For the first time ever, community foundations from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico held a summit in Mexico City last week – to discuss common concerns and strategies, and how we can work together. My mind is overflowing with inspiration ideas, questions and plans.
Following are three projects which have fired my imagination.
Community Foundations are all about improving quality of life, equity, social capital, and strengthening our social fabric, our “connectedness.” That means addressing many different issues and how they’re interrelated. In 2015, the United Nations created a framework called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to help us think and talk about those big goals – and the smaller goals to help us achieve the big ones. Importantly, the goals were developed in an inclusive process, engaging hundreds of thousands of people across the world.
The result is a set of 17 specific, measurable goals, with 169 identifiable and achievable targets, in areas such as poverty, hunger, gender equality, health, energy, climate change, and equality.
Sixty-four countries are already voluntarily reporting their progress; over 9,500 companies are signatories on a compact, pledging commitment to the SDGs; more than 65 mayors have agreed to implement them. The goals haven’t taken root in Delaware yet, but the framework – while massive – can provide a valuable touchstone for the work many of us engage in. Many community foundations around the globe have adopted one or another of the goals to guide their work.
And here’s amazing very cool way to start. The Foundation Center’s Indicator Wizard allows us to enter our goals – the things we’re working on here in Delaware – and it will identify which of the SDGs we fit in – and what the global targets are. Check it out.
Mapping the Latino and Hispanic communities in our region. The Boston Foundation, working in collaboration with a new initiative of CFLeads, (funded by the Inter-American Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation), has developed a powerful map of the Latino community in their region. Where is their Latino population from? What countries and cities? What kind of work are the communities involved in, what education levels, what needs?
The results are inspiring new projects, new funds, and new focus areas for that foundation.
The mapping itself is a model we are going to look at here in Delaware as we begin to focus in on the needs and interests of our own fast-growing Latino community.
Finally… On the Table. I’ve been terribly impressed by these community conversation “On the Table” projects – which have been organized by community foundations in dozens of cities across the U.S. The model – citizens hosting discussions about whatever matters – is deeply important. It re-introduces the idea that all of our voices matter, and the fundamental concept that talking with each other will help us become community again. The project in Chicago is most impressive. Last May almost 100,000 Chicago-area folks participated through social media, at workshops, or mealtime conversations. Philadelphia held their first on the table last spring, at which over 150 host locations brought people together. I hope we’ll be able to share more about this idea in the future. (If you’re interested in thinking about this, too, let me know.)
There are endless opportunities for good work, and boundless good ideas, and we’re keeping our eyes open for projects that will help us sharpen our DelawareFocus indicators website, and make a difference in the state. These three are certainly in the discussion.