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Dramatic Changes at the Foundation

Apr 20, 2010  Lena Townsend

We have sketched out a general plan for spending out the Foundation's assets, and over the next year many of you will be invited to help us develop a strategy that we hope will have maximum impact in improving programs and the field.

The primary goals that underlie our general plan for spending out will be familiar to you. We will continue to build organizational capacity and promote sustainability as we have done over the past 20 years. And, we will evaluate and learn from our years of experience and documentation of OST programs. However, during the final three years of our grantmaking we will focus our resources on a smaller group of our long-term grantees that represent the Foundation's core principles that literacy: happens in community; develops through active engagement; is a means to self-determination; and is a fundamental part of being human in 21st Century America. For a more in-depth explanation of these principles, see our website, www.robertbownefoundation.org/purpose.php.

Our general plan is structured in three stages

  • Stage I: Through a series of facilitated meetings, focus groups, and interviews with current and past grantees and other partners, we will develop the Foundation's strategy to achieve our goals.
  • Stage II: Implementation of that strategy which will last about four years.
  • Stage III: In the final administrative year we will make our final grants, and remain in touch with our partners to evaluate and learn from our process.

During the next five years we will also establish an archive that will house our documents and be a repository for current and future youth practitioners to continue to learn about quality out-of-school time programming.

The Foundation is open to your ideas and strategies for our spend-out plan. We will create opportunities such as focus groups for you to share those ideas with us. Some ideas that we have for consideration and discussion are:

  • Providing stable core grants for three years;
  • Funding management professional development of staff; and
  • Training in evaluation and advocacy.

Although we all approach this transition with mixed feelings, we are committed to creating a process that has a positive and long-lasting impact. Please feel free to call at 212-792-6248 or e-mail me at lena.townsend@bownefoundation.org or our program officer, Anne Lawrence at 212-792-6250 or Anne.Lawrence@bownefoundation.org if you have any questions.{jcomments on}