Smart Growth and the Future of Regions and Communities

At the Funders’ Network, we look to the future…to the public decisions communities and regions will have to make about what, where, and how to grow and change. Every one of those decisions is an opportunity to make our regions and communities even better.

But we have to look at the big picture, put all the options on the table, and decide together what’s best. To do that, residents need early and complete information and a chance to have a say. And what we decide together has to benefit the community as a whole—developers and taxpayers, people on this side of town and people on that side of town, current residents and future residents.

The Funders’ Network is a membership organization that helps grantmakers across North America advance strategies to create fair, prosperous, and sustainable regions and communities that offer everyone the chance for a good life. We believe that the suite of tools available to funders―investing, grantmaking, collaborating, convening, facilitating, and more―uniquely position them to lead the movement for smarter growth policies and practices that benefit both places and people.

Looking Back

Our History

A brief history of the Network is captured in our 10th anniversary retrospective, Looking Back: Influencing, Networking, Facilitating.

Looking Forward

What We Do:

One
Share knowledge

We provide funders with intellectual resources, tools and models, and personal connections on how growth and development strategies connect to a range of issues and funder priorities.

Two
Foster networks

We bring funders together, foster networks among grantmakers, practitioners, and policymakers, and promote new and productive relationships to help funders accomplish their goals.

Three
Encourage funder leadership

We facilitate philanthropic leadership by providing strategic support to place- and issue-based collaboratives aimed at action; by managing a variety of funder working groups and learning networks; and by delivering targeted consulting services.

What People are Saying:

“The Funders’ Network has been very helpful in getting folks in a room to talk about common issues. They helped us develop a working group of funders working in older industrial cities and helped bring together funders in states to support statewide smart growth policies. As a national funder, they provide us with additional convening capacity that helps us better connect with our foundation colleagues at the state, regional, and local levels.”

―Kim Burnett
Program Director
Surdna Foundation

“As a member of the Funders’ Network, you know you’re not working in a vacuum. There are others working on other aspects of what you are doing. That really resonates with this community of funders, so you know that this is the right place to be.”

―Dana Bourland
Senior Director, Green Communities
Enterprise Community Partners

"They do a terrific job of creating easy access to information, whether it’s about growth, or green buildings, or whatever. You can easily call them, ask for advice, and get connected to a network of people."

―Cheryl Casciani
Director of Community Investment
Baltimore Community Foundation