Black Giving Circle Fund June Meeting Holds Wide Ranging Conversation on Grantmaking

How do we best determine what community residents need and how do we work together to find meaningful solutions to respond to these challenges? These were the questions discussed by more than 30 attendees of the Black Giving Circle Fund meeting held at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.  Facilitated by Hartford Foundation Project Management and Development Officer Chari Anderson. Meeting attendees engaged in a deep discussion about defining and identifying the black community and whether or not giving circle members themselves were the most appropriate group to determine

Reaching out to local residents

At the start of the year, a sub-committee of the Black Giving Circle steering committee members wanted to get feedback directly from community residents. Sub-committee members developed a questionnaire asking residents and others in the community about their views on the key issues, such as education and workforce development, the needs in the community, how these challenges originated and persisted, and what philanthropy can do to achieve greater impact. The sub-committee has conducted two resident discussion groups, which focused on the issues people were most concerned about and how best to deal with these challenges. Residents discussed the lack of family based leisure activities, jobs that provide living wages for families, resources for after-school enrichment programs and a lack of role models/mentors for children. Residents expressed their desire for philanthropic organizations to seek out community input to better inform their grantmaking decisions.  The sub-committee intends to continue its outreach to other resident and community organizations.

Attendees discussed ways to most effectively reach out to the residents they wish to support and collaborate with and expressed a desire to make this process a key part of their future work.

2018 Grantmaking Discussion

The discussion then turned to this year’s grantmaking effort where Anderson shared that the Foundation was going to provide funds to allow for $20,000 in grant funding for 2018. Anderson also discussed the different approaches the group could choose from for soliciting grant proposals for this year including:

  • Programming Support (tied to a finite project in a specific topic area).
  • General Operating Support for a nonprofit organization tied to its strategic plan, mission, and critical need.
  • Signature Grant Making – funding for a capital project such as a building program or infrastructure upgrades.
  • Open RFP – seek out a wide variety of topic areas and choose from the best option.
  • Other – a new idea for grant making.

Anderson informed the group that a survey will be distributed to Black Giving Circle Fund members to choose from the grant making options highlighted and then an announcement will be made on what option was chosen and how the process will be moved forward.

Finally, the Black Giving Circle steering committee said that they would like to organize a strategic planning retreat with members to develop a multi-year plan on the direction members would like to take with grantmaking in the future.