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Funders at the Foundation
By Connie Grosch / June 17, 2014 /   Loading Disqus...

Last week, here at the Rhode Island Foundation, potential funders gathered on consecutive days to talk about two distinct topics: building a sustainable regional food system and building a community power base to achieve social justice for those who are disadvantaged.

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On Wednesday, advocates for community-led organizing met with local, regional and national funders to define community organizing, discuss why it needs to be funded, and to determine how to fund it to ensure the most positive impact and outcomes.

As a bottom-up approach to social change, community organizing aims to revitalize disadvantaged neighborhoods and communities by addressing power disparities, by empowering people who are directly impacted by the issues addressed. To foster participation among marginalized groups that have been absent from the table - communities of color, low-income groups, immigrants, sexual minorities and youth - presents a unique set of challenges.

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Thursday brought more than two dozen food funders to the Foundation, here in Rhode Island for the 2014 New England Food Summit. Now in its fourth year, the summit promotes collaboration among stakeholders from across the food system - from agriculture to nutrition and health to those focused on social justice aspects of our food system.

The first-ever funder delegation, spear-headed by the Henry P. Kendall Foundation, the Merck Family Fund, and the John Merck Fund, seeks to strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship in sustainably grown food throughout New England.

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