Natalie Ross

Council on Foundations (US)

"Today, with more than 1,800 organizations globally, the community philanthropy field is strengthened by its diversity. We have a lot we can teach each other and a lot to share with the broader international development community.  The Summit provides all of us, far beyond the borders of any one country, an opportunity to explore how community philanthropy can enable individuals and local organizations to address their needs. I am especially interested in discussing how development aid and international philanthropy can better support local community philanthropy organizations – building grassroots’ assets and capacity without imposing top-down frameworks that limit local voices.

In Cleveland in 2014, the Council on Foundations hosted a celebration of 100 years of community foundations in the United States, which included a plenary session featuring community foundation leaders from Kenya, Latvia, Ireland, Canada, and Brazil. This convening helped our network of mostly American community foundations better recognize the power of international approaches to the community foundation model and inspired a number of new initiatives in the US that are connecting American community foundations with partners globally. Yet there is so much to be done to truly establish two-way channels of exchange between North American community foundations and other community philanthropy organizations globally. I hope the Summit can help establish new relationships and challenge assumptions that help all of us collaborate across borders and challenge all of us to think more globally, even when we act locally."

People Behind the Summit