Everything is Local for Grantmaking Boards

All Aboard: Grantmaking Boards Turn to Community for Leadership

“We have provided opportunities to increase the education, participation, support, visibility and generation of giving in our community. We appreciate the number of nonprofits and funding organizations that have taken a seat at our table.” – Jodi Turner, co-chair of Foundation For Black Philanthropy

Trend: FFTC’s affiliates see the benefits of dedicated local grantmaking boards that understand their communities’ needs.

In an era when local engagement is paramount, volunteer grantmaking boards have taken center stage in making charitable investments that resonate with their communities. This trend highlights a shift in the way philanthropy and community development are approached – recognizing that the people who live, work and engage with the community are the ones who hold the most profound understanding of its intricate challenges.

Take the Foundation’s 13-county region, for instance: Each of our regional affiliates has its own local grantmaking board of advisors, made up of local leaders who live and work in the community the affiliate serves. When nonprofits across the region apply for the grants our affiliates offer, it’s the proactive involvement and insights of local board members that ensures grant decisions align closely with the needs and aspirations of the very communities they serve.

At Foundation For The Carolinas, we’ve seen many examples in the years since the pandemic, but two stand out: The work of the boards from our Foundation For Black Philanthropy and Cherokee County Community Foundation.

Local Wisdom for Lasting Impact

“Who takes better care of home than someone who lives there or in close proximity?” said Jodi Turner, co-chair of Foundation For Black Philanthropy’s board of advisors. FFBP is an affiliate of Foundation For The Carolinas that supports nonprofits serving the local Black community. It has grown to new prominence since 2020, thanks to a more engaged board of directors and support from FFTC.

“The nonprofit organizations we have been able to support over the years have provided so many important services to our community. We are thankful for the opportunities we have to support their efforts.” – Charles Wyatt, chair of CCCF’s board of advisors

Turner emphasized the profound significance of local presence in shaping decisions that bear upon a region or community: No one tends to the home better than those who dwell within it or in close proximity. It’s the residents, intimately acquainted with the nuances of their communities, who possess an unparalleled understanding of the pressing needs, inherent strengths and challenges.

Fueled by Local Dedication

The Cherokee County Community Foundation was established as a permanent endowment at FFTC in 1994 by local leaders to encourage philanthropy and mobilize resources to tackle local challenges. Through a steadfast commitment to local decision-making, the foundation has been instrumental in effecting positive change and addressing pressing needs within Cherokee County, S.C.

CCCF was founded, in part, by civic leader and the late Trustee Emeritus, John Travers – the general manager at Timken’s roller bearings plant in Gaffney for two decades. The Timken Company – the global manufacturer started by the Timken family, members of which began the Timken Foundation – has a plant in Gaffney and has helped support local nonprofits for nearly 50 years.

To continue reading our 2022-2023 annual report, visit: here.