What strategies lead to results at scale?
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Child reaching for grapes at outdoor market

Community foundations engaged in Communityworks

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Aerial shot of city neighborhood with trees

The increase in Communityworks foundations with operating endowments from 2003–2011

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15
Small town main street with US flag

Communityworks foundations (including original participants) that have met national standards

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Nearly 600%
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Increase in total donors to Communityworks foundations

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$8.5 million
Children sitting in front of felt boards

Investment as of 2011 by community foundations to implement community plans

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$20.1 million
Children getting off yellow school bus

Endowments to carry forward community initiatives on early childhood, workforce development, and land use and protection

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Aerial photo of city neighborhood with detail of map of Illinois

Aerial photo of city neighborhood by Joe Sohm; Map of Illinois with pushpins photo by Joe Scafuro



 

Building local philanthropy

To fulfill its vision that Illinois communities can be great places to live and work, Grand Victoria Foundation has worked to strengthen local philanthropy in towns and cities across the state. Its Communityworks initiative (2003-2011) built a network of strong community foundations with capable leadership, adequate resources, engaged local partners, and a strategic commitment to creating place-based solutions to local problems. Grand Victoria Foundation invested substantial human and financial resources to build the capacity of the foundations, acting on its belief that the best way to achieve results at scale is to start at scale and dedicate appropriate resources to succeed.


The change continues

By 2011, community foundations had grown tremendously in both size and capacity.  Their efforts have improved early learning opportunities for thousands of children. Community foundations are helping local leaders plan for the future in transportation, water infrastructure, and recreation. They are funding programs encouraging high schoolers to plan for careers, and helping build a workforce for the critical health care sector.  Today, community foundations have become a vital and productive presence in Illinois communities, a potential force for statewide change, and sturdy local partners for public and private sector efforts to improve the quality of life in Illinois.

“The thing I underestimated
was its transformational
impact. It took our foundation
to a whole new level.”
-Paul Finnegan, Communityworks Chairman, Evanston Community Foundation
INITIATIVE SUMMARY

To fulfill its vision that Illinois communities can be great places to live and work, Grand Victoria Foundation has invested substantial human and financial resources to build the capacity and leadership potential of community foundations around the state.

FUNDING

Grand Victoria Foundation funding has concluded. Participants continue the work through their Communityworks and operating endowments and through cultivation of new donors.

Publications
Brochure cover for Communityworks: Everything Changed Communityworks: Everything Changed

In 2003 Grand Victoria Foundation launched Communityworks to strengthen local philanthropy in Illinois. Learn how Communityworks built the skills and resources of community foundations in its first five years and set the s...

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Brochure cover for Communityworks: Nothing Can Stop It Now Communityworks: Nothing Can Stop It Now

Between 2003 and 2011 Grand Victoria Foundation invested substantial resources to build the capacity and resources of local community foundations. That investment has launched a transformation in Illinois philanthropy.

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