The McCune Foundation: Harnessing the Power of Community

“Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen.” – Peter Marshall

It takes a village, and we aren’t the only ones who know that. The McCune Foundation is dedicated to fostering social capital within communities — in other words, they’ve figured out this game is about playing like a team.

The McCune Foundation, established in 1990 by George D. McCune and Sara Miller McCune, offers funding to inspired organizations with integrity and vision. The Foundation, however, realizes fiscal support is only part of the puzzle — a deliberate jigsaw composed of social change, empowerment, and community engagement.

The Foundation concentrates their support on grassroots programs that promote social justice on the community level, with the mindset that a grassroots, bottom-up method is the cornerstone to social movement.

The Foundation remains true to their mission, refusing to shy away from issues that are often swept under the rug.

“The mission of the foundation is really to develop leadership and develop a voice among people in the community who haven’t traditionally had a role in decision making,” Claudia Armann, Executive Director at the McCune foundation, said. “We want to support the groups that are pursuing different issues by empowering people to take a role in identifying what changes they want to see in the community.”

There is no tiptoeing around the fact that change requires moving and shaking, a process which can be uncomfortable.  So the McCune Foundation often offers resources to aid in the change-making process.  One such resources is found on the Foundation website, an instructional guide to Community Organizing written by Dave Beckwith and Cristina Lopez.  Among other things, it addresses the fact that self-interest in the nonprofit world is unavoidable, but navigable.

“Many people are uncomfortable with self-interest. They’d rather focus on values, on selfless giving, or on mutual aid as the highest virtue…” Beckwith says. “Effective community organizing can develop a broader sense of self-interest — this is where hope comes into the picture. How can we broaden the sense of self-interest? Through a process of building up the horizons of the people we are organizing.”

With funding and mentorship, the McCune Foundation is helping organizations like Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy CAUSE,  Families ACT!, and Future Leaders of America effectively influence change.

When the members of your community are as inspired by movement and positivity as the McCune foundation, the effect is contagious. It does take a village, and that’s something we love.

-Jenna Ryan, LoaTree

(Editor’s note: The McCune Foundation is a client of LoaTree.  LoaTree provides technical assistance to McCune Foundation grantees related to organizational development, community campaigns, events, marketing and branding.)

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