SCCF Community Development

Building Capacity and Sustainability with Plateau Nonprofits

Small nonprofits don’t just need funding. While SCCF believes that it can encourage “proactive and forward-looking” action through the grants process, the Fund has learned that simply providing funding should not be the only measure of its work and influence. In follow-up meetings with grantees it became clear that there was a need to strengthen individual organizations and the networks among them. Conversations developed between SCCF and the University of the South, and a community development committee was established to meet this need, called for by the nonprofit organizations that SCCF serves.

Professor Arvind Singhal, an expert in the Positive Deviance model, has conducted two popular multi-day workshops for SCCF and the Plateau community at the University of the South.

In 2014, the University established the Office of Civic Engagement (OCE) to develop and support the University's increasing presence in the broader community, as well as to co-host - along with SCCF - the South Cumberland Plateau AmeriCorps VISTA Project, established that same year. This joint effort, which began with the appointment of a community development director in 2014 to direct the AmeriCorps VISTA program and lead SCCF's community development efforts, has paid huge dividends in a very short time. The partnership between OCE and SCCF provides a model of innovative cooperation between an institution of higher education and a charitable organization. 

SCCF's first Plateau-wide convening of early grade teachers and staff from the region's eight elementary schools for the purpose of teacher training occurred July 19 & 20, 2019 - with another held the following fall and more to follow in 2020.

SCCF and OCE hosted Community Conversations in October 2019 which was attended by more than 120 community members from across the Plateau. Discussions from the two sessions held will help fuel SCCF and OCE's work in the community moving forward.
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