Interview: James Magowan of the European Community Foundation Initiative

We're thrilled to bring the JFF community into conversation with the community foundation sector, a key part of the philanthropic landscape. James Magowan of the European Community Foundation Initiative helped us understand better the sector & its relationship with information & media.

Here are 5 key quotes from our interview with James,  which we'll post in full soon:

  1. "When you've seen one community foundation, you've seen one community foundation," says James - they're so diverse in form and function that it's hard to generalise about the sector.
  2. "Lockdown made us have this sense of place because we were locked into place, and people started to re-engage a bit more with their communities. Community foundations played the role of encouraging and supporting people to better understand the quality of the environment within which they live and act."
  3. "Community foundations encourage and promote a sense of place, and identity associated with place, and, critically, transcend the other differences that exist in terms of economic and social status, and wellbeing and the diversity that exists within that place. Community foundations are key because they address this intersectionality as it affects people's lives in their locality."
  4. While community foundations in some places might look very much like traditional philanthropic institutions, "in Central and Eastern Europe you see a completely different type of operation, driven by young people, activists, from the community - really diverse and engaged."
  5. Information and journalism are fundamental to community foundations, says James, but "the community foundation needs a critical mass itself in order to have the authority to be able to convene or engage with media."

Stay tuned for the full interview soon... In the meantime, here's an interview with James on the Giving Thought podcast, and here's ECFI's latest State of the Field report.