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Students at Laconia Early Learning Center, a program of Lakes Region Child Care Services. (Photo by Cheryl Senter.)

Students at Laconia Early Learning Center, a program of Lakes Region Child Care Services. (Photo by Cheryl Senter.)

Together We Thrive

The Foundation’s new strategic plan is focused on advancing equity and racial justice — to help make New Hampshire a community where we can all thrive, together.

We want New Hampshire to be a community where everyone can thrive.

 

When a community can draw on the potential, strength, ingenuity and grace of every person in it, that community will be healthier, happier, more prosperous and a better place to live for all.

 

This aspiration is not new. But to make real, lasting progress, we need to think and act differently. It starts with being clear about who faces barriers to thriving, why those barriers exist, and what it takes to remove them.

For too long, too many of us have faced barriers to basic rights and the ability to thrive based on race, gender identity, age, socioeconomic background, geography, sexual orientation, immigration status, ability, and other factors. Black, Latino, Asian, Indigenous and other people of color, in particular, face disproportionate barriers.

Systemic inequity and racism harm everyone and are at the root of many of our collective challenges. The crises of recent years — a global pandemic, economic and social upheaval, polarization, threats to democracy, accelerating climate change — have exacerbated inequities that were already deep and that will persist until the underlying causes are resolved.

For all of us to thrive, together, we will need to face our shared challenges with adaptation, openness, imagination and the determination to change:

  • We are committed to advancing equity and racial justice by prioritizing major areas of our community work, mobilizing philanthropic resources and aligning our internal operations.
  • We will develop new ways for donors to align their philanthropy with these pressing community needs.
  • We will strive to ensure that New Hampshire’s community foundation reflects the richness and diversity of the New Hampshire community.
  • And we will work with partners from all sectors to build more just economic, social, civic and philanthropic systems.

This work will take time, deep collaboration and tenacity. It is both urgent and generational — which is exactly what community foundations are built for. We’re in.

OUR PLAN TO ADVANCE EQUITY AND RACIAL JUSTICE

 

GOAL I

Lead with our community work

STRATEGY 1: Elevate community voices, share decision-making power and create solutions together

STRATEGY 2: Increase focus on equity, racial justice and economic security in grantmaking and strategic initiatives

GOAL II

Mobilize philanthropic resources

STRATEGY 1: Increase philanthropic capital to advance the priorities in our community work

STRATEGY 2: Align Foundation investments with purpose and values

GOAL III

Align our operations

STRATEGY 1: Adapt business model and operations

STRATEGY 2: Ensure that the Foundation’s culture, staffing and governance embody our values




 

Hundreds of New Hampshire voices

Many perspectives informed “Together We Thrive,” and we are grateful to all who helped shape this new plan, including:

  • A community listening team comprised of 15 people who have faced barriers to opportunity and who conducted interviews and surveyed more than 600 New Hampshire residents. Read the team’s report.
  • The more than 50 nonprofits who responded to a survey to tell us how the Foundation is doing now in advancing equity and racial justice and how we can do better. Read the nonprofit survey.
  • A synthesis of research and reports on obstacles to opportunity faced by people of color in New Hampshire, along with action recommendations. Read the summary.
  • Our staff, board of directors, regional advisors, donors and professional advisors who shared their concerns and aspirations for our communities.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How will Foundation grantmaking programs be affected by your focus on equity and racial justice?

    Our grantmaking will continue to focus on funding nonprofits that provide programming and services that address our communities’ challenges and align with our priority areas.

    We are not planning to make changes to our grantmaking programs in 2022. This year, we plan to review and improve our grant application programs, starting with Community Grants, to increase engagement in the grantmaking process of people most affected by the issues we seek to address and to maximize accessibility and accountability to the community. Once these plans are finalized, we will share any changes as we’ve done in the past: through a series of grantseeker information sessions.

    To learn more, read: A message to our nonprofit partners about ‘Together We Thrive’

    If you have any questions, please contact your senior program officer or contact Wendy Cahill, senior community grants associate, at wendy.cahill@nhcf.org or 603-225-6641 ext. 21249.

  • Will some nonprofits no longer be eligible for grants?

    Our grantmaking eligibility will remain the same, and may expand in some areas to increase accessibility of grant funds to community and grassroots organizations. We are beginning to use the lens of equity and racial justice in our grantmaking, and may ask related questions on grant applications and in reporting. We are committed to working with nonprofits to understand your needs, and to awarding multiyear operating grants to support your work.

    To learn more, read: A message to our nonprofit partners about ‘Together We Thrive’

    If you have any questions, please contact your senior program officer or contact Wendy Cahill, senior community grants associate, at wendy.cahill@nhcf.org or 603-225-6641 ext. 21249.

  • Will donor services change?

    As New Hampshire’s community foundation, we are committed to providing quality service to our donors and working with you to achieve your philanthropic goals across all of the areas critical to thriving communities: health and well-being, economic security, the environment, civic health, education and the arts.

    We also hope to co-invest with you on funding opportunities that advance equity and racial justice in all of these areas — for instance, in a land trust making their trails more accessible to all or an art gallery offering classes and exhibit space for immigrants. This could include funding Foundation initiatives like New Hampshire Tomorrow or establishing a charitable fund to support these efforts. For example, a new scholarship fund to increase scholarships available for students who face the most significant barriers to higher education and training.

    One area that will change is how we invest charitable assets on behalf of the community. We will bring an intentional, mission-aligned approach to all of our investments and will seek to achieve both community goals and financial return in our investment strategies.

    If you have any questions, please contact donor services at donorservices@nhcf.org or 603-225-6641 option 3 for assistance.

  • Will your focus on equity and racial justice mean that I have to change the nonprofits that I support through my donor-advised fund? Or the students that I support through my scholarship fund?

    You can continue to recommend grants to any IRS-qualified public charity. And we will continue to do the due diligence that you have come to rely on to ensure that all organizations receiving grants are in good standing and in alignment with our purpose and values. And scholarships will be awarded to students with the most need and most promise, following the fund purpose language.

    If you have any questions, please contact donor services at donorservices@nhcf.org or 603-225-6641 option 3 for assistance.

  • How can I do more with my own giving to advance equity and racial justice?

    We will be happy to work with you and share funding opportunities that align with your giving preferences. You will have continued access to subject-matter expertise from the Foundation’s staff, informed by those who are most affected by systemic challenges.

    If you have any questions, please contact donor services at donorservices@nhcf.org or 603-225-6641 option 3 for assistance.