For HCF, this was the decade that launched strategic philanthropy, as we moved toward proactive, planned, focused use of our burgeoning resources. The generous Young family gift prompted us to reach out in a broad community consultation and best practices review to determine the most useful way to play the community foundation’s unique position.
The findings clearly demonstrated that neighbourhoods were the key to developing Hamilton’s strengths and vitality. We launched the Growing Roots…Strengthening Neighbouhoods initiative in 2002 and have proved the power of small grants and leadership development to help the city’s most challenged neighbourhoods identify and build on their assets.
Working side-by-side with the people who best knew their neighbourhoods and its needs– the people who lived there — this approach uncovered safer, beautified, welcoming communities and nurtured resident leaders.
The lessons we learned in the process informed our direction in the coming decade.