Convene, Connect, Endow: Community foundations in the 21st century

Peter Hero

As the community foundation movement grows, so its capacity to effect change increases. To do so, however, it must itself be prepared to change and be responsive to new philanthropic trends. It should not rely solely on traditional endowment-building, but should use its local influence and leverage in a three-part strategy to convene, connect and endow.

What follows falls into three parts. I’d first like to discuss several significant trends which I believe are affecting philanthropy globally, simply to set some context for where we are now, nearly 100 years after the first community foundation was created. I want then, based on 17 years growing a community foundation in Silicon Valley, to discuss some new and emerging dimensions of community foundation civic engagement. I don’t pretend that Silicon Valley is exactly like Glasgow or Aberystwyth, but I am suggesting that each community foundation’s unique capacity to convene, connect and endow – in the broadest sense of these terms – represents an opportunity for you to grow your foundation more vigorously and, far more important, to better serve your communities here.

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