In addition to our core philanthropic work, the Community Foundation focuses on community engagement by leading initiatives as a neutral convener, educating the community, and addressing persistent issues.
The Community Foundation was on a path towards community engagement since its early history. Data from a 2012 internal and external assessment revealed that there was an understanding and an expectation that the Community Foundation could address persistent issues and create positive change. Staff and board later developed an initiatives process. From there, we started the Youth Network Initiative for youth who were homeless, runaways, or aging out of foster care.
Things progressed rapidly after our initiative work began. Our community leadership activities were grouped into a new department and we launched the Caregiver Support Initiative. We started evaluating our community leadership work in 2017. In 2018, we enhanced our evaluation methods and realized the term community engagement better described our work. We also discovered we needed one platform to show the results of community engagement activities and create our first Impact Report.
How Do We Determine Impact?
Community Engagement + Action + Evaluation = Impact
There are three steps to creating an impact:
Engaging our community is the first step in creating impact. We are a neutral convener and have a place for everyone who cares.
Community Engagement is incomplete without action. Next, we gather our community to develop tangible solutions.
Evaluation is the final step for measuring impact. What does the data show? The Community Foundation added evaluations to many community engagement activities in 2018. Now evaluation guides the process.
Below are some of the most impactful ways the Community Foundation led our community to a better tomorrow in 2018.