Key Points

This article suggests that economic development philanthropy is a new domain for place-rooted foundations, and highlights the important system-actor role that these foundations can and are playing to advance economic development that produces better outcomes for families and communities.

Economic development philanthropy requires foundations to play integrating or missing roles to advance regional economic development – that they act to fill gaps that other organizations and agencies in the community or region are not addressing. To ensure that a foundation is playing this value-added role requires identifying what others are doing and the outcomes they are seeking or achieving – thereby clarifying the gaps and leverage points in the system.

This article also offers some initial insights into what it will take to build a movement of place-rooted foundations embracing social entrepreneurship to advance an economy that works well for all, and encourages continued discussion of the role that place-rooted foundations can play in that movement.

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