The 27 CLP intermediary organizations are bringing new and substantial resources to grassroots organizations in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, Central Coast and San Joaquin Valley, helping these organizations better serve and benefit their communities. Here are highlights of this work, as illustrated through the approaches of seven intermediaries.
Alliance for California Traditional Arts
The Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA) promotes and supports ways for cultural traditions to thrive now and into the future by providing advocacy, resources and connections for folk and traditional artists. Folk and traditional artists are tradition bearers: people who transmit what they believe, know, do and create with others who share a common heritage. From Ohlone basketry and African American quilt-making to cowboy poetry and Vietnamese opera, California is home to hundreds of diverse traditions. ACTA is the only statewide organization in California focused on all folk and traditional arts and is the California’s Arts Council designated partner in serving the field.
Nurturing this range of expression is important to preserving—and understanding—cultural heritage. But small arts organizations focused on folk and traditional art forms often struggle for funding. Through the Community Leadership Project, ACTA was awarded $210,000 for multi-year core operating grants to eight small and emerging organizations. Grantees include Arte Americas, Merced Lao Family and the Kawaiisu Language and Cultural Center.
This diverse cohort of eight organizations represents the multi-cultural spectrum of the Central Coast and the Central Valley: Latino, South East Asian, African American, Native American, and Indigenous Mexicans. In terms of traditional arts forms, these organizations are promoting music, dance, craft and Native languages. With the exception of Caminos del Arte—which is based in Salinas—all the organizations are located in the Central Valley from Merced to Kern County.
ACTA is enhancing the capacity building of these eight organizations through trainings and tailored consultancies in grassroots fundraising, economic development and micro-enterprise models. Additionally, in 2010, ACTA offered free fundraising workshops to all folk and traditional arts organizations in the San Joaquin Valley and Central Coast, regardless of whether they were eligible to apply for grant funds. In this way, ACTA is extending the reach of the Community Leadership Project and strengthening the tier of very small and newly developing organizations working to preserve folk and traditional arts.
California Rural Legal Assistance
California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) is a nonprofit public interest law firm that advocates for economic justice and human rights on behalf of California's rural poor. Each year, CRLA provides more than 40,000 low-income rural Californians with free legal assistance and a variety of community education and outreach programs—all designed to address the root causes of poverty.
CRLA was funded through the Community Leadership Project to identify strong, impactful community organizations (six in the San Joaquin Valley and three in the Central Coast) and distribute $472,500 to them over three years. While not a traditional grantmaking organization, CRLA established the Fund for Rural Equity (FFRE) to serve as a long-term grantmaking and non-profit support program. CRLA’s extensive network of rural offices then identified nine organizations for FFRE grants, which included Fathers and Families of San Joaquin, the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce, and Santa Cruz Barrios Unidos.
CRLA partners with CompassPoint, an established resource to nonprofits, to provide Executive Director 101 and Management 101 training to all grantees, and also facilitates peer support groups in connection with another Community Leadership Project intermediary, Immigrant Legal Resource Center. Through this activity, CRLA is creating a network among rural nonprofits that are hungry to gain new skills. Through a tailored approach and collaboration with partners, CRLA’s nine grantees benefit from financial resources as well as access to the management, planning and legal training often missing in the development of small nonprofits serving low-income people and communities of color.
“Originally, we came to see CRLA because of a legal issue around our name. We knew CRLA helps minority-run organizations that work with marginalized groups, and we needed that type of support. They’ve really spent time with us, getting to know us, what our values are, talked with our kids, especially around the issue of educational equity and alternatives to incarceration… We’re now one of the grantees under the Fund for Rural Equity.”— Sammy Nunez, Executive Director of Fathers and Families of San Joaquin
The San Francisco Foundation
The San Francisco Foundation is a community foundation for the Bay Area that mobilizes resources and acts as a catalyst for change to build strong communities. This Foundation has longstanding relationships with grassroots organizations throughout the Bay Area, and is respected for its work in the rich variety of racial and cultural neighborhoods in the region.
Through the Community Leadership Project, The San Francisco Foundation is providing 10 Bay Area organizations with three-year grants of $102,000, an amount that is augmented by the Foundation’s grantmaking resources. The range of organizations funded includes the Multicultural Institute, Filipino Community Center, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, and La Raza Centro Legal.
This Foundation’s work in the Community Leadership Project extends beyond grants for core support and capacity-building, and includes quarterly convenings and workshops that combine peer learning opportunities with access to the Foundation’s resources and networks. Its relationship to grantees throughout this process has been especially significant. Based on grantee input, the Foundation altered its original approach to providing technical assistance by prioritizing the aspects of fundraising that grantees identified as most useful to them. The Foundation also created a “Capacity Builders of Color Online Directory” to improve access to consultants of color for the many CLP grantees who are working in communities of color throughout the Bay Area.
Through its work in the Community Leadership Project, The San Francisco Foundation is responding to priority grantee needs and attempting to mitigate power imbalances with approaches that build on the strengths, expertise, and strategic savvy of these grassroots organizations.
