August 2018 Issue

From the Executive Director:
PKF Strategy Update

GRANTEE SPOTLIGHTS
YOUTH PATHWAYS TO SUCCESS

Beyond School Bells

THRIVING PLACES

Nonprofit Association of the Midlands

ECONOMIC GROWTH & OPPORTUNITY

Seventy-Five North


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PKF Strategy Update:

“Strong & Vibrant Communities” Impact Area is Now “Thriving Places”

Raising the Bar | From the Executive Director | August 2018

By: Jeff Kutash, Executive Director

At our June 2018 board meeting, our Trustees approved an updated strategy for our Strong & Vibrant Communities impact area, which has focused on making grants to nonprofits and communities to fund amenities, arts, and human services. This is our largest portfolio, accounting for 68% of grants and 47% of grant dollars since 2013. We are proud of this book of work, but felt it was timely to revisit the strategy to ensure it remains highly aligned to Mr. Kiewit’s intent, best contributes to significant impact, and is clear to grant seekers and other partners. The result is our new Thriving Places impact area. To read about the new strategy, click here.

 

What Have We Learned?

Our biggest insight from five years of Strong & Vibrant Communities work is that our strategy must be flexible enough to address urban and rural needs; promote statewide, regional, and local solutions, and respond to community priorities. We have also learned that our best investments tend to be in those cities, towns, and neighborhoods that are “on the move”, meaning they have a vision for their own future, inclusive and diverse leadership, strong cross-sector partnerships, engaged citizens, and a willingness to work hard and deploy local resources to affect change.

Why Change the Strategy?

There were three main reasons we updated the strategy, all grounded in grantee feedback, lessons learned, and reflections on Mr. Kiewit’s intent:

  • Our overall mission includes building strong and vibrant communities, so having that as its own impact area is confusing for grantees and partners.
  • The use of the phrase “Quality of Life” as a sub-strategy is often misinterpreted as a focus on those struggling with health, wellness, and end-of-life challenges, when the actual focus is on amenities like trails, libraries, and theaters.
  • The “Community-Wide Health & Human Services” sub-strategy does not clearly reflect Mr. Kiewit’s preference to fund capital vs. direct services for health and human service organizations.

So What Has Changed and What Is Still the Same?

The new strategy builds upon the old strategy but includes some key changes:

  • The new impact area name is “Thriving Places”. The strategy continues to prioritize community-identified needs and community-driven solutions.
  • “Community Empowerment” sub-strategy is now “Community Capacity”, but the work has not changed and we continue to prioritize supporting communities working hard to improve their own circumstances.
  • “Quality of Life Amenities” has been retitled “Quality of Place Amenities” to clarify a focus on community amenities and not end-of-life or well-being outcomes. We will continue to focus on capital/capacity grants and vibrancy of the arts-sector.
  • We replaced “Community-Wide Health & Human Services” sub-strategy with “Nonprofit Facilities”. We will still make occasional grants for services, but our primary focus will be on capital grants to health and human service nonprofits.
  • Text

    Impact Area

    Goal

    Sub-Strategies

    From

    Strong & Vibrant Communities

    Support local efforts to build thriving communities

    Community Empowerment: Strengthen communities’ ability to pursue their own future through leadership development, capacity-building, planning, and resident engagement

    Quality of Life Amenities: Increase access to quality civic, arts, and recreational amenities

    Community-Wide Health & Human Services: Invest in programs and initiatives that address community-wide needs and reduce disparities

    To

    Thriving Places

    Support local efforts to build thriving communities

    Community Capacity: Strengthen communities’ ability to pursue their own future through leadership development, capacity-building, planning, and resident engagement

    Quality of Place Amenities: Invest in and increase access to quality civic, cultural, and recreational amenities

    Nonprofit Facilities: Invest in capital projects that improve a nonprofit’s ability to impact their clientele and community

    From

    Impact Area – Strong & Vibrant Communities

    Goal – Support local efforts to build thriving communities

    Sub- Strategy – Community Empowerment: Strengthen communities’ ability to pursue their own future through leadership development, capacity-building, planning, and resident engagement

    Sub- Strategy – Quality of Life Amenities: Increase access to quality civic, arts, and recreational amenities

    Sub- Strategy – Community-Wide Health & Human Services: Invest in programs and initiatives that address community-wide needs and reduce disparities

    To

    Impact Area – Thriving Places

    Goal – Support local efforts to build thriving communities

    Sub- Strategy – Community Capacity: Strengthen communities’ ability to pursue their own future through leadership development, capacity-building, planning, and resident engagement

    Sub- Strategy – Quality of Place Amenities: Invest in and increase access to quality civic, cultural, and recreational amenities

    Sub- Strategy – Nonprofit Facilities: Invest in capital projects that improve a nonprofit’s ability to impact their clientele and community

    What Does the New Strategy Mean For Nonprofits?

    This has no impact on any current grant or current grant application. However, if you are a prospective grantee, please read the new strategy carefully as it does mean that some organizations and projects are now more, or less likely to receive grants. Because of that, please know that we do not make changes to our strategy lightly. And please contact me or any member of our team with questions or feedback.