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The Gifford Approach. It’s small splashes creating powerful waves. Karate classes for youth on the North Side. Computers for a heritage site in Madison County. Or perhaps larger grants with equally resonant impact – the Children’s Reading Tree at the renovated Oswego Public Library. A Food Coop to bring fresh produce to residents of the Southside.

The Gifford Approach means strategic, proactive methods to build capacity – from $5,000 mini-grants to $100,000 capacity investments. It’s projects and convenings that gather people together to identify shared concerns, develop solutions and plan for the future – whether through a film series, a resource sharing website or a neighborhood summit.

The Gifford Approach. By building the capacity of our community, including individuals, community groups or established not for profits, we support not just activities but the core elements required for growth and stability. Strong organizations mean effective outcomes; a vital community is contingent upon active and engaged citizens. Our dollars flow towards those groups that believe in “doing with, rather than doing for,” that truly listen to those they serve.

The Gifford Approach. We listen as well. Our staff members are as much a part of our asset base as our investments. From serving on community panels, to board membership, to site visits, our staff is there on the ground, yet can also see the big picture. With a broader view we celebrate the bright spots and help identify the gaps. Neighbor to neighbor engagement enables us to learn from those who are most deeply affected by the twists and turns of fate.

The Gifford Approach. We believe that healthy communities are comprised of many facets: effective social services, children engaged in learning, art that promotes essential human values, and social entrepreneurship that sparks success. We act as a “connector,” bringing together those poised for change with people who can drive that change.

Mask created by Patch Up Studio on the Near Westside.

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