McCook volunteers receive masterclass in effective grantmaking

McCook Community Foundation Fund members recently received a crash course in identifying local abundance through three Impact Planning workshop sessions—a masterclass in effective grantmaking.

The training, led by Nebraska Community Foundation staff, emphasized fostering connections that extend beyond the transactional and into the transformational. Facilitators encouraged volunteers to continually build relationships and awareness in their communities to set the stage for future success.

“A huge part of grantmaking is relationship building, and I think we need to take that to the next level by staying in contact with grantees even after they’ve received and spent their funds,” said FAC member and training attendee Tricia Wagner.

Throughout the training, attendees held a magnifying glass up to their community, turning over every stone to piece together a comprehensive portrait of the place they call home. An integral portion of the training was a lesson on the philosophical foundation of the NCF network, Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD). The framework, developed by John L. McKnight and John P. Kretzmann at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University, establishes a bottom-up method of working with communities that focuses on existing strengths rather than deficiencies. To learn more about ABCD, watch this video from the NCF Classroom.

Attendees learned to focus on assets their community already has in abundance, as well as the importance of inviting everyone to the table – especially voices that may have been overlooked in the past. To get the conversation started, Nebraska Community Foundation compiled a data snapshot of the community.

“The data provided by NCF was a huge help in better understanding McCook’s residents,” Wagner said. “I believe the greatest outcomes in a community stem from a foundation of data and personal experience. This is something we were able to establish in our Impact Planning.”

Wagner and her peers left the trainings with a fresh vision of how to impact their community based on its residents’ collective needs. Through grantmaking, leadership development, and fund development, volunteers will strive to work with residents to build relationships rooted in trust.

Wagner and others believe efforts to build a Greater Nebraska should be community-led and community-owned. She is confident MCFF volunteers can make that happen.

“The committee is a diverse group, but one thing is the same for each person—their commitment and passion for the community.”

Prior to the Impact Planning process, NCF affiliated funds should complete Action Planning or an Action Planning update. Action Planning is a process designed to help FACs that are serious about growing their unrestricted endowments. FACs will host a town hall visioning session facilitated by NCF staff and peer mentors and use input from their community to write vision, mission, and values statements. Volunteers will investigate their community’s Transfer of Wealth data, set goals for their community unrestricted endowment, and commit to action steps. Action Planning is conducted over three 3-hour sessions over a span of six weeks to three months.

To learn more about or begin Action or Impact Planning, reach out to your Affiliated Fund Development Coordinator.

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