Funding Regionally: How Private Foundations Can Set a Regional Planning Agenda
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Funding Regionally: How Private Foundations Can Set a Regional Planning Agenda

  • Author(s): Gordon, Kate;
  • et al.

Though the problems facing U.S. cities are increasingly regional in nature, traditional state and market institutions set up to address these problems are often organized along counter-regional lines. In this article I ask: Given the non- regional nature of these institutions, how can planners set a regional planning agenda? After examining the counter- regional pressures placed on most institutional actors, I conclude that private foundations are in a key strategic position to set this agenda. Basic goals that policymakers and grassroots leaders articulate for improving economic, environmental, and social conditions in their regions are discussed, and I attempt to re-frame these goals in terms of a regional funding strategy for foundations. In re-framing these goals, the potential for foundations to encourage collaboration between diverse grantees is highlighted, as are various strategies that foundations can use to help their grantees achieve these goals. Ultimately, the proper role for a private foundation interested in promoting regional equity and sustainability is to create a “language of regionalism” by promoting information-sharing between grantees with the most abstract vision for the region (policy institutes and universities) and grantees who are working on the ground (community-based organizations).

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