Looking Ahead: The Future of Place-Based Initiatives and the Implications for Funder Strategy and Practice


November 5, 2015 – James M. Ferris presented findings from a new report issued by The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy at a roundtable in Washington, DC organized by the National Governor’s Association that explored how state government could support the variety of place-based efforts underway across the country. In his remarks, Ferris noted that leading practitioners and scholars are moving past the notion of place-based initiatives as self-contained projects or laboratory experiments toward more expansive and “connective” approaches that account for local community dynamics.

He noted several challenges facing funding institutions and place-based leaders as work on placed based initiatives continues to evolve: creating new policy- and action-oriented organizational structures; forging cross-sector partnerships with government and business; and adapting evaluation methods and measures of success to be more inclusive, adaptive and systems-oriented. Ferris concluded his remarks by underscoring the importance of using equity as key organizing principle and focal point for such efforts.

The remarks were based on Looking Ahead, co-authored by Elwood Hopkins, Founder and Managing Director, Emerging Markets, which examines the future of place-based initiatives and the implications for funder strategy and practice. The report builds on findings from The Center’s year-long inquiry into the state of place-based initiatives that concluded with a forum at USC in December 2014 – Prioritizing Place – and the subsequent publication of a monograph: Place-based Initiatives in the Context of Public Policy and Markets: Moving to Higher Ground in May of 2015. Looking Ahead and Ferris’s presentation were made possible with the support of the California Endowment.

The report can be downloaded here

For more information:

Please contact Nick Williams, Associate Director, The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy at [email protected] or 213 740 8557.