As much as community foundations are focused on investing in the future, this objective cannot be accomplished if there is no future for the foundation. Emmett Carson, the CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and a national leader in thinking strategically about the role of community foundations, delivered an intriguing speech at this year’s Council of Foundations conference. Carson questioned the traditional role of the community foundation, and proposed that new models were imperative for these institutions to survive in an unsteady economic climate amidst an increase in companies offering similar services for less, such as donor-advised funds.

Carson advocates for foundations to strengthen their civic engagement, and to understand and involve themselves in their community’s real-life struggles and triumphs. The Center for Arab American Philanthropy is doing just that through our work as the only national philanthropic support institution in the Arab American community, managing individual philanthropy and making grants to strengthen Arab American organizations. CAAP strives to empower Arab American individuals through philanthropy, to increase the impact and visibility of an under-recognized sector of philanthropy, and to bring Arab Americans and other donors together by leveraging community giving for greater social impact. Through our long-term vision to empower the Arab American community to be change makers and community builders, CAAP represents a new model in developing communities for the future.

(Photo credit Stuck in Customs)

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