Community Network Building:What It Is, What It Takes, and Why It Matters for Place-Based Funders February 21, 2012
Grassroots Grantmaking A grantmaking strategy that includes small grants and a highly relational style of grantmaking to: Address local priorities helping people tackle the challenges they define as most important. Build civic capacityhelping people discover, claim and develop their place as active citizens in a living democracy. Strengthen community resilience fostering the people to people connections that enable a community to bounce back when faced with challenges and “make hay” during the good times.
Learning Objectives • What is community network building? And how does it differ from other types of network building and more traditional community organizing approaches? • As funders, how do we spot organizations or people who are gifted community network builders – or are positioned to play an important community network building role? • What are the primarily challenges that innovative community network builders face? And assuming that one of these challenges involves money, how can we best position our funding relationship with community network builders so that we are truly helpful? • Is it appropriate for funders to embrace community network building practices? Or is community network building best done by community residents and community-based non-profits?
Introducing Frankie Blackburn Bill Traynor
Community Network Builders Miami - November 2011
A Definition of Community Network Builders “Seasoned leaders and change agents working locally to build new networks of relationships across class, race, geographic, professional and other boundaries that otherwise hamper effective progress and functionality in our towns, cities and rural areas. These new networks are designed to unleash the kind of creative and optimistic energy – and a more effective functionality – needed to tackle tough challenges and drive positive community change in the 21st Century.
Five Core Aspects • Creating Intentional Space • Cultivating Aspirations and Diverse Connections in these Spaces • Stewards Who Inhabit the Spaces as Human Beings • Flexible Forms and Containers for Space Cultivation and Operation • Understanding Value of Spaces Together through Stories
Our primary intervention as community network builders is to create, protect and preserve intentional community spaces that help people weave a community fabric of relationships, co-investment and action.
Well designed and effectively stewarded spaces that feed the aspirational energy of residents can unleash significant capacity for creative local solutions and cultivate important new connections across class, ethnic and racial, geographic and generational divides.
As stewards of these intentional spaces, we must lead from within. This means we must fully inhabit these spaces ourselves and expose our own questions and vulnerabilities and work to diminish the impact of positional power on the co-investment process.
The forms needed to support this work must be more flexible, less boundaried and more adaptable than traditional community-based organizations.
The case for supporting community network building is clear to practitioners, but needs a relationship-based approach to engaging funders, policy makers and others in co-creating a data/narrative for external case making.
Trusted Space PartnersDesigning Pivotal Moments for a More Connected World Frankie Blackburn and Bill Traynor 8605 Cedar St. Silver Spring, MD 20910 http://trustedspace.wordpress.com