Accelerating the achievement of community foundation sustainability

Jan 01, 2012 | by
  • Description

Community foundations are one of the fastest growing forms of philanthropy worldwide, almost doubling in number in the last ten years. However, most community foundations do not achieve sustainability until after seven to ten years, and this is a major challenge for the movement. The aim of Mark Bentley's research is to identify and test a range of partnership opportunities with local government that might be successful in helping community foundations accelerate the journey to organizational and financial sustainability. The academic literature was reviewed for information on community foundation sustainability and the characteristics of successful and unsuccessful working relationships with local government. Partnership opportunities were identified and then tested in discussions with community foundation leaders worldwide. The results revealed a clear and consistent group of practical opportunities through which local government could support the start-up and survival of community foundations worldwide, as well as some opportunities that were more context-specific in nature. Whilst highlighting many of the challenges for a community foundation in working more closely with local government, the research proposed a range of strategies that would maximize the potential for successful partnership and mutual benefit.