A national report released this month by the Center for Effective Philanthropy presents research findings from surveys of community foundations around the country. The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore is one of the three featured in the study for its strategic action.
The Report highlights three community foundations that act “strategically” and actively seeks accurate information about community needs. The Community Foundation of Orange County, the California Community Foundation, and the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore share a commitment to strategic action.
All three diverse Foundations focus on how their work with donors will benefit their local communities; build their understanding of community need through research and data; and place high value on input from community stakeholders.
Highlighting the work of the CFES, the study commends:
The use of regular surveys of the community and stakeholders.
Operation of the Eastern Shore Nonprofit Support Center to grow the capacity of local nonprofit organizations.
Policies that ensure representation and feedback from constituents across the area.
Regular surveys and focus groups for donors and the nonprofit community.
Efforts to help nonprofit organizations inform the community about the work they do.
The leadership role the Community Foundation plays in the community.
The role a foundation plays within the community was underscored by Spicer Bell, President, Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore. “We are a community leadership organization. As such, we must be thinking beyond our walls in terms of the impact of everything we do.”
According to the Report, the ultimate focus of decisions made by strategic foundations in their donor work is what will be of benefit to the community. Foundations that are strategic value the ideas and concerns of their stakeholders—nonprofits, community leaders and community members. They place community needs front and center in every important decision.
This national report comes on the heels of the Community Foundation being recognized in June by the Council on Foundations that ranked the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore (CFES) in the top 100 of the 700 community foundations in the nation for receiving the most gifts per capita for fiscal year 2010. The CFES was honored with this recognition on the same list last year.
The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide data and create insight so philanthropic funders can better define, assess, and improve their effectiveness and impact. CEP received initial funding in 2001 and has offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California. For more information on CEP's work, including its research, publications, and assessment tools, see www.effectivephilanthropy.org.