Rural Areas

Big Web, Small Threads: Reflecting on Rural Philanthropy

11/08/2016

Amy Hyfield, The O.P. & W.E. Edwards Foundation | Many of our towns and cities in the Northwest are small, rural and geographically isolated. There is real power in the community that develops in these places. The interconnectedness is out in the open, on the surface, evident and real. Economic development depends upon the availability of childcare, housing, recreation and transportation. Housing depends on the availability of jobs, the quality of life, the efficiency of infrastructure, zoning and the layout of a town. Recreation depends on location, community health and investment priorities, land use and access to the outdoors. The web of factors that impact the themes of diversity, equity and inclusion explored at Philanthropy Northwest’s recent conference, Under One Sky, is especially complicated and tangled in rural areas. Grantmakers are charged with keeping the big picture in perspective. more »

Food Systems Research Reveals Funding Opportunities

08/22/2016

Tim Crosby, Cascadia Foodshed Financing Project | If we want to catalyze a thriving food economy in the Pacific Northwest, where should we invest our philanthropic funds? We commissioned research into the production costs of six categories — no-till grain, grass-finished beef, organic greens, organic storage crops, pastured chicken, and hoop house pork — to identify differentiated and viable production systems aligned with our project's five overarching principles of health, social equity, family wage job creation and preservation. The results have revealed intriguing insights for our regional food economy, venture philanthropy and impact investing. We want to achieve system change to increase more sustainable food production and to build resiliency in rural communities. We want to support enterprise success so that rural communities can generate livable wage jobs and investors can at least preserve capital. We now know where we can do each; we seek the opportunity to do both. Now we're asking a new question: How can we advance system change by supporting success at the enterprise level? more »

Virtual Roundtable: Philanthropic Banks

06/22/2016

Our "virtual roundtable" interviews feature a group of leaders from across our network who work on a common issue area, illuminating the diversity of place-based approaches to the shared topic. We kicked this series off in February with the CEOs of five healthcare conversion foundations, then continued in March with the Pacific Northwest's seven statewide nonprofit associations, April with four arts funders and May with five rural funders. For June, we interviewed representatives of four banks engaged in Northwest philanthropy: First Interstate Bank, Pacific Continental Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo. more »

Virtual Roundtable: Rural Funders

05/17/2016

Our "virtual roundtable" interviews feature a group of leaders from across our network who work on a common issue area, illuminating the diversity of place-based approaches to the shared topic. We kicked this series off in February with the CEOs of five healthcare conversion foundations, then continued in March with the Pacific Northwest's seven statewide nonprofit associations and April with four leading arts funders. For May, we interviewed grantmakers from five foundations — The Ford Family Foundation, Montana Community Foundation, Northwest Area Foundation, Whatcom Community Foundation and Wyoming Community Foundation — focused on rural communities. more »

Blazing Trails and Building Bridges: Program-Related Investing in the Intermountain West

07/30/2015

Lawson F. Knight, Intermountain Impact Investments | Some people crave security and predictability in their careers. Not me. I'm drawn to adventure and invention — doing things we don't know how to do yet. One of my mentors, Dr. Ellen Wolf, past president and board member of the Blue Mountain Community Foundation, recognized this and predicted that I would someday leave my comfortable position as the foundation's executive director to blaze new trails. She was right. With a colleague in Wyoming, I co-founded Intermountain Impact Investments last year. more »

Tackling Long-Term Wildfire Recovery, While Bracing for Next Disaster

07/07/2015

Kristen Holway, Senior Manager, Learning Practice | Drought conditions have brought wildfire season early to the Pacific Northwest. With 30,000 acres engulfed in Idaho, Oregon and Washington over the weekend, and as we approach the first anniversary of the devastating Carlton Complex Fire, I'm reminded of the interdependence of the people, government and funders in our region's disaster preparedness, response and recovery — especially long-term recovery. more »