Showing posts from December, 2018

Engaged Grantmaking: Collaborating with Communities

More funders are finding ways to promote the voice and leadership of the communities they partner with and serve by engaging them in the grantmaking process. This process, often referred to as participatory grantmaking, helps shifts the traditional power imbalances that exist in philanthropy by engaging the grantees who are affected by the issues that funding is addressing in the decision-making process for grants. For some foundations, this means including grantees in the process for setting priorities, developing strategies, conducting research, and sitting on boards or advisory councils. While others are using various elements of participatory grantmaking approach based on what their institutions, polices, and structures will allow. At the core of this practice is understanding that those closest to the issue, including those with lived experience, have the knowledge the solve the challenges. In the last year, the McCormick Foundation’s Communities Program embarked on its o

A Garden Colonel McCormick Would Have Loved

When military veterans gather at Cantigny it’s usually in or outside the newly renovated First Division Museum, a monument to those who served. But during the growing season you’ll now find some veterans behind the park’s massive greenhouse as well. They come to learn, and they come to grow. It’s mostly about vegetables, but also camaraderie and mutual support. Welcome to the Veterans Garden at Cantigny, located between the greenhouse and Roosevelt Road. Established in 2016, regular visitors would never know it’s there. The garden is a fenced-in series of circular raised beds, or “pods,” where local veterans from various eras—usually about a dozen—spend Saturday mornings getting their hands dirty and sharing stories about their service time or anything else that comes up. This is social gardening at its best. Along the way, the vets produce some mighty fine tomatoes, peppers, squash, carrots, beans, beets and zucchini. To be sure, it’s not beginners luck. The green-thumb wanna