What are community initiatives?
Too often we use words or phrases in philanthropy that sound like mumbo jumbo. We just get excited!
At Manatee Community Foundation, we lead or participate in a number of “community initiatives.” It’s important work that goes beyond the grant dollars and can have an even bigger impact.
Community initiatives come in all shapes and sizes, but they are designed to help improve outcomes, communication, or collaboration around broad and systemic issues.
When shaped with intentionality, they bring diverse people together for important conversations, initiate partnerships for funding or brain power, and most importantly, can help people get to gains more quickly. A few examples at work in Manatee County include:
- Foster Care Initiative
This initiative brings together nonprofits, government agencies and funders in child welfare to better understand and support the well-being of children who have been removed from their parents, prevent removals, and improve permanency in the 12th Judicial Circuit (Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties).
- Suncoast Campaign for Grade Level Reading
The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a four-county effort in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties to help children from birth through third grade, especially those from asset-limited families, succeed in life by ensuring they read on grade level.
- REACH Manatee
This local network connects the School District, local colleges and universities, nonprofits, businesses and funders to increase post-secondary attainment in Manatee County. It is estimated that 60% of jobs will require education after school by 2030. In Manatee County, our current percentage is 46%.
Effective work in these areas requires many perspectives and voices around the table, starting with the people who should receive the ultimate benefit–children, families or students, for example.