It is clear that the challenges facing poor communities at home and abroad are formidable, but the strategies for success are within reach. Tides has long recognized a visionary approach to philanthropy. What is often missing is an intimate understanding of the motivations of donors and the means to turn philanthropic intention to strategic and sustainable community support. This year alone Tides has already launched two impact focused initiatives – Civic Participation Fund and (Ad)venture Philanthropy. Our goal is to re-ignite the spirit of social change giving and philanthropy at home and abroad through donor education and the creation of linkages among this growing community of well-intentioned, and potentially high-impact givers.

In shaping these special initiatives, Tides decided to first listen and learn. We listened to the voices of those working on the ground everyday to claim their own power and potential, along with those addressing the systemic pressures that hamper their success. We also learned about the strategies that are positively affecting broad education and awareness, economic development and what is missing to turn crisis into opportunity.

In that listening and learning process, we heard people share their deep concern for:
• The declining numbers of voters especially among youth and working poor communities
• A changing economic environment that has replaced good jobs with benefits with best scenario – just taking a job to pay the bills or unemployment
• The institutional barriers facing women’s equal pay and equal say about their bodies and reproductive justice
• The barriers that work against new majority and immigrants who simply want to be fully engaged in America with their families
• The growing health disparities facing working class communities

In this process we also heard about the assets and hope embodied by many of those engaged:
• Community resiliency in the face of daunting odds throughout each generation
• Organizations using their own resources to influence private and public policy
• Individuals that have become successful and are committed to giving back
• Those that are creating practical solutions to the new economy
• The continuing resiliency and pride of a diverse American culture

It is from this rich exchange of ideas and experiences that Tides began to shape these initiatives – that are not just about innovative grantmaking focused on building the capacity of organizations to impact systemic change, but also about being a catalyst for increased funding and support for the whole range of issues in the face of reflection about our future. If we are not undivided, indivisible with liberty and justice for all, then who are we?

One thing is clear. Tides nor anyone else can provide remedy or hope in isolation. Hence we are not just presenting our own ideas, but opening the floor for donors to join us.

If you want to help, you can:
• Designate a contribution to one of these funds, or choose to join in the (Ad)venture
• Get three friends to contribute to the Civic Participation Fund in 2012
• Get your company to make a matching gift contribution to either Fund
• Host a community briefing for you and your friends, family and colleagues that focuses on issues impacting the full range of work that is needed to positively impact the world around us – from self-empowerment to community organizing and public policy
• Open an impact-driven fund with Tides

For more information about (Ad)venture Philanthropy, contact Nicholas Almeida at [email protected] For the Civic Participation Fund, contact Steven Cole-Schwartz at [email protected] To open a fund with Tides, contact Brad Luckhardt at [email protected]