Voices of the Community

On January 22, 2015, the nonprofit organizations that Douty currently supports were invited to attend a ‘Meet & Greet’ event at Art Sanctuary in Philadelphia. Of our 55 supported organizations, 38 were represented at the event.

During the event, we asked those in attendance to gather in 1 of 7 groups (by mission-similarity ie. vulnerable children, vulnerable youth, arts education, literacy, immigration, women & girls, community centers) and we asked them:

‘What would you want to tell the funding community about your work’?

The following represents their responses (^^ indicates that more than 1 group presented that response).

–          Advocacy matters! And to remember that impact is not always measured annually. It takes time to create and demonstrate impact. Social Issues need to be understood; need to move beyond easy indicators. How do measure the improvement in quality of life?^^

–          Community-building is so important in under-served communities and neighborhoods.

–          Safe spaces that cherish diversity and are community-driven are extremely important. Leveraging inter-generational relationships to build these safe spaces is critical.^^

–          Concerns about funders driving/defining narratives and impact and not always in ways that reflect the needs of communities served.

–          Literacy and expression are cornerstones of learning.

–          Families and kids are dynamic and have a variety of needs; they therefore need a variety (holistic) kinds of services. Therefore collaborative work takes place and outcomes can become interdependent and change.

–          “Fixed” categories of funding are not reflective of multiple missions/goals of one organization.

–          Multi-year funding would be more helpful, as well as, General Operating grants.^^

–          Arts are undervalued and funders do not seem to understand the importance of art’s transformational impact. And the successes are not easily quantified.

–          Art centers are community glue/magnets.

–          We need to place more youth in leadership positions.

–          There is a de-prioritization by gender in programs and funding. Women & girls focused organizations develop self-advocates and female leaders to make change.

–          Empowering women & girls benefits the whole community.

Douty hopes that other funders will consider the information shared below as they fulfill their grant-making role in the Philadelphia area.