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Michigan has been intentional about growing community foundations since the late 1980s. Local efforts have been supported by the Council of Michigan Foundations with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. FERA (Formative Evaluation Research Associates), an independent evaluation group, and Williams Group, a strategic communications firm, have documented growth, identified supports and obstacles, and developed lessons learned. This document is part of a larger set of lessons learned across multiple state-wide initiatives about community foundation growth.
This article shares the benefits, challenges and lessons that emerged from community foundation efforts to market regionally in Michigan both on a state level and within eight smaller regions. Drawing on six years of evaluation, research methods include: 1) individual interviews with 20 CEOs (conducted in 2000 and again in 2002) and five board members (conducted in 2002), 2) instrumented group interviews with two regional collaborations, 3) an in-depth ethnographic case study of one group over six years, and 4) review of documents developed by the regions.
The purpose of this document is to share challenges and lessons learned related to developing and implementing a set of minimum operating standards for Michigan community foundations and their affiliates. Information presented in this article is based on two years of evaluation research conducted by Formative Evaluation Research Associates (FERA) an independent evaluation firm that consults for the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF) in Michigan.
An eight-page booklet authored by Karen Tice of Formative Evaluation Research (FERA) that provides insight into the formation of community foundations in rural areas.
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