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What we do


The Fund's core activity

Our primary instrument for social change is grantmaking. We give small grants (normally between US $5,000 and $15,000) to individual community foundations. Partly because of the size of the grants and partly because of our conviction that local resources are best placed to develop strong, local philanthropic institutions, these grants are targeted at strengthening the capacities of community foundations and institutions, and increasing their overall effectiveness, rather than at supporting their programmes.

We place a particular value on the powerful and catalytic role that small grants can play in stimulating efforts to develop and support such institutions. Matched funds for re-granting or endowments can increase a community foundation’s local profile by providing an additional incentive for new donors to give, or by demonstrating the mechanism and credibility of its grantmaking programmes. Other grants can allow for peer exchanges, conference attendance and other forms of organizational development support, all of which tend to be harder to raise money for from local donors.

We also provide seed funding for exploratory and start-up activities, and ‘field-building’ grants for convenings and consultations at the regional or national level.

The administration of our grantmaking model incorporates a process of evaluation, so that every procedure involved in making the grants yields evaluation data.

For a more-detailed account of the rationale for supporting community foundations, read our paper on Community foundations and local philanthropy.

Mary Fifield, director, Amazon Partnerships Foundation