Catalysts for Change: 21st Century Philanthropy and Community Development (Community Development Research and Practice Series)

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9780415683234: Catalysts for Change: 21st Century Philanthropy and Community Development (Community Development Research and Practice Series)
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Winner of the Community Development Society's 2014 Current Research Award!

21st Century Philanthropy and Community fills a gap in the literature on philanthropic organizations and how they intertwine with community development. Drawing first on the history of philanthropic funding, Maria Martinez-Cosio and Mirle Bussell look at developments in the last twenty years in detail, focussing on five key case studies from across America.  The authors use their own first hand experiences and research to forge a new path for academic research in an area where it has been lacking.

With the current economic climate forcing shrewd spending, foundations need all the guidance they can find on how to appropriately channel their funds in the best way. But how can these sorts of community projects be analyzed for effectiveness? Is there a quantitative rather than qualitative element which can be studied to give real feedback to those investing in projects? Arguing against a one-size-fits-all model, the authors illustrate the importance of context and relationships in the success of these projects.

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"Catalysts for Change is a magnificent addition to the Comprehensive Community Initiative (CCI) literature. Martinez-Cosio and Bussell’s book is one of the first to contextualize placed-based development initiatives in the United States by thoroughly assessing the history of the complex relationship between community development and private foundation-led efforts. Moreover, this work takes CCIs into the 21st century by demonstrating how relevant they are today through two powerful narratives of neighborhood change. This is a must read for scholars, practitioners, policy makers, and students interested in understanding the complexities of promoting urban neighborhood revitalization." ― Derek Hyra, Associate Professor, Urban Affairs and Planning, Virginia Tech, and author, The New Urban Renewal: The Economic Transformation of Harlem and Bronzeville

"This important contribution accelerates the discussion of community development through the singular lens of foundations. Too frequently, foundations are only seen as a financial spigot. The authors define complex terms like community development, participation, public-private partnerships, and collaboration in real time and settings. Their detailed case studies of two family foundations in San Diego, California―Price Charities and The Jacobs Family Foundation―lend resonance to debates about the role government plays in the face of neglect and poverty. After decades of retrenchment, amid cities declaring bankruptcy, and increasing budget cuts, the authors raise questions that go to the very heart of the debate over values about the public realm. Within the many examples of foundations, different institutional arrangements, processes, and philosophies, they tease out the nuances. The authors offer a variety of methodologies to understand the range of foundation engagement as well as pitfalls that can arise from lack of communication, transparency, and accountability in any situation where money and power are at stake. Their reiteration of the centrality of context does not lose sight of the work people in a community do to improve their neighborhoods. Using systems theory, they foreground the different issues that go beyond any one area such as housing or jobs or health and create an analysis that shows the fit between issues and among foundations, residents, developers, property owners, bureaucrats, planners, policymakers, and organizers." ― Jacqueline Leavitt, Professor, Department of Urban Planning, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

"With its case studies, this work provides real-life examples of both best practices and mistakes to avoid in comprehensive community development work. These examples provide an advantage to the reader over other texts that might be lacking in resources for the practitioner." – Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Amy Blackford, Purdue University, USA

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