We Will See You ‘On The Ground’ in Indianapolis

Grassroots Grantmakers’ “On The Ground” is a nontraditional, neighborhood-based, resident-led conference experience featuring “learning journeys” in the host community. Our 2019 conference will be in July in Indianapolis.

With its community-based focus that’s been so popular with past participants, On The Ground is different from many traditional conferences. But it still provides various community stakeholders with the enriching learning and networking experiences needed to advance both personal and professional goals related to community philanthropy and resident engagement strategies.

“I think where Grassroots Grantmakers can be even more impactful within the field is to identify smaller community markets to host our national conferences and make an investment there — places where we all would love to visit, but for whatever reason we have not had a chance to venture to these relatively smaller communities where great resident-led work is also taking place,” says Kaliah Ligon, Grassroots Grantmakers board member.

The 2019 conference will feature several all-day learning journeys highlighting this history of traditional institutional models that have invested in communities. Members will visit faith-based institutions, community centers and community development corporations. They will engage with residents to discuss strategies for reinventing community investment and organizing communities to meet the needs of today’s residents.

“Grassroots Grantmakers has always provided a safe space not only for those who desired to be institutional changemakers within their respective organizations, but also social changemakers within the communities where they lived and serve,” says Janis Richardson, Grassroots Grantmakers Executive Director Emeritus. “I know under our current leader, we will continue to provide unique networking opportunities for those who value resident engagement while also trying to be a change agent of one.”

Grassroots Grantmakers did not host its signature event in 2018, focusing instead on our search for a new executive director. We are excited to relaunch On The Ground for 2019.

During the 2019 conference, we will announce plans for our new professional development and regional growth strategy, The Grassroots Institute. On The Ground participants will have the opportunity to apply the lessons from the learning journeys within structured professional development opportunities, led primarily by resident facilitators and aimed at enhancing community grantmaking and resident engagement skills.

Some topics of the 2019 On The Ground workshops are:

• Effective grantmaking practices.
• Systems change.
• Community healing.
• Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD).
• Results-Based Accountability (RBA).
• The power of storytelling.
• Effective listening.
• Inclusive grantmaking.
• Developing small-grants initiatives.
• Diversity, equity and inclusion in philanthropy.
• Qualitative analysis.
• Citizen-sector leadership.

The 2019 On The Ground conference will conclude with specific sessions designed to improve institutions’ ability to partner with residents to develop impactful and sustainable community improvement strategies.

We will leverage entertainment options for participants by selecting dates that coincide with local community summer celebrations. Watch for “Save the Date” notices soon for additional details and specific July dates for the event.

“Community celebrations are what binds residents together,” says Roderick Wheeler, Grassroots Grantmakers Executive Director. “These celebrations often reaffirm what is unique about a community or they honor shared experiences that make each community different. Grassroots Grantmakers conferences will coincide with local community celebrations that honor the contributions of residents and the spirit of philanthropy.”

Grassroots Grantmakers welcomes members to serve on our On The Ground committee, and we invite you to consider becoming a strategic sponsor to help relaunch the conference in Indianapolis.

If you are interested in volunteering or sponsoring, please contact Roderick Wheeler.

Thanks for your continued support. We look forward to seeing you “On The Ground” in Indianapolis in 2019!


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