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Emerging opportunitiesand tensions incommunity foundations’development in the UKThe lens of localismProfessor Jenny Harrow
The rediscovery of localism
Community Foundations in the UKpolicy context• Geographically embeddedphilanthropic organisationswith geographicalorganisational identities andan inherent focus on place• Predestined as communityleaders?Source: http://www.communityfoundations.org.uk/community_foundations/map/
Method• Documentary analysis• Semi-structuredinterviews• 12 CEs in England• Chosen from spectrum ofsize and age• Thematic analysis
Themes from the literature• Articulation of the strength of the CF model• Flexibility and transferability of the model• Optimism vs Negativity• Role of state/private foundations• Key roles of community leadership: leader,intermediary and overseer
Growing sense of independence,prioritised over place…• “ (This is the) first year now that we have 75% private funding, finally feel this iswhat being a community foundation is about – our focus now is on philanthropy….have a policy for when we do and do not go for European and Governmentfunding – our organisational emphasis from this point onwards is philanthropy”• “in a way we should be invisible intermediaries, (the) glory should be of thegroups we support – but the trouble with (being an) invisible intermediary as agrant-maker is that it makes it difficult to effectively fundraise for endowment –”• “ for 12 years, a grant-maker no endowment building – in 2009 £180,000 inendowment (before grassroots challenge) – Grassroots challenge was lift offmoment! …achieved matched funding, now £3m plus in endowment. It generateda completely different mindset about what a community foundation should be’ -(we have) confidence from the endowment.”
…and:• “In terms of public policy, how do you choose what to stand up for?.... needs of small groupsthat will always be the case , so the continued need for grant making, but diificul to choseareas to prioritise in a policy sense – stick with the more general issues…fairness, equity”• “the grassroots grant fund was not linked to deprivation in any way - challenge for CFSindividually is knowing quite where to start with the community aspect or the philanthropyaspect – we still have to reflect the broad range of opinions on giving and community needsin our localities”• “ the council have decided to prioritise children and young people – not to say that we don’tsupport that area – but should we fund another area where there are cuts or should we fundwhat we think local need determines?”• With relations with local authorities particularly challenging, ranging from the CF which “hasa hot desk at the town hall”, to the CF which ““tries and stay away from local governmentunless it’s strategic relevance, ……we drop in when we need to”
Different notions of place andplace leadershipFrom: Jung, Harrow and Phillips (2013),Developing a better understanding of community foundations in the UK’s localism, Policy & Politics
Differentiated conceptualisations of place andplace leadership in UK community foundationsFrom: Jung, Harrow and Phillips (2013),Developing a better understanding of community foundations in the UK’s localism, Policy & Politics
Reflections I• Interpretations of localismproducing contrasting foci forcommunity foundations• Internal, continuous andconvergent struggle• Complex interplay betweenroles
Reflections II• Question of necessity/ viability of a single/singular notion of community foundations• Question if the English/Welsh predominanceof endowment building might be limiting andchallenging the multi-purpose nature of thecommunity foundation model
The road ahead…• Reframing of what communityfoundations are away from ‘the agileservant’ perspective?• Potential (positive/negative) forincreasing institutional competition?• Schism between small communityfoundations and über-foundations?• Sense of ‘conditional localism’?