St. Croix Foundation Hosting 4th Annual Forum for National Foundations

February 7, 2020

St. Croix, USVI- St. Croix Foundation for Community Development will be hosting its 4th Annual Philanthropy Retreat February 11th through February 15th on the island of St. Croix. The invitation-only convening will connect National and International Senior Philanthropy Executives with Board and Staff of the Foundation’s Nonprofit Consortium.  This year’s convening will feature Executives from Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Council on Foundations, the Southeastern Council of Foundations, the Association of Black Foundation Executives, LASCO Chin Foundation (Jamaica), Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina Grantmakers for Southern Progress, Global Giving, and The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.

As a vehicle for engaging national funders and exposing them to the unique realities of the U.S. Caribbean, the 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 of this year’s convening is The Power of People and Place: Status Matters and, over the course of several days, St. Croix Foundation will lead its local nonprofit partners and foundation guests in a focused conversation around political status, social equity and nonprofit capacity building.

The event will also include an island tour and a visit to the Agricultural Fair.

According to St. Croix Foundation President, Deanna James, “This convening has become an unprecedented opportunity for the Territory to make a coherent and compelling case for deeper national philanthropic engagement and investment in U.S. Virgin Islands. Through the event, the Foundation also seeks to highlight our Consortium of Nonprofits. Having launched our Nonprofit Consortium (a collective of over 30 local nonprofits) in September 2016, exactly one year prior to the 2017 hurricanes, the Foundation has sustained its founders’ pledge to support the Territory’s civic sector as an inextricable component of our core organizational programming. Over the past 3 years, all of us at the Foundation have been so inspired to witness the Consortium grow into a powerful coalition of Civic Organizations that is building dynamic collaborations and birthing a beautiful Vision for the future of our Islands,” James continued.

One of the shared goals identified by Consortium members was to build a deep and wide network of philanthropic partnerships to support their work, help build capacity for their sector and minimize their dependence on local government funding and EDC donations.

Seeking to gain a clearer understanding of the Territory’s philanthropy capacity, St. Croix Foundation conducted a Donor Study back in 2016 when launching the Consortium. That study 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 national nonprofits, were not engaged in that level of giving locally.

Compounding the situation 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.

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.

St. Croix Foundation’s Philanthropic Retreat consequently serves as an opportunity for nonprofits to collectively advocate that national funders demonstrate greater equity and inclusion.

Based on the outcome of St. Croix Foundation’s first forum in early 2017, they are optimistic about the new partnerships that will be spawned from this year’s forum. According to Foundation President, James, “Despite the lack of national media attention on the island of St. Croix after the 2017 storms, St. Croix Foundation had several fierce national foundation champions advocating on our behalf. Not only did they work tirelessly to support St. Croix’s nonprofits, but their advocacy translated into critically important recovery funding.”

St. Croix Foundation was awarded the first major grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation to the Territory in the amount of $500,000, which coupled with other national foundation grants, enabled the Foundation to raise over 1.8 million dollars in recovery funding for nonprofit organizations on St Croix.

Through the national partnerships being nurtured, the Foundation has also been able to connect 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 Environmental Grantmakers Association, and GlobalGiving, both of which represent the nation’s largest association of funders in their respective fields.

St. Croix Foundation extends its sincere gratitude to its local, national, and international partners who have made this convening possible. For more information on the Retreat or on how to support the Foundation’s community rebuilding and Nonprofit Development efforts, please call the Foundation’s office at 340.773.9898 or visit their website at

About St. Croix Foundation

St. Croix Foundation for Community Development (SCF) is a place-based operating foundation in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Founded 30 years ago in the wake of Hurricane Hugo, SCF has been dedicated to the issue of equity and holistic, community-rooted development, and has directed laser focus and resources on highly strategic grant-making, direct services, and community building.  In the summer of 2016, in demonstration of the Foundation’s commitment to a more holistic approach to community development, SCF launched its Nonprofit Consortium. A dynamic collaboration comprising staff and board members of over 40 local nonprofits, the Consortium of civic partners is committed to working together to strengthen operations, build its collective capacity and amass people-power and advocacy around four distinct sectors:  Arts & Culture, Health & Human Services, Youth &Education, and Built a& Natural Environs.