Courageous Philanthropy is a story about power, risk, equity and ownership in community change.
When transformation is needed, courage is required. This book is about taking the dare.
In the struggle to deal with large-scale disinvestment, rampant gentrification, and the unjust narrative of race and real estate, Jennifer Vanica shares the power and possibility of achieving a shift in the fundamental long-term community control over decisions and assets through the resident ownership of neighborhood change.
It is time to forge a new, more courageous relationship between foundations and the communities we serve.
A risk-taking project to develop a toxic industrial site, Market Creek was groundbreaking in its resident-driven approach, guiding principles, ownership structure, and intentional strategies for addressing power dynamics between foundations and communities. Using the lessons from this 20-year experience, Jennifer Vanica brings forward the voice of both residents and partners who participated, as well as over 50 thought-leaders in the field of philanthropy and community-building, to bring forward a comprehensive look what works and what stands in the way of change.
As a call to action for philanthropy to change historical practices that keep community change from being powerful, impactful, and enduring, Courageous Philanthropy shares tools, structures and strategies for a new way to partner that will inspire its readers to re-imagine what is possible.
What People Are Saying
“I hope that Courageous Philanthropy will be widely read and its messages about what it takes to create meaningful change are shared and adopted. They are messages of hope and possibility that are sorely needed.”
Angela Glover Blackwell
Founder in Residence, PolicyLink
“By far, this is the freshest — and most refreshingly honest — distillation of lessons and insights from the community building field. Jennifer Vanica has fearlessly opened her notebooks and generously opened her heart. Whether you are a funder, planner, practitioner, or engaged citizen, you will want to read this book.”
Emerging Markets, LLC
“I am sure that those interested in progressive community change that privileges the thought, practices, views, values and achievements of indigenous people they work with will see this book as a guide to avoid the pitfalls of white supremacy and privilege (and the arrogance that comes with it) to insure a more successful community engagement.”
Southeastern San Diego Community Resident and Member of the Market Creek IPO Evaluation Design Team
“The challenge for philanthropy, Vanica suggests, has to do with how philanthropy sees the people it hopes to serve. Can it move beyond seeing them as clients and recipients to seeing them as agents of their own future? Foundations do a good job of addressing problems in a democratic society, but puzzle over what it means to work on fundamental problems that endanger democracy itself. This book helps open the door to that discussion.”
Dr. David Mathews
President, The Kettering Foundation
“This is an amazing and powerful journey that inspired a community to create the change they wanted to see. The stories and strategies share important lessons that demonstrate the commitment and changes that people, organizations, and foundations doing community building work were willing to make. This journey transformed them and this book will transform its readers!”
Community Building Institute, The Ford Family Foundation
“We are entering a phase of public life where we must confront and make clear what is wrong. We must make more universal what people aspire to have for themselves, regardless of difference. We must build bridges and reach across the divide. Your work of engagement in the neighborhoods is more important than ever. Separateness across race, culture, ideology, and class cannot be our future. We need more Market Creeks, and we need them to be attainable and accessible.”
Center for the Study of Social Policy, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for International and Philanthropic Innovation for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
“All I can say is WOW! It is honest, moving, heartfelt, and inspiring. What a gift to the change makers of the future who will read it and a reflective tool for those who have been in the struggle. It’s a reminder of what matters.”
Milly Hawk Daniel
Vice President of Communications, PolicyLink
About the Author
Senior Fellow at PolicyLink
Jennifer Vanica is a forty-year veteran in philanthropy and community change. Under her leadership, the Jacobs Family Foundation received the Council on Foundations' Critical Impact Award for innovative and bold solutions to enhance the public good, and in 2009, Jennifer was recognized with the James Irvine Leadership Award for California leaders who are implementing innovative and effective solutions to significant state issues. She serves as a Senior Fellow at PolicyLink, writing and speaking on the power of community ownership as the key to inspired civic action and community transformation.
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