There has been a strong tradition of community philanthropy throughout the United States through “grantmaking intermediaries” or “intermediary organizations that collect money from individual donors and then grant it to charities” (Lenkowsky, 2002, p. 355). With the rise in competition, particularly with donor-advised funds, this paper focuses on two particular intermediaries, the United Way and community foundations. It explores their strengths and opportunities to enhance their relevancy, particularly by fostering civic engagement, as well as organizational shortcomings and current efforts that minimize their relevancy. The research studies two United Way organizations and two community foundations. Current efforts to maintain their distinctive values are identified, including efforts with participating in community conversations, collaborating across organizational networks, and intentional funding overlap and community collaboration. Efforts that minimize relevancy and their capacity to promote civil society include their short-term grantmaking cycles, their lack of advocacy and utilization of data to determine funding decisions, donor control over gifts, misaligned organizational structure relative to mission, and competition for the role as the community leader. Suggestions are made to heighten relevancy, particularly to enhance their capacity to leverage the unique position that they have to embody the common community vision to address social issues.
McPheeters, Heidi L.
"Community Grantmaking Intermediaries: Maintaining Relevancy in the Face of Competition,"
SPNHA Review: Vol. 9
, Article 5.
Available at: http://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/spnhareview/vol9/iss1/5