Charting a new strategic direction: the challenge and the opportunity
Connecticut Community Foundation has worked for decades alongside organizations, leaders, and donors alike to step up to local challenges and improve the quality of life throughout the region. We have a long legacy of local impact, through grants, scholarships, philanthropic services, and on-the-ground work with many partners. And we have spent nearly a century learning, evolving and transforming to meet the changing needs, first of Waterbury, and now of the broader Greater Waterbury and Litchfield Hills region. During 2019, we embarked on a robust strategic planning process to determine how we can most effectively use our resources—human as well as financial—to serve our community in the coming years.Read More
Early in the planning process, we could see readily how much our community has changed and continues to evolve, even in recent years. To keep pace with these changes and to meet the most pressing current needs facing our community, we knew that we needed to adapt and grow as an organization. We needed a strategic direction that would recommit us to a unified Greater Waterbury and Litchfield Hills community, while recognizing that, in order to have the greatest impact, we could not be all things to all people, or in all places at all times. To be effective, we needed to focus not on equality in allocating resources across issues or geographies, but on justice and equity in outcomes for the people who live in our region. We needed to establish clear priorities, and to ground them in both data about community need and a clear understanding of the Foundation’s values.
What we explored
Over the course of the planning process, we surveyed nonprofits, donors, volunteers, local leaders, and other community members to understand how people perceive the Foundation’s work and to get feedback on the biggest challenges the community and the nonprofits that serve it are facing. We also conducted focus groups and one-on-one interviews.
Finally, we looked inward, engaging board and staff in multiple conversations about who we are, what we stand for, and how we can make the greatest difference. Altogether, we heard from hundreds of community members from all over the region and from diverse walks of life, each of whom shared their perspective to inform our new priorities.Read More
In addition to community conversations, we analyzed how we have allocated our resources, so that we could understand trends and assess our strengths as well as the impact of our historic approach to our work. We also compiled demographic, economic, and systemic trends data so we could consider the following core questions:
- Which community members are impacted most by different issues?
- How can we best look at our work through the prism of equity?
- How should we measure success?
- What is our long-term vision for community change?
- In what ways are we best positioned to lead, support or fund work?