St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands – St. Croix Foundation for Community Development will be hosting its 5th Annual Philanthropy Retreat February 16th through February 18th, 2023, on the island of St. Croix. Entitled THE POWER OF PLACE: Reframing Old Paradigms in Philanthropy to Build Radical New Systems of Equity Rooted in Place, the invitation-only convening will connect National and Regional Senior Philanthropy Executives with Board and Staff of the Foundation’s Nonprofit Consortium, a coalition of approximately 30 St. Croix Nonprofits.
This year’s convening will feature guests and speakers from across a diverse philanthropic landscape, including Association of Black Foundation Executives, Black Belt Community Foundation, The Bridgespan Group, Foundation for Appalachia Kentucky, Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust, Global Giving, The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and more. Members of St. Croix Foundation’s Nonprofit Consortium, Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism, St. Croix Environmental Association, and the Virgin Islands Good Food Coalition will lead a panel focused on collective impact and environmental justice, with other local nonprofit partners hosting island tours, site visits, and an opening reception dinner.
As a vehicle for engaging national funders and exposing them to the unique realities of the U.S. Caribbean, the 3-day retreat will offer national and international funders the opportunity to learn about the inherent challenges and assets of the territory’s social and economic landscape. The theme for this year’s convening is centered on the power of place-based philanthropies to achieve deeper and more systemic social impact and equitable outcomes for marginalized communities. The retreat will also explore and challenge philanthropy’s current paradigm, which often serves as a ‘funding-gatekeeper’ that prevents the (equitable) flow of resources to those closest to the ground.
Over the course of several days, St. Croix Foundation will lead its local nonprofit partners and foundation guests in a focused conversation around the impact of community-rooted collaboration to leverage scarce resources before, during and after a crisis for the most vulnerable among us; the vital role of place-based philanthropies to support (and drive) sustained social change; and the need for the field of philanthropy itself to evolve in order to effectively meet today’s needs.
According to St. Croix Foundation President, Deanna James, “From our inception, St. Croix Foundation has been committed to honing competency around deep civic discourse and the disruption of old outdated paradigms that no longer serve the People and the Places in which we invest. Over the course of our upcoming 3-day convening, we are excited to unveil our new Theory of Change for the field of Philanthropy that we believe could have far-reaching impact.” James continued.
St. Croix Foundation first launched its Philanthropy Retreat in 2017, one year after conducting a donor study that revealed some striking data points about St. Croix’s philanthropic landscape. One finding was that the majority of the donors interviewed were more inclined to provide “charitable” gifts to nonprofits (often below $10,000) as opposed to transformational philanthropic giving that could stabilize and advance organizations’ missions and programmatic agendas. The Foundation’s study uncovered yet another trend, namely that a number of corporate and EDC donors, while making transformational gifts (i.e., 6 and 7 figures) to stateside nonprofits, were not engaged in that level of giving locally. Compounding local donor trends is the fact that most national funders have historically not recognized the U.S. Caribbean as a philanthropic priority, deeming this territory, in particular, to be either international or irrelevant because of our small population and political status.
All of these patterns have ultimately had a significant impact on the operational stability of nonprofits, many of which are serving a community with expanding needs and fewer philanthropic resources, forcing many to be overly dependent on government funding to survive. In response to this data, the Foundation launched their Nonprofit Consortium shortly after the study in 2016, to convene local nonprofits around a collective agenda of building organizational capacity and collaborating around shared missions and programming for exponential impact. St. Croix Foundation’s Philanthropic Retreat consequently serves as an opportunity for the Foundation to advocate for greater equity and inclusion for St. Croix.
To date, the national partnerships being nurtured have generated over $3,000,000 in funding for St. Croix nonprofits, and the Foundation has also connected local nonprofits to relevant intellectual brain-trusts and funding networks in targeted ‘sectors’ including arts & culture; the environs; health & human services; and youth & education. Two noteworthy partnerships include the HIVE Fund and Global Giving, both of which represent some of the nation’s most prominent funders in their respective fields.
St. Croix Foundation extends its sincere gratitude to its local, national, regional, and international partners (new and veteran) who have made this convening possible, as well as lead sponsor, the Virgin Islands Department of Tourism. For more information on the 5th Annual Philanthropy Retreat or how to support the Foundation’s efforts, please call the Foundation’s office at 340.773.9898 or visit their website at www.stxfoundation.org.
About St. Croix Foundation
Established in 1990, the Foundation has served as a conduit of over 42 million dollars in funding for community-based projects throughout the Virgin Islands. With an incomparable track record of successful community development initiatives and national recognition for its work in education reform and small business development, the Foundation has also received international acknowledgment for its community revitalization initiatives and, today, continues directing its focus on holistic community building and development, policy research and data collection, and the broad-based support of nonprofits, including fiscal sponsorship, grantmaking, and the Nonprofit Consortium.