“In the nonprofit community, we rarely can take the time and resources to invest in planning and building the infrastructure for the sustainability of the organization. After 15 years of existence, it is of upmost importance for us to be doing this capacity-building work in order to structure the foundation for our organization development and sustainability.”— John Young, Grassroots Leadership Network of Marin
Community Foundation for Monterey County — Project LEAD
The Community Foundation for Monterey County improves the quality of life in Monterey County by raising, managing and distributing charitable funds to nonprofit organizations throughout the county. This foundation is the largest grantmaker on California’s Central Coast, where it averages more than $7 million in grants annually.
Using Community Leadership Project funds, this community foundation created a Leadership Education and Development Institute (LEAD). Built with expertise from LeaderSpring, CompassPoint and other successful program providers, and customized with input from nonprofit leaders on the Central Coast, LEAD delivers a development program featuring in-depth seminars, trainings, peer roundtables, individual learning plans, leadership coaching and organizational capacity-building projects.
At a time of economic challenge that minimizes opportunities for capable nonprofit managers to develop needed leadership and higher management skills, the LEAD program is a needed resource on the Central Coast. A total of 19 emerging leaders graduated from the first-year offering and more than 60 percent were leaders of color drawn from all ethnicities. In addition to the LEAD Institute, this intermediary also offers a range of supports for established nonprofit leaders including a facilitated monthly “roundtable” for mutual learning, leadership coaching, and scholarships to enable participation in other training opportunities.
Over the span of the Community Leadership Project, 60 to 75 emerging leaders and 45 to 60 established executive directors will engage in LEAD. Participants are learning new abilities and approaches through multiple methods, and LEAD is attracting broad participation at a critical time in the development of local leaders.
Rockwood Leadership Institute
The Rockwood Leadership Institute develops leaders with the skills to inspire and change their world.
Rockwood was funded by the Community Leadership Project to support 18 leaders of color each year (54 over three years) through an ongoing leadership development offering, the Fellowship for California Leaders of Color program. Fellows participate in a suite of coordinated activities including two multi-day leadership retreats, peer coaching and other leadership support over the course of four to eight months. The program provides tools on communication, emotional intelligence, self-management, team building, coaching and visioning skills.
Rockwood designed the program to more specifically meet the needs of community-based leaders of color in California, and is incorporating these new approaches to enhance its core offerings for all audiences based on shared learning on how race and power affect leadership.Alma Martinez, reporter and radio producer for Radio Bilingue, attends a Rockwood Leadership Institute event.
“The Advanced Art of Leadership shifted my understanding of what it means to be a responsible leader. I now understand that being a responsible leader requires standing up for myself, owning my power, and taking care of myself. Art of Leadership helped me confront and see how not taking care of myself was impacting those around me. Advanced Art nurtured that understanding, gave me the space to explore my shortcomings in a profound and positive space.”— Daniela Simunovic, Community Organizer, Center for Race, Poverty and the Environment
CompassPoint Nonprofit Services intensifies the impact of fellow nonprofit leaders, organizations and networks working to achieve social equity. Its integrated practice offers strong teaching, coaching, consulting, and peer-learning—all grounded in deep nonprofit leadership expertise.
Through the Community Leadership Project, CompassPoint is working with up to 60 grassroots organizations on both leadership and organizational development, as well as with the 15 organizations being supported by California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) and Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), which are CLP intermediaries working in the San Joaquin Valley.
Much of CompassPoint’s work takes place via a meaningful collaboration with CRLA and ILRC, and by listening for the true needs and interests of the grassroots organizations involved in the project. CompassPoint implemented a deliberate planning process that led to a customized version of its Executive Director 101 program (attended by 14 leaders) and three-day Management 101 program (attended by 20 leaders) followed by peer coaching circles to deepen the learning. Involvement in this project has enabled CompassPoint to further demonstrate its responsiveness to the needs of diverse leaders and communities, and to expand its reach to serve California nonprofits beyond the Bay Area. Its scope of project activities also includes a series of six leadership and management trainings from March through May 2011 and a customized offering of its popular Fundraising Academy for Communities of Color.
ZeroDivide helps underserved communities realize the transformative power of technology to achieve social progress and opportunity.
As part of the Community Leadership Project, ZeroDivide is working to strengthen the technology capacity of 100 minority-led, community-based organizations in the Bay Area, Central Coast and Central Valley of California.
ZeroDivide offered each of these grassroots organizations an online survey to generate a self-assessment of its current technology capacity. All participants gained a better understanding of their current technology capacity and ideas on how to improve this capacity and access resources (many of which are free or highly subsidized). A set of 20 organizations was selected to each receive a technology mini-grant of $5,000. Each grantee receives an additional in-depth technology capacity assessment leading to creation of an organizational technology plan, which includes implementation of technology enhancements and consulting support.
ZeroDivide is offering a series of regional trainings to all Community Leadership Project grantees. These sessions address specific technology needs among the group, and facilitate ongoing networking and peer learning.
Through the Community Leadership Project, ZeroDivide is investing in grassroots enterprises that use technology to benefit people in low-income and other disadvantaged communities.