Building Community Assets
How we measure the kind of impact we're after.
When we use the term "building community assets" as a means to gauge our success. We use it to convey the method by which we measure specific factors that allow us to ensure growth — and ultimately, impact — in the right areas.
To that end, we measure community assets using a broad, holistic framework, based on different types of "capital". Because it's not enough for us to just throw darts, we need to have a very clear view of our target.
And that includes having a firm grasp on the following:
- Financial Capital: While we've always been about more than money, we're definitely about money too. We pay close attention to the investment of the financial assets on our balance sheet, and we help build the balance sheets of the community organizations we support.
- Social Capital: As part of our origins in a cooperative, and through our structure as a community foundation, we recognize the value of personal relationships among people. Bonding capital (between individuals) and bridging capital (between organizations) help us be more effective.
- Natural Capital: We all exist as part of a much larger ecosystem made up of components we don't fully understand and yet are essential to our survival. As such, we strive to ensure natural capital is taken into account in all of our decisions, and that sustainability is gauged over a considerable timeframe. Many of our funds were established in perpetuity, and we take this seriously.
- Human Capital: Investing in people is really one of the things we do best. By developing the capacity of individuals to make contributions, through both brain-power and/or their physical-power, we grow the strength and resilience of communities.
- Built Capital: Buildings, physical space, and infrastructure — either through community owned real estate or by leveraging investment in the buildings where individuals are housed and where organizations deliver programs.
- Political Capital: While we do not take partisan positions on issues, we recognize the importance of our political system, and we seek opportunities to either help build capacity among local organizations or to directly contribute to change objectives through policy advocacy and relationships with different levels of government.
- Cultural Capital: Perhaps the most difficult "capital" to measure or articulate, we see cultural capital as likely the most important asset of all. Inherent in this capital is our definition of "value". Affecting the ways that people understand the world around them, and contributing to the vibrancy, identity, and pride in our communities provides the foundation for building all the other types of capital appropriately.