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date: 18 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

A growing subset of hometown and place-based foundations in the United States have adopted an embedded philanthropic approach, in which funders “dig in” and “dig deeper” into the life of communities. Embedded philanthropy and embedded funders may change the landscape of community-building efforts in significant ways. This article discusses the history of U.S. foundations, their involvement in community development, and the emergence of comprehensive community initiatives. This entry also describes the distinction between embedded funding approaches and other conventional efforts. These include the use of a “bottom up” approach to social change, a focus on helping communities to build capacity, and the building of community assets. Case studies of select embedded foundation efforts will be presented to illustrate current methods, challenges, and implications for future work. This entry will also discuss a few of the new roles foundations play in order to achieve their objectives. As this approach continues to evolve and more evaluations take place, greater understanding will develop regarding the way forward for foundations in the United States.

Keywords: foundations, embedded, community change, empowering communities, philanthropy

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