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Case Study: A Community Foundation Turns Nonprofit Data into Knowledge for Powerful Change

I am excited to share an example of community foundation sector leadership from one of our DonorEdge partners, Community Foundation of Central Florida.

Lori Larson Lori Larson

If you are not familiar with community foundations, they are place-based, public charities and approaching their 100th sector anniversary in 2014. There are about 700 community foundations in the U.S. and according to the Council on Foundations, the community foundation sector manages $50 billion of charitable assets. These organizations are very important intermediaries and contributors to philanthropy and social good!

Historically, community foundations focused on managing and investing tax-deductible dollars from individuals. In the early 1990s, commercial financial institutions started offering the same types of charitable giving funds as community foundations. This new competition was only the beginning of market disruptions for these organizations. The most entrepreneur and visionary community foundation leaders recognized that significant changes to their strategy and business models were needed; that is community foundations as philanthropic and knowledge experts to increase charitable giving in their communities. Our DonorEdge partners, collectively known as the DonorEdge Learning Community, exemplify this visionary leadership. Below is an example from one of our DonorEdge partners.

The Community Foundation of Central Florida (CFCF) transformed its business model and embarked on a new strategy to become the region’s philanthropic source of essential nonprofit information, encourage smarter charitable decisions, and facilitate powerful social change. The implementation of its Knowledge Base, nationally branded as GuideStar DonorEdge, was the mechanism and catalyst selected by CFCF to begin their organizational change.

CFCF’s presentation, "Putting Knowledge to Work: The State of the Arts Organizations," was created from nonprofit data collected in their Knowledge Base. This presentation is only one example of CFCF’s commitment to building nonprofit sustainability and resilience, connecting people with charitable causes they are passionate about for increased philanthropic investment, and empowering donors to make informed decisions through research and evaluation. CFCF’s presentation is also an exemplary example of organizing and presenting information in a meaningful way for action and impact to become measurable. The work of CFCF demonstrates how they are operationalizing new initiatives and research, such as Money For Good, Markets for Good and Information for Impact: Liberating Nonprofit Sector Data.

If you are interested in learning more about DonorEdge or the DonorEdge Learning Community, please contact me: Lori Larson, senior director GuideStar DonorEdge,

Topics: Nonprofit Leadership and Practice