The Strategic Network for Community Philanthropy was a Ford Foundation initiative managed by MDC to develop resources and community capacity, particularly in the American South, to promote social and racial equality. The initiative aimed to develop a healthy civic culture in the region's communities through a dual approach: by increasing the pool of philanthropic assets in the American South to build equitable communities and to address the racial divide; and by equipping Southern philanthropies to work with business, government, and nonprofits to promote racial and social equality in the region. MDC supported local, regional, and national nonprofit organizations engaged in this initiative through a peer learning network, resource development, and technical assistance.
As part of the initiative, MDC and the Aspen Institute's Roundtable for Community Change co-hosted a convening in October 2009 that explored the ways that place-based philanthropies in the South can advance civic equity. Conference participants examined two case studies of foundations that were already working in their communities to reframe the civic agenda and assessed options for moving attention to equity from the margins of community philanthropy to the mainstream.