To accelerate the growth and leadership of nine small and emerging community foundations in rural areas of California
Irvine has a long history of partnering with community foundations. In 2005, we launched a second Community Foundations Initiative (CFI II) to develop philanthropic resources in regions of the state that had been underserved by philanthropy. At the heart of CFI II is a belief that community foundations can increase their credibility and raise awareness of their work among donors and the broader community by implementing a visible and thoughtful regranting program. With more recognition and investments to strengthen their own organizations, community foundations can grow faster and increase their ability to serve their communities. CFI II is a $12 million, six-year initiative with three key components: direct grants to each community foundation for core support and capacity building; an Irvine-funded regranting program to help each community foundation develop skills as a grantmaker; and a robust program of technical assistance.
The evaluation for CFI II is an integral part of the technical assistance provided to the initiative’s community foundation participants. The intended outcomes were developed by our evaluators with help from an advisory team comprised of three community foundation CEOs. Each community foundation receives annual reports on their progress to inform their efforts. The evaluators will also be highlighting lessons for the field in future publications and tools.
The evaluation assesses how participation in CFI II develops the capacity of the community foundation grantees in terms of asset development, community grantmaking, donor engagement, strategic management, board governance, and other priority areas. Developing strengths in these areas is expected to increase the ability of these emerging community foundations to mobilize community resources.
Nine community foundations received initial three-year grants under CFI II, and in 2008, seven of these organizations received an additional three years of support. Current participants are:
This evaluation involves analyzing grantee financial data, qualitative narrative reports, self-assessment surveys, interviews with community foundation leaders, and consultation with technical assistance providers.
The evaluator provides annual reports on CFI II to the Foundation and the grantee cohort. The most recent report provides an update as of year-end 2008 which shows how these community foundations are faring amid the economic downturn.
The lessons learned by our grantee partners are captured in the Irvine Community Foundations Series.