Philanthropic Priorities 3

Community Foundation 
Conducts Region’s First-Ever Needs Assessment

Rarely is a single organization able to identify and respond to the needs of an entire community; however, that’s exactly what the Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty is hoping to achieve next Spring. The Foundation will partner with Ignite Philanthropy Advisors to conduct the first-ever comprehensive community needs assessment for the West Chester and Liberty Township area. The final result will be a Community Needs Assessment Report outlining areas of identified needs in the region where philanthropy can make a meaningful impact.

“We’re seeking to gain a deeper understanding of the needs in West Chester and Liberty Townships from people right here in our community,” says Erin Clemons, Community Foundation president & CEO. “The needs assessment will enable us to identify how to make the greatest impact.”

Since becoming President and CEO two years ago, Clemons and her team, along with the Foundation board, have embarked upon an extensive strategic planning process to better define organizational goals and create actionable strategies to achieve those goals. One key finding of the process was the need to increase awareness of the Foundation as a leader and resource in the region.

“As a community foundation we fund everything from economic development to children’s development to the arts. We’re here to take care of all the community’s needs,” Clemons says.

Indeed, the Foundation’s mission is to encourage, support and facilitate philanthropy and improve the quality of life in the West Chester/Liberty area. The Foundation takes care of the long-term needs of the community through community grants, funding non-profits and serving as a philanthropic resource for the region. Clemons describes the Foundation as the savings account for the community.

“Our purpose is to be the long-term savings account so that 100 years from now we are still here and still taking care of the community,” Clemons explains. “[Our founder] Patti Alderson did an amazing job getting us to $13M in assets. It was not easy and she’s been a tremendous leader in our community. I hope to grow our assets so we can keep up with the growing pace of our community.”

A major way in which the Foundation will keep up with the community’s steady growth is by studying the needs assessment, which will enable the Foundation to focus its efforts on areas of greatest need, while also being able to assist donors in making the biggest impact locally with their charitable dollars.

Findings from the needs assessment will be shared with local government, nonprofit agencies, and other local organizations, along with the public, in the hopes of identifying areas of potential collaboration.

Share Your Voice

A significant portion of the needs assessment focuses on understanding what community members see as the greatest needs in our community. The Foundation is asking community members to attend a summit in early December. Additional information, including the exact date and location of the summit, is available on the Foundation’s website.