Key Points

· The W. K. Kellogg Foundation funded a 10-year program of local development work in selected geographic areas in Northeast Brazil from 1997 – 2007.

· This article reports on program achievements and difficulties, and examines the ways in which the practices of the foundation facilitated and obstructed advances in the local development initiatives.

· Two main strategies were used: direct funding granted to organizations in the targeted regions and the creation of a comprehensive support system (e.g., youth projects funds, capacity-building in leadership and evaluation, and transfer of expertise from organizations).

· A team of foundation staff and consultants worked closely to create “learning communities,” using a coaching approach.

· Successes include the creation of public spaces by and for youth, increased collaboration, and the strengthening of interaction between public and civil sector organizations.

· The greatest lesson was the fundamental importance of intentional strategies to bring all three sectors together, to attract and facilitate public and private sector involvement in civil society projects for local development and poverty reduction.

Open Access