Giving Gets Local, Part I: Introduction
November 29, 2020
As the days get shorter and 2020 reaches its end, I can’t help but think about my community. Between the election, Thanksgiving, and the December holidays, late Autumn feels to me like a time for family, reflection, and community service.
Taken in conjunction with the end-of-year fundraising drives millions of nonprofit and charitable organizations are busy implementing, November becomes an opportune moment to explore the needs and challenges with which local organizations and nonprofits have been faced during these eight months of change and chaos.
This diverges significantly in scope from the series of articles I penned last month about the philanthropic sector’s role in aiding natural disaster relief across the country—and endeavor undertaken at perhaps the greatest macro-level of philanthropy. While these efforts are critical, the reality is that local community-based philanthropy often effects the greatest impact in everyday Americans’ lives.
These organizations are the fabric of our national philanthropic architecture. They are acutely responsive to local needs, mobilizing to help families struggling with medical bills or residents displaced by calamities. As the COVID-19 pandemic has engulfed our country down to the town hall level, local organizations have only grown in importance, filling in the gaps in social service provision missed by larger institutions or agencies.
Local organizations foster collaboration and incorporate diverse populations into decision making. As we as a nation have come to contend with the long shadow of racial inequity over the last year, local organizations help address local needs and give underrepresented communities a seat at the table—a say in the direction of service provision in their cities.
In particular, community philanthropy are adept at implementing long-term campaigns. Often, when a community is affected by a disaster or a sudden acute need, outside aid from around the country floods into the affected area. While direly needed, this aid is often short-lived. Communities can often take years, if not decades, to recover from a tragedy; big donations come at the front end of the recovery, moving on with the news cycle and missing key developments later down the line.
But community-based organizations employ long-run approaches for a single reason—they can’t merely up and leave. Operating in the community in which they are based, these organizations are baked into the ethos of the communities they serve, benefiting communities not just in the immediate aftermath of an acute need, but in the long recovery. This allows for more ambitious projects that can help residents contend with not just with the immediate aftermath of a tragedy, but the long-run economic, health, and psychological challenges that accompany these difficulties.
At the Amit Raizada Foundation, we strive to catalyze lasting social change by investing in healthy communities, education for all, and solutions to racial intolerance. Community philanthropy is inextricable from this mission.
Whether working to provide updated learning materials at local schools, designated parks and green space, or build more affordable housing, when it comes to the community-level, these organizations are problem solvers.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen this dynamic play out in communities across the country. From Southern California to the Midwest to the South, community-based philanthropic organizations, uniquely attuned to the needs of local residents, have organized food banks, PPE drives, and small business recovery funds.
In this series of articles, we will delve into some of the challenges facings community-based philanthropic organizations across the United States. With millions of Americans struggling to stay healthy, to make ends meet, and to put a roof over their children’s heads, community philanthropy will be of outsize importance in the coming months. To build an effective COVID response and a more sustainable future—we have an obligation to understand them.
If you enjoyed this spotlight piece see our series
Amit Raizada is a forward-thinking entrepreneur and investor whose mastery of investment and growth strategies has helped launch and grow countless successful business ventures across the globe. In 2002, Raizada founded Spectrum Business Ventures which today consists of more than 80 operating companies spanning multiple industries including technology, entertainment, real estate, financial services, hospitality, retail, eSports, fashion and others. Raizada is a lifelong philanthropist with a devout passion for giving back to the community, and in 2017 cofounded Vision Global Foundation, which supports charitable causes around the globe that focus on children and families in need. For more information about Amit Raizada please visit his bio page.