Community Foundations Essential to Achieving SDGs, Report Argues

Community Foundations Essential to Achieving SDGs, Report Argues

With their focus on strengthening the social fabric of local communities and their power to convene stakeholders, community foundations play a vital role in driving progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, a report from the Council on Foundations argues.

The report, Local Leadership, Global Impact: Community Foundations and the Sustainable Development Goals (29 pages, PDF), found that community foundations already are using the SDGs as a framework to create a greater impact. Released at the first North American Community Foundation Summit, which is being held in Mexico City this week and is co-hosted by Comunalia Alliance (Community Foundations of Mexico), Community Foundations of Canada, and the council, the report highlights case studies of community foundations working to empower women and girls (Goal 5) in Nepal, end hunger (Goal 2) in Brazil, and leverage local expertise and data to better inform grantmaking decisions in support of SDGs in Florida, Canada, and around the globe.

The report outlines issues for community foundations to consider as well as ten steps they can take as they apply an SDG lens to their work to improve the quality of life in their communities — including mapping the SDGs to local challenges, using existing data to create local goals, leveraging successful global models for local pilots, building cross-sector ownership of solutions, and monitoring progress locally.

"The seventeen SDGs represent a global agenda," said CoF president and CEO Vikki Spruill. "But they require local action to achieve them. Community foundations — place-based, grassroots organizations addressing local challenges — have been overlooked as a means to achieving the SDGs. There is a major opportunity before us to leverage their unmatched convening power and local knowledge to improve lives on a global scale….No entity can achieve the bold vision of the SDGs by working alone — and community foundations are showing the world what's possible when different sectors work together, especially in local contexts."