Community Development

Taking collective action

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An art gallery in Joseph, Oregon, an area served by The Ford Family Foundation


In 2015, The Ford Family Foundation embarked on a new program of work that focuses on supporting rural communities as they take action to improve local conditions. The Foundation is open to providing grants and other supports to communities that define a plan of action for community betterment, with a priority on increasing employment and economic vitality. This work is meant to complement the work of the Ford Institute for Community Building, which helps to build the capacity of rural communities and their residents. This program intends to support the action steps that follow once communities have built their own capacity and made a commitment to take on a community improvement agenda. 

Focus Areas

This is a new and emerging area for the Foundation, and applicants are encouraged to check back here as we define this work more specifically. 

We seek to encourage civic participation, community collaboration and other ways of bringing residents together for the well-being of the community. Grants support the development of physical places that are open to the public and have multiple uses.

  • A representative cross-section of the community has come together to identify and work on a problem, and has identified the assets that the community can be built upon.
  • There is strong evidence of community engagement and commitment to the work .
  • The plan and anticipated work is cross-sectoral and brings together public, private, nonprofit and civic actors.
  • The outcomes that are sought are clear and are linked to vision of long-term community wellbeing.
  • The community is committed to sustaining the work over time.

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