Friends Focus highlights updates from members of our Friends of the Family network and their cutting edge work. This month features updates from Cricket Island Foundation; the Collins Foundation; Essex County Community Foundation; the Surdna Foundationthe Bernstein Foundationthe Walton Family Foundation and Community First Foundation.

Are you a current Friend or Leadership Circle member of NCFP with an update or good news about your foundation that you would like to share with Family Giving News readers? Please email us. Interested in learning more about the families involved in NCFP's Friends of the Family network? Go here.

Cricket Island Foundation: A Case Study of a Small Foundation’s Impact Assessment

Several years ago, Cricket Island commissioned an assessment to understand the impact of their grantmaking strategy – one focused on supporting grassroots youth-led social change organizations through multi-year general operating support and dedicated capacity-building support. Liz Sak, Executive Director of Cricket Island Foundation, together with Seema Shah of COMM|VEDA Consulting and Anna Pond of Anna Pond Consulting recently authored this study in Foundation Review.

In Pursuit of Equity: The Collins Foundation’s Story

The Collins Foundation has pursued DEI related philanthropy for several years. During this time, they have had to ask themselves: How and where do values of diversity, equity and inclusion show up in a general-purpose family foundation, like theirs? Engaging in a broader range of perspectives on their board of trustees is one answer to that.

Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund Opened at Essex County Community Foundation

Governor Charlie Baker joined Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, officials from Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF), and others to announce the establishment of a humanitarian relief fund to be named the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund at Essex County Community Foundation. The Fund will help serve the short and medium term needs of impacted residents, including housing, sustenance and support services.

Surdna Foundation Announces Refined Program Strategies

The Surdna Foundation announced recently refined strategies for its grantmaking programs, intended to reflect the Foundation’s belief that racial justice must underpin social justice. These refined strategies are the culmination of a yearlong process of introspection to ensure the Foundation’s work is as relevant and effective as possible, and they explicitly articulate the changes the Foundation seeks to achieve.

Ami Aronson Is Leading the Bernstein Foundation into the 21st Century through Critical Planning

Ami Aronson, Executive Director of the Bernstein Foundation, was recently profiled by Lifestyles Magazine. The Bernstein Family Foundation supports the community of Washington by seeking to advance the public understanding of American democracy, celebrating cultural assets, and supporting Jewish causes, all of which are invested in through leadership, engagement, and convergence. And with Aronson helping lead the foundation forward for the next generation, she hopes to see plenty of involvement from the young leaders of tomorrow.

Walton Foundation Gives Spelman College $5.4 Million for Arts Education 

The Walton Family Foundation has given Spelman College $5.4 million to create an educational pipeline into art museum leadership to increase diversity in that field, the college announced. The money will be used to establish the Atlanta University Center Collective for the Study of Art History and Curatorial Studies. Spelman is a historically black college near downtown Atlanta.

Jefferson County Receives Nearly $2 Million from Community First Foundation to Improve Community Wellness

Community First Foundation has allocated $1.75 million in grants over the past two years to 124 organizations working to improve community wellness in Jefferson County. The grants are part of an initiative called Improving Conditions of Community Health in Jeffco. The initiative is funding a pool of organizations that address a wide range of needs that contribute to community wellness. It looks at five overarching areas of a community’s health: economic stability, education, social and community context, health/health care and neighborhood and built environment.

Special Thanks: NCFP Friends and Leadership Circle Members

We offer special thanks to our Friends of the Family and Leadership Circle funders who support and sustain the work of NCFP. Our Leadership Circle recognizes a special group of our most generous supporters. Our Friends offer continuing support for our work, ensuring that future generations of donor families can access the best possible resources for sound decision-making. See a complete list of NCFP Leadership Circle and Friends of the Family. Or, for more information, please contact Maureen Esposito at 202.293.3276 or at