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Fighting intergenerational poverty

The Grays Harbor Community Foundation is pleased to announce that it has officially approved a contract for consulting and data-gathering services with Washington Nonprofits, a statewide support and advocacy organization for the nonprofit sector. They plan to take the first step in addressing intergenerational poverty through their shared work.

The Grays Harbor Community Foundation was named a partner of the “Building Community Philanthropy” Initiative by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in September of 2013. This is a statewide initiative where 19 communities, most spearheaded by community foundations, United Ways or a partnership of both, have been chosen to participate in a learning collaboration and engage their communities to address intergenerational poverty, strengthen nonprofit networks and expand community philanthropy’s role in building strong communities.

Since embarking on the “Building Community Philanthropy” Initiative last fall, staff and board members of the Community Foundation have facilitated and participated in countless conversations with community leaders, citizen groups, nonprofit organizations and donors to gather information about this crucial topic and how it applies to our community. Following these conversations the board of directors of the Grays Harbor Community Foundation held a strategic planning session to discuss the overall direction and goals of the foundation, and how they might work in conjunction with and complementary to the work of BCP.

The Grays Harbor Community Foundation is in a unique position to bring many stakeholders together to have a common discussion about what intergenerational poverty looks like in our area, the problems it creates and how to address the symptoms as well as the underlying causes of those issues.

The Community Foundation is looking forward to learning more about the true issues inside the community it serves and incorporating those findings into current and future grant-making practices. Strong, connected and educated networks between both organizations and individuals are the key to making an impact, and GHCF is working to strengthen those connections.

Immediately following the strategic planning session, Grays Harbor Community Foundation board and staff members attended the bi-annual convening of BCP Partners in Seattle where they learned about resources such as Washington Nonprofits and how the foundation might engage their services in support of our efforts.

Taking the information gathered from the community conversations, board goals and structure of the BCP Initiative, GHCF staff and board members worked with Rick Anderson, a consultant from Washington Nonprofits to formulate a scope of work that would help the Foundation move forward.

The Proposal includes five tasks to be completed and then individually evaluated by GHCF staff and board before moving forward to the next task to ensure goals and expectations are being met. The scope of work largely addresses a theme that was constant in community conversations — “What resources do we have that are already here in Grays Harbor?” and “What might be missing in the resources available?” Washington Nonprofits will work to gather, organize and present data in a meaningful way that will facilitate future conversations at the foundation board level, as well as within our community.

The Grays Harbor Community Foundation is hopeful that beginning this work with Washington Nonprofits and our community partners will begin to paint a comprehensive picture of the environment in which we live and work. Addressing a topic such as intergenerational poverty will take careful planning, open communication and time, but it is vital to the continued growth and success of our community.

To learn more about the Grays Harbor Community Foundation, visit its website at www.gh-cf.org, or contact the office at 360-532-1600 or info@gh-cf.org.

Jim Daly is the executive director of the Grays Harbor Community Foundation.