“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.
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.
We co-design ways to lift the vision and voice of your stakeholders, as well as manage and support large-scale teamwork.
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
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.
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.
What People Are Saying
“I’ve always been awed by Jennifer and Ron’s deep knowledge, passion, humility, and risk-taking spirit as well as the pace-setting role they have played in the place-based community change field. For more than a decade, their work to engage and empower communities was — without question — the cutting edge work in the country.”
President, Applied Management and Organizational Services
“Your leadership and your vision have been so important for me, for PolicyLink, and for the field. You have succeeded at accomplishing just what you described as your goal — you developed and implemented a new vision for authentic community engagement and for how philanthropy can be a force for equity, inclusion, and innovation.”
Former President, PolicyLink
“Working with Jennifer and Ron has been nothing short of transformative. They translate decades of on-the-ground experience into tangible, replicable strategies for catalyzing and sustaining resident-led community change — which I believe has the power to alter the way the entire field approaches neighborhood revitalization.”
Former Director of Community Building, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Atlanta Civic Site
“Their approach is powerful, honest and sincere. Ron and Jennifer have unique skills driven by passion and tempered by reason. They identify community assets, respect culture and values, and support the strong will of community-driven movements. They stand beside stakeholders with divergent views producing groundbreaking results and creating a foundation for sustainable community change. They are innovators in the field.”
Executive Director, Neighbors Acting Together Helping All
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.
- We bring an uncompromising commitment to inclusion.
- We start where you are and build on what you have.
- We work in teams and carve out creative space for the natural problem-solving of people to emerge.
- We use tools that engage people and are accessible, fast, participatory, and fun.
- We focus on the skills and process for achieving a shared vision by moving quickly from plans to action.