Triangle Community Foundation invests in capacity-building

DURHAM, N.C. — Triangle Community Foundation is investing $53,400 to strengthen the operations and effectiveness of 22 local nonprofits that have shown success in youth literacy and community development.

The grants, which range from $2,500 to $5,000 and represent the first phase of a new “People and Places” community funding program at the Foundation, will pay for organizational assessments for the nonprofits.

Each assessment will focus on the organization’s mission, vision and strategy; governance and leadership; program delivery and impact; strategic relationships; resource development; and internal operations and management.

Nonprofits receiving grants also will take part in a six-month effort to learn from one another and participate in workshops facilitated by Durham consulting group Frontline Solutions that will focus on collaboration, communication and evaluation.

The next phase of the program will include capacity-building grants for eligible nonprofits.

Those grants, to be awarded this summer, will be used to put into effect strategies that will be developed during the assessments and designed improve the nonprofits’ organizational effectiveness.

The Foundation developed its new community grants program, including its initial focus on capacity building for nonprofits that focus on youth literacy and community development, based on regional data and recommendations from community leaders and funders.

“The statistics are staggering,” says Lori O’Keefe, the Foundation’s president. “Research shows that students who struggle to read by grade three are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma.”

In the Triangle, roughly one in five children lives in poverty, “without the tools they need to succeed,” she says.

“Investing in students at an early age and concentrating on comprehensive approaches to address basic human needs,” she says, “will ensure that our community continues to grow and thrive – now and for generations to come.”

Nonprofit partners focusing on youth literacy that have been awarded assessment grants include Book Harvest; Communities in Schools of Wake County for its elementary school Graduation Coaches collaborative; Frankie Lemmon School; The Hill Center; Kidznotes; Learning Together; Marbles Kids Museum; Read and Feed; Wake Education Partnership; and YMCA of the Triangle for its Y Learning collaborative.

Nonprofit partners focusing on community development include Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh; Community Empowerment Fund; Compass Center for Women and Families; Dress for Success Triangle NC; Durham Economic Resource Center for its adult literacy collaborative; Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network; Healing with CAARE; Hispanic Liaison of Chatham County; Housing for New Hope for its rapid re-housing collaborative; Passage Home; Student Action with Farmworkers for its farmworker advocacy network collaborative; and Triangle Family Services.

Todd Cohen

[Note: I am working with Triangle Community Foundation as senior communications adviser.]

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