How do you get local and national funders and city sustainability officials to collaborate on community-based sustainability initiatives? One promising answer is the "Local Sustainability Matching Fund" (LSMF), which is a collaborative effort of the Funders’ Network and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN). LSMF is designed to catalyze partnerships between local governments and local, place-based foundations that advance on-the-ground sustainability projects, processes, and programs. Surdna is part of the philanthropic cohort supplying the national “matching pool” of funding from which communities can apply when they bring a local funder to the table with them. In addition to Surdna, the Kendeda Fund, New York Community Trust, Summit Foundation, and JPB Foundation contribute to the national pool.
LSMF projects are inspiring new relationships and they are driven by passionate and dedicated leaders willing to reach across different sectors and break out of old "in the box" thinking. Success stories are popping up on such diverse topics as urban agriculture, bike sharing, and efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but the big take-away is that LSMF grantees are harnessing the power of their cities and towns to build sustainable, equitable, and prosperous communities for all residents.
Two rounds of LSMF funding are complete, and a third is underway. Round 1 grantees are starting to provide reflections on how their work is unfolding. Here are a few examples:
In addition, one Round 2 recipient is already off the the races (so to speak):
To see how these and other LSMF projects are progressing, you can link to TFN's website. There is also a great video story of the Chattanooga Mobile Market, plus a personal story about the impact of . In addition, because the number of highly rated projects exceeds the funding level in every grantmaking cycle, there is an "idea bank" of projects on the TFN website. Local funders and community members alike are encouraged to look here to see what is happening in communities across the country. TFN and USDN are also accepting new contributions to the national pool of funding. This is a story of philanthropic collaboration that has the sky as its limit.
Fostering sustainable communities in the United States — communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures.