CF Insights asks a very simple but important question: "What if each community foundation could know what all community foundations collectively know?" This collection features research produced and funded by community foundations, and other resources relevant to the field. Contact us at and visit us at

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San Diego, 2050 Is Calling: How Will We Answer? (2016)

May 5, 2016

The San Diego Foundation, in partnership with Climate Education Partners, released new findings that identify and address the impacts of a changing climate on business and economic growth in the San Diego region.

Beyond Almonds and Blond Lawns: Investing in Non-Profit Organizations To Sustain Central Valley Communities Beyond the Drought

September 1, 2015

California and the San Joaquin Valley are in the midst of the worst drought in state history. Due to record low rainfall and snowpack, in January 2015 Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought State of Emergency and introduced drastic water cuts, including a 25% reduction of water use by all cities. The drought has caused significant disruption and distress in urban and rural water use, agricultural livelihoods, the larger economy, and day-to-day activities of residents across the state.The San Joaquin Valley is particularly hard-hit, with rural and low-income communities especially hurt by the drought, in the context of long-term changes in the agricultural economy, historically low economic development, poor infrastructure, and a frayed social-safety net.In spring 2015, the Fresno Regional Foundation began examining the impacts of the drought on San Joaquin Valley non-profit organizations that have been at the forefront of helping struggling individuals, families, and communities. This project focuses on community-benefit organizations (CBOs) to highlight the often hidden community-level impacts of the drought, since non-profits have not been the focus of previous studies, and because these organizations provide the critical link between philanthropic strategy and lasting social impact.The project gathered information and feedback from nonprofits through an on-line survey of San Joaquin Valley organizations, a series of stakeholder interviews, and four workshops with CBO leaders in Fresno, Merced, Visalia, and Bakersfield. The report ends with conclusions and recommendations for how foundations and other investors can best assist CBOs to improve their impact and better serve vulnerable populations in the Valley.

San Diego, 2050 is Calling: How Will We Answer?

June 10, 2014

Recent public opinion surveys have found that an overwhelming majority -- 84% -- of San Diego County residents believe climate change is happening, and almost as many expect the impacts to affect them, their families and future generations. This report is meant to provide those who live, do business and govern in our region with up to date scientific understanding of how the impacts of climate change are likely to affect our region and how regional leaders are already responding to those impacts. Better understanding can help us, individually and collectively, decide which paths will define the kind of future we want to create. Information for this report was provided by a group of more than 40 multidisciplinary experts from local universities, governments, public sector agencies, nonprofits and private sector organizations throughout the San Diego region. Working together, these experts collected the most up to date science based on historical data and current trends, as well as complex models that project the various impacts of climate change expected in the region related to extreme weather events, water supply, wildfires, natural resources and public health.

Tracking Oregon's Progress: A Report of the Tracking Oregon's Progress (TOP) Indicators Project

January 31, 2014

In 1989, Oregon embarked on a novel experiment to track the progress of the state toward a set of economic, social and environmental goals embodied in the state strategic plan Oregon Shines. The task of tracking a set of indicators to measure progress was assigned to a new state entity: the Oregon Progress Board. For two decades, the Progress Board measured the state's progress using a set of social, economic and environmental indicators. After the 2009 report was completed however, the state decided not to continue funding the Progress Board and discontinued the tracking of state and county indicators.This 2014 report is a report to the people of Oregon. It identifies trends in the state that suggest both progress toward prosperity as well as issues that may be a source of future barriers and concerns. Like those who led previous indicator efforts, we hope that the report and website will be used by policymakers, government analysts, the press, business and civic leaders and the civically-engaged population to better understand the current social, economic, and environmental condition of the state.

Where is the Role of Philanthropy in the RESTORE Act?

