The dynamic changes in our community and in our world during the past two years made it the right time to evolve YCCF to become even more effective partners in philanthropy for a more vibrant York County.
We sought feedback on how we do our work and learned that we need to be more courageous leaders, focus on key issues for measurable impact and be more inclusive and accessible. As York’s community foundation, we absolutely need to be a place where all feel welcomed, included, and listened to. We need to better connect with those impacted by the issues we seek to address and be open to creative ideas. We also know that when we align with others towards common goals, we can achieve transformational progress.
We’ve set three main goals for the coming years:
One: Remove barriers to economic mobility so lower income people can build financial security.
Why this focus? The pandemic made it crystal clear that more people are living on the edge than we imagined. In fact, a third of County households are financially insecure. That means that people are living paycheck to paycheck, and they are one car repair or health scare away from financial crisis. We will leverage our efforts with partner organizations like YCEA and the United Way for greater impact.
To address this critical need, YCCF has launched the THRIVE grant program with the Fund for York County. Grants will focus on programs and collaboratives that transform lives and our community by helping peoples with limited income overcome barriers and not just plug a hole but to holistically address the variety of needs families with low-income face so they can be economically independent. This means removing barriers to economic mobility so people of all ages can thrive. Children will have the support and education they need to grow, adults have the training, childcare and transportation they need to retain family-sustaining employment, and people live in homes and neighborhoods that support them. We are also focusing on supporting and strengthening collaboratives working
across sectors achieve community-wide impact.
Two: Be the first people you call to discuss your charitable giving goals and how you can be part of community transformation. Donors who believe in endowment understand the lasting impact their gift can have on a community. We will work to better understand donors’ intentions and craft a lasting legacy that benefits individuals and the broader community. We will invite donors and the broader community to learn more about community needs through a free virtual education series called ‘Together We Thrive’.
Three: Use a lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of our work. As York’s community foundation, we are getting better at including the perspectives of all of its residents. We’ve added diversity to our staff, board and committees and support community efforts like the Confronting Racism Coalition. We are not just checking a box however, we conduct bias-awareness training with our staff and board, refreshed our hiring practices and our grant process to expand our outreach to communities of color. And we are investing in strengthening the cultural competence of the nonprofit sector.
In 2021, we launched the Racial Equity Fund to address racism and inequity in our community. So far we have awarded nearly $100,000 in grants which is guided by a committee of volunteers of color. In 2022, we added a half million dollars to the Fund and will continue seek donors who want to invest in advancing opportunities for all.
We envision a York County where all people are afforded equitable opportunities for all. We believe that community leadership organizations like YCCF need to be vocal advocates for better and together we will affect positive change.