Black Belt Community Foundation and Trust for Civic Life logos

BBCF Receives $425,000 National Grant Boosting Community Outreach

A new philanthropic partnership called the Trust for Civic Life announced this week that it awarded one of its first grants to the Black Belt Community Foundation (BBCF), as part of an $8 million investment into strengthening communities across rural America. BBCF will receive $425,000 for its work in expanding community outreach over three years. In turn, this will help BBCF in bolstering the Black Belt as a civic marketplace by supporting communities across the region through strong local relationships and programs that meet residents’ needs. In total, the Trust for Civic Life awarded 20 grants to innovative groups that are bringing people together with creative civic programs and helping residents solve important problems in their communities.

“The easiest thing to do is to follow the status quo. The most difficult work comes from making sure that all voices are heard, and the needs of our communities are addressed with innovation. BBCF is deeply grateful for the opportunity to expand its community outreach work through the support of the Trust for Civic Life. We appreciate the faith that the Trust is putting into rural communities, and we are honored with the task of ensuring this investment brings about impactful change.” said, BBCF President Felecia Lucky.

“Our new grantees are critical connectors and problem solvers in their communities. They are helping neighbors find common ground, solve local problems and improve the community for everyone in it,” said Charlie Brown, the Executive Director of Trust for Civic Life. “Community-led work is transforming American life for the better, and the Trust for Civic Life is proud to support its momentum with these new grants.”

The Trust for Civic Life’s first grants support “civic hubs,” groups like BBCF that are reinventing local civic programs and initiatives to meet the changing needs of their communities, at a time when Americans are pulling away from traditional civic life. The Trust’s new grantees are responding with an entrepreneurial spirit: many are using the arts, hobbies, economic issues, and digital tools to encourage civic participation and help people with different viewpoints and backgrounds work together. The Trust for Civic Life’s funding will help the new grantees expand current programs and introduce new civic opportunities and projects.

BBCF will use the new grant to expand its community outreach over the next three years.

The Trust for Civic Life was initiated by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Stand Together, and Omidyar Network, and has grown to include over a dozen philanthropists and foundations. The Trust for Civic Life’s first round of grants will support groups in rural areas, which are traditionally overlooked by national philanthropy. Despite accounting for 20% of U.S. residents and the vast majority of the nation’s land, rural regions receive only 7% of U.S. philanthropic dollars every year.

The Trust for Civic Life will award its next set of grants later this year. These grants will support “civic entrepreneurs” – individuals or smaller groups leading experimental programs or introducing innovative projects in rural regions.

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