After an initial information gathering project in 2017 with 36 community ambassadors, CICF now partners with six community ambassadors in specific underappreciated neighborhoods with the opportunity to grow over time. Ambassadors are highly valued and significantly influence the grantmaking process and leadership decisions at the foundation. As a result, CICF is building deep relationships with residents, supporting community-based assets and providing resources to neighborhoods for community-driven projects.
Community ambassadors created their own guiding principles and vision earlier this year:
- maintain integrity while connecting human relationships above all else
- actively listen to discover human assets
- seek invention, thinking beyond the norms while taking risks
- equity— advocate for equitable access and distribution of resources, for money that will flow to the people who need it, and for sharing social capital
- all action should be done alongside the community—with the community, not to the community.
These principles are in service of a vision to connect under-appreciated communities with needed resources and social capital through advocacy, urgency and equity.
Ambassadors partner with staff and provide valuable perspective on a variety of projects, including
- the incubation and launch of a community art ambassador program
- transportation accessibility
- equitable development
- most importantly—relationship building
Ambassador relationships continue to advance the foundation’s engagement with residents and stimulate creative solutions to support neighborhoods outside of traditional grantmaking. Ambassadors have access to CICF offices and staff for their work, which drives further influence within the foundation.