June 12, 2013

The RESTORE Act presents an historic opportunity to invest in the revitalization of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem on an unprecedented scale. The Act also can provide support for spurring economic recovery for a region hit hard by the BP Deepwater Horizon spill of 2010. Though much remains uncertain about how the Act will be funded and put to use, enough is clear to take stock of what the Act can do, what it will not do, and how affected communities and stakeholders might best engage the RESTORE Act process to ensure it fulfills its promise of a revitalized Gulf of Mexico.Given the unprecedented nature of the RESTORE Act and the hopes and expectations that many have for the Act, it is important to keep in mind what the Act will not and cannot be expected to do. Simply put, the Act does not address, much less solve, the deep ecologic challenges facing the Gulf of Mexico and its associated coastal ecosystems. Nor does it address the longstanding challenges to the sustainability and resilience of the communities of the region, many of which are tied to past and projected environmental trends in the coast and the Gulf. The Act can certainly improve conditions and create greater possibilities for the future, but it will take much more than RESTORE Act dollars to create the intellectual, civic, and financial capacity to achieve the goal of a Gulf and coast that are ecologically, culturally, and economically vibrant and sustainable. Indeed, it is far more certain that the challenges of participating in the RESTORE Act process -- which will stretch on for some years -- and ensuring that the Act in fact lives up to its promise will put new demands on communities and stakeholders that the Act does not meet in any way. Those demands and the broader demands of creating sustainable communities and environments will likely have to be met by the sort of civic, academic, and philanthropic investment that helped make the RESTORE Act a plausible public investment.

Catalyzing Networks for Social Change

October 24, 2011

Explains how funders can "catalyze" networks to address complex, interconnected issues: weave social ties; access diverse perspectives; openly build and share knowledge; create infrastructure for widespread engagement; and coordinate resources and action.

Healthy Parks, Schools and Communities: Green Access and Equity in Orange County

March 16, 2011

Analyzes children's fitness, obesity, and park access by race/ethnicity, district, and poverty. Outlines the health, community, cultural, and environmental benefits of as well as equal justice issues related to green access. Makes recommendations.

Sustainable Pavement Solutions for Oahu

February 2, 2011

An Exploration into the Use of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP), Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) and other Sustainable Strategies for O'ahu's Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) Pavements

Grants to Green -- Improving the Environmental Sustainability of Nonprofits

January 31, 2011

Describes how the Grants to Green initiative is helping Atlanta nonprofits reduce energy and water use while increasing cost efficiency by funding green building assessments and implementation, knowledge sharing, leadership opportunities, and evaluation.

Green Access and Equity for the San Diego Region

October 1, 2010

Maps green space using geographic, demographic, economic, and historical data to examine green access, equity, and implications. Recommends prioritizing joint-use projects in income- and park-poor areas and addressing various health and cultural needs.

Findings of the National Blue Ribbon Panel on the Development of a Greenhouse Gas Offset Protocol for Tidal Wetlands Restoration and Management

August 30, 2010

Explains the potential, methods, and requirements for improving wetlands management as a way to reduce GHG emissions and creating a protocol to include such projects in the carbon market. Outlines an action plan for addressing science and policy issues.

Regional Review of the ARRA for Northeastern Illinois

June 1, 2010

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of public policy intervention. Unprecedented strategies and investments were deployed to address the most severe recession since the Great Depression. The policy and programming solutions implemented by the ARRA were designed to not only stop economic decline, but also to build a stronger foundation for long-term economic prosperity. With over a year since the ARRA programs and policies came into effect, we can now assess initial progress, learn from accomplishments and challenges, and work to address obstacles to support better future success. It is critical we utilize this opportunity to ensure a successful recovery and lay the groundwork for effective future investments.To help our region capitalize on this opportunity and support long-term success, CMAP and the Chicago Community Trust convened the Regional ARRA Coordinating Council to develop targeted strategies for maximizing ARRA resources throughout the region, specifically for housing, energy, weatherization, and workforce development. The participating agencies include: The Center for Neighborhood Technology, Chicago Jobs Council, Community and Economic Development Association, Grand Victoria Foundation, Housing Action Illinois, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Metropolitan Planning Council, Metropolis 2020, and the Recovery Partnership. Drawing on the insight and knowledge of these agencies, we are able to obtain a detailed understanding that will enable our ability to succeed. The purpose of this report is to utilize the expert knowledge available through the Regional ARRA Coordinating Council in order to better understand the status of selected ARRA programs, identify opportunities, develop strategic responses to address challenges, and help ensure that these resources and future resources are used effectively and have a long-term impact. The ARRA is comprised of a complex and comprehensive set of investments. Several reports have recently emerged on the impact of these investments and policies, including Vice President Biden's Annual Report. Highlights from this report, an overview of the State of Illinois implementation of major ARRA programs, and key observations are summarized to help establish a context to better understand the factors that affect ARRA implementation. A regional overview of progress based on the most current data available is provided for the following programs: Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG), Weatherization, Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing (HPRP), Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funding, competitive workforce development grants, and transportation formula and competitive funding. In addition, overviews of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP1), which was enacted through the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, and its successor, NSP2, which was funded through ARRA, are included. Foreseeable issues and recommendations on potential strategies to address challenges and support success are also provided.