A Path Less Traveled

Reflections on Making Connections

Posted January 2, 2009
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
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Any philanthropy wants an investment of tens of millions of dollars over 10 years in 10 cities to yield some results. That was Casey’s thinking as it broke with convention and assigned senior-level staff to manage local teams in grantee cities for the Making Connections initiative, one of the largest and longest-running initiatives of any national foundation involving poverty-related issues. This report shows what staff leaders, as well as the Foundation itself, learned about this nontraditional approach to a long-term, community change venture.

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations

Key Takeaway

Using staff as site team leaders was intentional

An intermediary organization – the traditional way to staff an initiative on the ground – could not have given the Foundation the kind of unfiltered knowledge it needed to move the work forward. In addition, the Foundation did not want to alienate potential allies and champions of the work by awarding a big grant to one local organization over another.