Courageous Philanthropy is by far the freshest distillation of lessons and insights from the community building field.”

- Eldwood Hopkins, Emerging Markets, LLC


We are think-partners, coaches, and facilitators with a mission of building communities of change.

With an award-winning track record in building teams that are inclusive, innovative, and can achieve inspired action, VanicaCummings works with you to develop the culture, teamwork, and participatory process for giving voice to the wisdom, experience, and creativity of your stakeholders.

What We Do

Our mission is to unleash the power and capacity of people to create change.

Sharing Lessons

We write, blog, present, and engage the philanthropic and community building fields in expending the conversation about innovative structures and strategies for accelerating inspired social change.

Stakeholder Strategies

We co-design ways to lift the vision and voice of your stakeholders, as well as manage and support large-scale teamwork.

Participitory Planning

We facilitate and train teams in an inclusive process to unleash people's natural creativity and problem-solving and encourage teams to dream big, break through, and own the plan.

Capacity Building & Resources

We coach stakeholder teams in strengthening their organizations and mobilizing the resources needed to put wheels under bold ideas.

Who We Are

jennifer vanica

Jennifer Vanica

Author of "Courageous Philanthropy: Going Public in a Closely Held World"

Jennifer’s experience spans the country, from grassroots organizing and non-profit planning to the development of public-private partnerships and multi-million dollar campaigns. Known as an innovator and implementor, Jennifer speaks widely on topics that range from women in leadership to financing neighborhood revitalization.

ron cummings

Ron Cummings

Community Change Leader

Ron’s experience ranges from program design, team development, and teaching to running large multi-service youth, foster care, and juvenile justice organizations. Ron is a “values guy” known for encouraging teams, and loves working with leaders who understand that getting to inspired action starts with the culture of the organization.

Our Work

Our Approach

Enduring change is deeply rooted in the will, motivation, and expectations of people and is energized by working across disciplines, sectors, areas of interest, cultures, and ages. By working in teams across natural boundaries, groups begin to see the world in a new way, open up to new risks, and think freely about innovative strategies that can be tested. When people combine their wisdom and know-how, they can address real issues and achieve lasting change.

village center meeting
  1. We bring an uncompromising commitment to inclusion.
  2. We start where you are and build on what you have.
  3. We work in teams and carve out creative space for the natural problem-solving of people to emerge.
  4. We use tools that engage people and are accessible, fast, participatory, and fun.
  5. We focus on the skills and process for achieving a shared vision by moving quickly from plans to action.

Get Involved

Keep In Touch

We would love to keep in touch and join the conversation. We know that change happens when leaders, community members, and stakeholders are involved. Join us to share work and stay connected.