Philanthropy is most effective when people involve themselves in the improvement of their communities. This engagement frequently includes outreach to individuals upon whom funders rely to inform them about those they wish to help. Unfortunately, some nonprofit organizations are not directly connected to the people they serve; instead, they represent representatives. As a consequence, the disenfranchised often have little engagement with the foundations created to help them.
Philanthropic organizations should work directly with people in the communities
To achieve more success in bettering health outcomes, philanthropic organizations need to work with community organizers without intermediaries. By doing so, these charitable organizations can better understand the communities they wish to support. The philanthropies will then be better able to assist people by using the guiding principles of the community.
Many nonprofit organizations have close connections with the people they serve, and the actual end-users, disenfranchised people, frequently have minimal engagement with foundations. Therefore, philanthropic organizations must understand and make use of community engagement, becoming aware of the community’s most significant concerns so they can address these needs to those who serve their people. Fortunately, several organizations focus upon the needs of those they assist and can use the support of generous people.
Based in New York, Child Find works to prevent child abductions. Besides working to locate children already taken, this organization offers classes on conflict resolution. It also provides resources for defusing situations that could lead to kidnapping. Child Find is a worthy organization to support as 92 percent of its budget is spent on programs that directly further its mission.
Unfortunately, donors wishing to fund disenfranchised communities often must acknowledge the roles of class and race in certain philanthropic organizations. One group that is only concerned with health and social improvement is the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland. This organization has leaders who engage with the community and give residents a voice to enable change from an area of poverty and poor health outcomes.
Created by residents in 2008, the initiative mentors and empowers boys of color to be leaders in their community and help improve conditions of blighted property surrounding public housing. The youth now owns two plots of land, are master gardeners, and have started a market garden that has grown from selling produce to a few local nonprofits to partnerships with surrounding hospitals. This foundation funds BHC’s programmatic work and supports the organizational building.