March 11, 2009

Craig McGarvey on "We Begin with Residents"

Most of the funders that I know who think big about small grants practice grassroots grantmaking - grantmaking that is done from a "we begin with residents" perspective.

Grassroots Grantmakers, the network of funders in the United States and Canada who work this way, recently hosted a topical conference call to introduce a wonderful new resource - GrantCraft's new guide to Funding Community Organizing. Craig McGarvey was with us for that call.

Craig worked with GrantCraft to design and create this new guide. Craig is also one of the most thoughtful, insightful people I know. When Craig served as Program Director in Civic Culture with the James Irvine Foundation, his work was recognized by the Council on Foundations with the Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking. In the years since his work with the Irvine Foundation, Craig has continued to bring his fresh thinking to philanthropy via consulting relationships with organizations such as GrantCraft.

During our topical call, Craig talked about funding community organizing, an essential part of grassroots grantmaking, and stressed the importance of working with ideas that come from community residents rather than foundation meeting rooms. Since this was Craig talking, and since this perspective is so central to grassroots grantmaking that we adopted "we begin with residents" as the tag-line for our network, we wanted to hear more.
  • What makes working this way so hard for funders?
  • If working this way leads to better results, why isn't more funding done this way?

Click here to see what Craig has to say about funding from a "we begin with residents" perspective and why what sounds so easy is so challenging. And weigh in here with a comment to keep the conversation going.

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