Research Roundup: Mapping Community Foundation Leadership

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Research Roundup is a regular ACP feature created to give you an insight into the work academics are undertaking around community philanthropy. Dr. Alexandra Williamson, ACP individual member and academic at the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) at Queensland University of Technology, takes a look at a research paper or study addressing the issues Australia’s network of Community Foundations care about.




What are we reading this month?

‘Community leadership as multi-dimensional capacities: A conceptual framework and preliminary findings for community foundations”

Who wrote it?

Viviana Chiu Sik Wu

What’s their day job?

Viviana is an Assistant Professor (in Australia, we would call this role a Lecturer) in the School of Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA. Find out more about her.

Who published it?

Nonprofit Management & Leadership, a leading nonprofit academic journal.

Where’s the research based?

Data comes from an analysis of the annual reports of 539 U.S. community foundations, mostly between 2016 and 2018.

What’s it about?

The paper maps leadership of community foundation in terms of six capacities: (a) strategizing, (b) convening, (c) knowledge building, (d) capacity building, (e) partnering, (f) policy engagement.

Why should I read it?

Viviana finds that community foundation leaders tend to specialize in one or a few leadership capacities, but rarely all six components. Leadership through capacity building, partnering, and policy engagement is favoured more than a participatory approach through convening and knowledge building.

Sounds interesting. Is there a key quote?

“It is plausible that foundations develop unique recipes, picking and choosing the aspects of community leadership that capitalize on the use of resources and expertise to meet their missions” (p.19).

Okay, so where’s the link?

You can read the abstract, and request a copy of the full paper here.

Or simply email Viviana directly and ask for a copy. She’s very friendly!

Full citation:

Wu, V. C. S. (2021). Community leadership as multi-dimensional capacities: A conceptual framework and preliminary findings for community foundations. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 32(1), 29-53. doi: 10.1002/nml.21467

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