Monday, April 7, 2008

Case Foundation, Community Based Philanthropy

My esteemed ex-collgue from the Beaumont Foundation, Michael Smith, sent me a little reminder about the Case Foundation Make it Your Own Awards.

As if I hadn't been following such an excellent community-based example of philanthropy! It is a great example of all the innovative approaches Michael and others pioneered at the Beaumont Foundation before some smart lawyers figured out how to convert a couple hundred million dollars of public money into a private family foundation.

Case built a network of partners that solicited 5,000 ideas from individuals. No big to-do about 501-c-3 status or such, just community based ideas for creating social change. They then have engaged a wider audience of crowd-sourced philanthropists to help them make the awards.

You can participate here.

I have just one thought... if you are really trying to spur community-based ideas for community-based social change, then you need to find a way to limit the crowd-sourcing of decision makers to the community in question. This is a great idea, the PR value of tieing it to Ning and Facebook is tremendous, but empower local communities to come up with the ideas, execute the ideas and resource the ideas. That would be tremendous.

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