Every time I attend the Community Foundations of Canada meeting (#CFC2013), I am reminded of what it means to be part of the global community foundation movement. My use of “movement” vs. the traditional U.S. use of “field” is purely intentional. To me, a movement denotes a body of people or organizations who are buiding toward some common goal (as we all are), while a field brings to mind an image of people or organizations who are somewhat loosely aligned, but don’t have that same cohesion.
Community foundations remain the fastest growing form of philanthropy across the globe. While many have decried the state of the “field” given changes in technology and donor habits, new community foundations continue to develop throughout our world. This comes in spite of (or because of?) the rapid pace of change we all now face.
For example, at one of the sessions this week, community foundations from Poland, Singapore, Brazil, Latvia, Australia, Kenya and Mexico made presentations on the work they are doing. In every case, it left me in awe of the effort, and reminded me again that we all have much to learn from these emerging community foundation markets.
Another conversation, this one about the role of community foundations in corporate social responsibility (thanks to the Bertelsmann Foundation for making this possible), made the case for a more globally connected community foundation movement. It’s an issue that we continue to have an interest in as a firm as Helmer Ekstrom and I were both participants in the Transatlantic Community Foundation Network (again thanks to the Bertelsmann and Mott Foundations). I was encouraged by the passion and commitment of others in our movement to carry these conversations forward. If you’re interested in participating as we move forward, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community foundations, by our very nature, have been and likely always will be, local institutions, but in our increasingly connected world, we must also become more “glocal” in our outlook. We must continue to operate locally, but also recognize the additional opportunities that are now possible because we are a global movement.