Giving Compass' Take:

The author offers suggestions as to how to gain philanthropic support for neighborhood initiatives in Atlanta by mobilizing local communities and public officials to reach out to foundations and philanthropists.

• How can neighborhoods appeal to larger foundations to support community-based initiatives? What is the most effective model to garner support? 

• Learn about a flexible model for investing in healthy community transformation. 

As a Federal Reserve Bank president, I see symptoms of economic distress as signals for unrealized economic potential. Dramatic imbalances in how people and communities benefit from growth may limit our aggregate economic potential. For example, if a group of entrepreneurs lacks access to capital, then overall economic growth may be constrained. Similarly, if a sizable segment of our workforce lacks the skills necessary to contribute productively to the economy, then gross domestic product, or GDP, may fall short of its potential.

Since I moved to Atlanta last year, I’ve seen attempts to confront economic distress head-on. Bottom-up initiatives in communities like Thomasville Heights, Grove Park, and historic English Avenue-Vine City are examples.  Neighborhood-based initiatives like these are critical to unlocking economic growth potential. And they rely on grants from government sources and foundations. Atlanta has a rich ecosystem of funders who support community-driven solutions like these. But it will take more than local funding.

To attract more national funding, we need to do two things. First, we need to ask for it. Public officials, local funders, and business leaders should continue their long history of engaging with national philanthropic leaders and press for greater support of our city and region. We need to challenge national foundations to support local initiatives, like those mentioned above and others, with programmatic funds.

Second, we need to make it easier for philanthropic dollars to land. This means clarifying our shared local and regional priorities. This also means supporting local efforts to collaborate and share resources across community-led initiatives to elevate a region-wide pipeline of philanthropic opportunities. Finally, it means strengthening the partnership between public agency leaders and local funders to build the capacity of our local community-led initiatives so they can absorb philanthropic investments from national foundations.

Read the full article about boosting philanthropy's reach by Raphael Bostic at MyAJC