Global Fund for Community Foundations moves towards independence

As a ten-month consultation process aimed at exploring its future draws to an end, the Global Fund for Community Foundations – originally conceived as a three-year pilot project – is now moving towards incorporation as an independent entity.

The consultation process reached some 600 individuals, ranging from senior executives at large international funding institutions to the founders of the smallest emerging foundations in Africa. Around 80 per cent of those consulted were from low- and middle-income countries. Views were sought through an online survey, telephone interviews, specially convened meetings and informal discussions. Regionally based meetings and surveys were also organized by local partners in East Africa, Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand and Russia.

There was resounding support for the Fund, both as grantmaker and convenor. There was general acknowledgement that its primary role should be as grantmaker and that some degree of proactivity would be necessary, particularly in regions where local capacity to support community foundation development is absent. But there was also a strong feeling that the Fund should do more than make grants and should take seriously its potential role in facilitating and convening debate on local philanthropy.

While community foundations were generally accepted as the key focus of the Fund, most respondents also recognized the need for flexibility when it comes to supporting other forms of institutional philanthropy (particularly in the Global South).

On structure and governance, there were lots of creative suggestions as to how the Fund might organize structures of regional advisers and ‘fellowships’ for regional resource people while maintaining a small core staff. Regional representation on the board of trustees was also considered important, to ensure a truly ‘global’ outlook.

Following the decision of the Fund’s Incubation and Management Committees to move ahead with incorporation, board recruitment will shortly begin and legal advice on incorporation will be sought with a view to launching a new entity in early 2009.

For more information
A full version of the final consultation document can be viewed on the GFCF’s website at

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