Building Community Philanthropy

Building Community Philanthropy

We’re on a learning journey toward more equitable and effective philanthropy.

Through the Building Community Philanthropy (BCP) initiative, we are creating a vibrant, community-driven ecosystem for nonprofits and communities to thrive. BCP brings together 21 partners across Washington and Portland, Oregon to promote equitable philanthropy and support community-led solutions. What began in 2012 as a conceptual idea, has blossomed into a connected network of community foundations, identity-based grantmakers and United Ways that are learning and working collaboratively to tackle common community challenges.


How It Works 

BCP partners meet twice a year to explore key issues, such as trust-building, amplifying community voices, supporting collective action and funding community-defined priorities. Through these experiences, BCP partners gain knowledge and skills to engage communities in authentic ways and center their voices and experiences. The Washington BCP initiative is a partnership of Philanthropy Northwest and The Giving Practice, and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


What We’re Learning

Since the initiative launched, BCP partners and community members have reported positive changes. Some of the impacts include:

  • Funders have a shared language and a theory of action around DEI and are working together to advance equitable practices and policies.
  • BCP partners are shifting traditional funder-grantee power dynamics in ways that embolden community members around their own power and voice.
  • Comprehensive community conversations, coupled with funders’ increased understanding of systemic issues, has led to better community planning and more community-defined priorities.
  • BCP partners are pursuing joint advocacy efforts to amplify community voices with elected officials, and to further community-led solutions.
  • Corporate, government and private funders are aligned around and investing in BCP partners and community-defined priority areas.

Go deeper and read our report about the first eight years of the BCP initiative focused on centering community for better philanthropy across Washington state. We're grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for supporting this work.


Building Community Philanthropy Partners

The BCP partners include 12 community foundations, five United Ways, and three identity funds. In addition, four of the partners have come together as Collective Action For Education Equity (CAFEE) to specifically support more equitable education outcomes. 

Blue Mountain Community Foundation Potlach Fund
Community Foundation of North Central Washington Pride Foundation
Community Foundation for Southwest Washington Seattle Foundation
Community Foundation of Snohomish County Successful Families 2020, United Way of the Columbia Willamette*
Excelerate Success, Spokane County United Way* The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound
Grays Harbor Community Foundation United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties
Greater Tacoma Community Foundation United Way of King County
Innovia Foundation United Way of Central Washington
Investing in Children, Yakima Valley Community Foundation* United Way of Snohomish County
Kitsap Strong, Kitsap Community Foundation* Whatcom Community Foundation
Latino Community Fund *CAFEE partners


How can you support building community philanthropy in your state?

Contact Lyn Hunter to learn more about the BCP initiative.

"The Building Community Philanthropy initiative is a model for how philanthropy can support shared learning, networking and action to foster more resilient, equitable and inclusive communities. We’d love to replicate it in other states."