Posts by Allen Smart
Program Officers: Foundations’ Cultural and Strategic Messengers
The foundation program officer has always had a difficult role. Part gatekeeper, part bureaucracy manager, part cheerleader – and now increasingly responsible for building collaboratives, promoting equity and engendering trust. At their best, they can hold all these skills concurrently. At their least effective, they gravitate to one competency over all others and muddle through…Read More
Three Simple Ways for Funders to Make Their Rural Work Authentic
I have been there. The visit from the big city or national funder. The awkward conversations with the visitors that want to get the best shrimp and grits or crawfish. And the never-ending sense that you are selling something that, even with the best intentions, the visitor is never going to understand. They may get…Read More
What Are Foundations Doing To Help Understand And Diminish The Barriers To People Getting Available COVID-19 Vaccines?
The widespread demand for the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States was widely anticipated. And appointment systems have been overwhelmed, and long lines have been seen at many mass vaccination sites around the country. Although the first vaccine was administered in mid-December 2020, by April 4, only 18.5 percent of US residents had been fully…Read More
Think About Rural America As A Place And Not As An Issue
It’s been well documented that rural America represents 97% of the land in the United States; 19% of the people, and some of the fastest (and slowest) growing places in the country. Rural economies that were founded on natural resources have changed and might now be similarly dependent on healthcare or government employment. Many rural…Read More
Helping America’s “Forgotten Places” Amid a Pandemic
A new project has provided hard data to back up a truth already known to many Southern funders: our region contains a disproportionate share of the nation’s most disadvantaged areas. Understanding Communities of Deep Disadvantage, released in January 2020 by researchers at the University of Michigan and Princeton University, combines health and economic data in…Read More
How Is Rural Philanthropy Responding To COVID-19? Under The Radar.
While the many efforts of funders in response to COVID-19 have been deservedly recognized, the work of those responding to rural communities’ COVID-19 crisis is less well known. Rural cases continue to grow at a quicker rate than urban cases do—and like in urban areas, the impacts are disproportionately on rural communities of color. There…Read More