Community Development Philanthropy

In 2017 the Center was acquired by Virginia Community Capital (VCC), a community development financial institution (CDFI), to be part of the team that launched LOCUS Impact Investing, a social enterprise with a mission to empower place-focused foundations to invest their capital locally to build prosperous, vibrant communities. The Center's community development philanthropy work and analytic tools, including Transfer of Wealth™ Opportunity Analysis, will continue to evolve and bring value to foundations as part of the broader LOCUS mission. Learn more here or by clicking the logo below. We look forward to providing a more comprehensive range of solutions for communities through this transition! You can continue to explore the Center's entrepreneurship work on this website.

We are committed to seeing more communities achieve broad-based and lasting prosperity. We want to help place-rooted foundations, like community foundations, become important partners in prosperity by embracing what we call Community Development Philanthropy (CDP).

Foundations practice Community Development Philanthropy when they address critical community issues and play integrating or missing roles to advance regional development in ways that build wealth for all, especially those at the margins.

The Center brings Empowering Research together with Community Engagement to advance Community-Driven Strategies for Prosperity. Following is a description of some of the tools, resources and services we use to support place-rooted foundations.

Empowering Research

We provide research and analysis that empowers nonprofit organizations and other community leaders to understand their assets and embrace locally based philanthropy as a way to fuel community building efforts.

Transfer of Wealth (TOW) is the process whereby one generation transfers their assets to the next generation. This typically occurs at the time of death and represents the moment when legacy giveback is the greatest. TOW most likely represents the single largest underdeveloped financial resource available to communities to support their development.

Donor Opportunity Analysis is a strategic planning tool that provides foundation executives, staff and board members with deeper understanding of their communities and the opportunities for strengthening community-based philanthropy. These powerful research tools are developed as a follow up to the Transfer of Wealth analysis. Donor Opportunity Analysis tools will help a community foundation take data-driven decision making to a whole new level by making the connections between needs, capacity and strategy. Unlike our Transfer of Wealth™ research which is intended to be made public to raise awareness around the opportunity, Donor Opportunity Analysis materials are intended for internal use by the community foundation.

Generational Diversity analysis helps your organization understand its unique generational makeup. One constant for all communities is generational change – children today grow up to become the elders of tomorrow. Understanding what defines and drives each of these influential generations will provide community leaders with the necessary insights to shape strategic planning efforts, leadership development strategies, donor and prospect development, and staff, board and volunteer recruitment and development. It will help guide community engagement strategies to insure that the current and future direction of the community is decided and guided by a group of residents who reflect not only the racial, ethnic and gender diversity of a place but also its generational diversity.

Community Engagement

Creating prosperity is not a job for a single organization or community foundation. Our decade‐long fieldwork in places as diverse as Nebraska, Appalachian Ohio, South Dakota, the Panhandle of Texas, and the Paradox Region of Colorado confirms that effective community engagement is the central component of building the capacity to envision, create and sustain strategies for prosperity. Our highly effective marketing portfolios, toolkits, and consulting services support the Center’s critically acclaimed research. These resources will strengthen community foundations’ efforts to increase endowed giving, engage a diverse group of leaders, and stimulate community investment.

Communication Tools are comprehensive communications packages that will help your foundation develop a well‐planned marketing and communications strategy to start conversations and create breakthrough opportunities around the Transfer of Wealth (TOW) research.

Community Development Philanthropy Resources help community foundations develop community affiliate strategies including assistance with community engagement. This work is provided in partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Community Strategies Group.

Strategic Planning Tools. In partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Communities Strategies Group, we can help communities and community foundations undertake strategic planning ranging from single day retreats to more engaged strategic planning processes.

TOW Toolkit helps foundation leaders present their Transfer of Wealth (TOW) opportunity to board and community leaders and to begin the tough but important conversations about capturing and investing wealth for the future.

Strategies for Prosperity

From our deep, legacy work in entrepreneur‐focused economic development to more recent work with the WealthWorks framework, the Center empowers communities to discover their own development solutions by offering a roadmap for crafting wealth‐building strategies.

Entrepreneurial Communities

Supporting area entrepreneurs is one of the most effective community‐rooted prosperity strategies. We have a comprehensive set of resources available to communities and regions including our new book, our online e2 University of resources, professional training webinars and intensive community‐based talks, workshops and institutes. These resources can help communities seeking to design and implement a more effective economic development strategy and achieve greater community impact to move forward in a smarter and more aggressive way.