Community Transformation Grants: Working Together to Create Change

Kendra Witt-Doyle
Executive Director, Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health

The Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health is excited to announce that the cities of Orofino and Twin Falls are the new recipients of the Community Transformation Grant (CTG). CTG is a multiyear effort designed to mobilize Idaho communities and identify transformational change focusing on physical activity and healthy foods for youth.

This type of model is an emerging trend in philanthropy that emphasizes multiyear partnerships with communities and organizations. The CTG model includes technical assistance and grant funding to create sustainable change that lasts for generations.

In traditional philanthropy models, grants and their associated funders have been removed from each other. The funder gave the organization a check, and then asked for a report at the end of the grant.

Our Foundation uses newer models of philanthropy, where funders and recipient organizations (or communities) work together to create transformational change. The type of relationship allows the funder to better understand the community and learn where additional assistance is needed to create change.

During the Community Transformation Grant, the Foundation will be working with Orofino and Twin Falls to understand the unique assets in each community and learn where there are opportunities to make change. In collaboration with each community, the Foundation will develop an action plan designed to identify transformational solutions that are well suited to each community’s needs.

The following principles are used throughout the CTG process:

1. Understanding: The Foundation does not bring any preconceived notions or prescriptive projects to each community. The grant starts with understanding community assets, needs, and opportunities to make impact.

2. Collaborative: The grant focuses on building a collaborative effort and many community partners will come to the table to craft a plan to create change.

3. Catalytic: The focus of the CTG grant is to “lighting a fire” that creates momentum and energy to create change.

4. Adapting: The Foundation embraces being adaptive and not getting stuck on one solution. This method has enabled previous CTG communities to be agile and shift focus as needed.

5. Sustainable Change: CTG focuses on creating sustainable change that will last for generations.

The Foundation is excited to build partnerships with Orofino and Twin Falls and looks forward to seeing the transformational change that is developed in both communities.