[quote]“Capacity building is any activity that strengthens a non-profit’s ability to do its best work”[/quote]
The Community Foundation believes that strong communities need a strong nonprofit sector to support them. The health of the businesses that nurture our children, feed the hungry, treat the sick, teach citizens to be more engaged in civic life, encourage creativity and artistic endeavors, and so much more is an important piece of making our community a great place to live, work and play. We also believe that good decisions are based on data.
In 2013, we offered area nonprofit organizations an opportunity to gauge their own strengths and challenges. Forty-eight organizations participated and their aggregated results are now available in our Path to Impact Report. The study has been a great learning experience for the Community Foundation and our colleague nonprofits. We have each gained insight into our individual strengths and challenges, as well as those we share. By seeking out and supporting learning opportunities that address common needs, we will grow together.
The Community Foundation recently launched the Path to Impact Capacity Building Program in response to the nonprofit sector’s request for more assistance with building organizational capacity. The Community Foundation’s Path to Impact Capacity Building Program has three components:
- Nonprofit Educational Seminars The Community Foundation will present topics and design presentations for our ongoing nonprofit workshop series to address areas of weakness and concern expressed in the Path to Impact study. Offerings will be balanced between addressing specific technical skills (fundraising, board development, IT), and larger-picture organizational development topics (leadership development or program evaluation). Seminars are held twice a year in the spring and fall. Please check our events page for dates and topics.
- Peer Learning Groups The Community Foundation will form peer learning groups twice a year composed of up to 12 organizations (one representative per organization) for more in-depth study of a Path to Impact topic area. We will provide professional facilitation of the group, which will meet once a month for six months. The deliverable of this group will be a specific action plan for each participant organization. Preference for inclusion in this group will be given to organizations that participated in the Path to Impact study. If slots are still available, we will accept additional applications. All organizations that are accepted into the Peer Learning Group must complete the CCAT assessment. We are currently accepting applications for Winter 2015 Peer Learning Group on the topic of fundraising. For information on how to participate click here.
- Capacity Building Grants Based on the results of each learning group, a pool of funds will be made available to give capacity-building grants to some group participants. Fundable projects will focus on capacity needs that demonstrate alignment with the organization’s CCAT results and the results of their work in the peer learning group. The application period will be rolling, but open for a limited time after the group’s life, and subject to the limits of funds available. More details will be made available while the group is in progress.
We will continue to update this page as information is released and new programming is announced.
Click here for the latest blog post on Path to Impact.
Click here for the John Brother’s presentation on interpreting the CCAT report
Click here for information on the CCAT assessment and the Path to Impact study
Click here for the report, Hearing the Heart of the Matter: Listening to and Learning from Grant Recipients [PDF]