Family foundations have long been a philanthropic mainstay on the Southern landscape, making pathbreaking investments to advance a region that lags the nation in the overall level of foundation assets. Today, the South still needs more philanthropy and different philanthropy to close the gaps and open the possibilities of our region and its people.

As a regional nonprofit focused on helping the South become a place where “all people can thrive,” MDC and family foundations have long been partners to spur compassionate, just, and innovative communities that work well for their people. Our approach is called “Passing Gear Philanthropy,” which  teaches that moving wisely into the future requires deep understanding of our past and present, and careful deployment of a full range of philanthropic capital.

The process involves working closely with foundation boards and staff through a tailored methodology grounded in data, history, culture, systems analysis, and powerful philanthropic frameworks. For over fifteen years, MDC has been privileged to work with family foundation trustees and staff in the Carolinas, Florida, Tennessee, and others to address inequities in their communities.

MDC is currently accepting applications—due May 20—for a new initiative called the Passing Gear Philanthropy Institute. The Institute will attract six Southern foundations to prepare them to work in their own communities and collectively with other Passing Gear alumni to address the barriers that restrict opportunity and equity for our region. Over the next five years, MDC hopes to shape a network of at least 20 Southern grantmakers actively employing Passing Gear principles and deploying philanthropic capital to address the region’s systemic barriers.

Read the full article about family philanthropists reshaping southern philanthropy at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.