top of page


In recent years, foundations have become increasingly attentive to issues of equity, as well as accountability to the communities they serve.


For large, national foundations, getting closer to community can be a challenging process. Given their size and scale, national foundations can struggle with issues of proximity, trust, and cultural understanding. At the same time, developing these relationships can reap tremendous benefits, including deeper impact on the issues foundations care about most.

Based on a year-long research effort, these reports, commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, offer critical insights and tips on how national foundations can strengthen their relationships with those most directly impacted by inequity.


Partnering with Community for Better Philanthropy examines the unique context of national and large foundations, including the ways in which their size, scale, and orientation pose challenges and create opportunities for meaningful partnership with communities in foundation decision-making. The report also explores the institutional and individual competencies needed to do this work well and offers recommendations for getting started.

Full Report [PDF]

Executive Summary [PDF]

Engaging Community in Decision-Making: A Roadmap for National Foundations [PDF]


A Foot in Both Worlds: Working with Regional Organizations to Advance Equity looks at how national funders can advance equity through partnership with and support for regional organizations (versus local or national organizations). We examine how national foundations can build effective partnerships with these organizations and the potential pitfalls and challenges of this work.

Full Report [PDF]

Executive Summary [PDF]

These reports were produced by COMM|VEDA Consulting and Kemp Whitfield, Inc. with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

bottom of page