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South Florida overlooked in national funding
Source: The Miami Herald  ·  November 12, 2010  ·  Excerpt

Despite South Florida's large size and its many needy residents, the region falls short when it comes to receiving national philanthropic investments.

Miami received a total of $95 million from the top 50 foundations awarding grants in the United States in 2008, according to a report from The Foundation Center, which connects nonprofits and grantmakers. By comparison, Boston received a total of $720 million the same year and Atlanta received $510 million.

"I don't think we are entitled to anything, to say it's our share, but we currently don't get large investments here in South Florida from the largest organizations that provide philanthropic donations,'' said Scot Marken, president and CEO of the Donors Forum of South Florida, which recently has been making presentations for local nonprofits in an effort to drive home the importance of networking, relationship-building and statement of need.

"There's not a lot of philanthropic investment in South Florida from national investors.''

Marken believes part of the oversight is because of poor communication about local needs.

Betty Alonso, director of programs at the Miami Foundation (formerly the Dade Community Foundation), recently went on a networking mission in Detroit to seek grants for South Florida. She stressed the importance of relationship building.

"Miami does a good job promoting the positive, so there isn't evidence of need in our communities,'' Alonso said. The national perception of life here revolves around South Beach and the party scene.

Our take
While most organizations are keenly aware of local issues, opportunities and challenges, determining the perceptions of your area from those on the outside can be daunting. Philanthropists will identify regions most in need based on individual passions—in education, healthcare, the environment and elsewhere—and focus their attention and funds accordingly.

No matter where your organization is based, let Compass Pointe provide a fresh set of eyes on your local area. Contact us now for help answering these questions and more:

  • What existing research on my community might provide an understanding of external perceptions?
  • Can more be done to attract attention to major local issues among relevant groups of philanthropists and other public donors?


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