Community-Led Transformation

An update on our community engagement activities 

Updated November 20, 2023 

By Kerry Wood, Chief Executive Officer 

To advance our mission to “lead, serve, and inspire enduring philanthropy for a just and vibrant Sacramento region,” the Sacramento Region Community Foundation’s work must be guided by the people closest to the complex challenges that face the capital region.  

In fulfilling the charge of our Strategic Roadmap to refine our leadership activities and reshape our grantmaking to be a bolder advocate for community needs in the future, we know our actions will only achieve meaningful and lasting results when they are shaped by the people we serve. In many ways, this approach is at the heart of our ongoing work — from Big Day of Giving to Cultivate to the Culture Is Mental Health Project — and it will guide our activities moving forward. 

Over the course of the past year, we have engaged with hundreds of local people to gain a deeper understanding of the evolving needs of our region.  

We’ve completed over 30 one-on-one interviews with community leaders throughout El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, and Yolo counties; held multiple community gatherings each benefiting from the wisdom of dozens of trusted area changemakers and community based organizations; and received more than 200 responses from a regionwide survey, plus an in-depth landscape analysis of the region. We’ve asked participants to share their insights, concerns, and dreams for the community.  

Across these community engagement activities, we’ve heard common themes: 

  • Our region boasts significant assets, including a collaborative spirit, rich diversity, and a vibrant culture. These are the building blocks of a resilient and thriving community. 

  • Despite these strengths, we face substantial challenges, such as barriers to accessing basic resources and the need for sustained funding to maintain essential services. Importantly, neighbors in some communities in the Sacramento region have been excluded from opportunities to flourish to a greater degree than our neighbors in others. Recognizing these obstacles is the first step toward overcoming them. 

    Key areas of focus are rising to the surface for consideration: Among the many areas of need that are being elevated as top priorities are workforce and economic development, education, health access and equity, and youth development. These are broad topics, clearly, and will be refined in the coming weeks.

  • Opportunities abound in local communities, including the potential to build cross-cultural and multi-sector networks, foster collective action, and promote trust-based philanthropy. These opportunities will guide us as we continue our journey toward a just and vibrant Sacramento. 

We also asked for feedback about the role of a community foundation like ours in contributing to change — and we’ve heard it. We’ve heard what we’re doing well, and what we can be doing more. Among the items shared: 

  • Act as a convener, networker, and a resource hub for those who need it. 

  • Remove barriers to grantmaking and reporting processes to level funding playing fields. 

  • Invest in initiatives that move the needle on issues that impact the community. 

  • Strengthen the capacity of the nonprofits that provide critical services, making resources in our community more accessible and more accessed. 

From now until February 2024, we will cultivate additional feedback, and our Board and staff will identify other efforts currently underway in our region where we can strengthen partnerships, and where gaps exist that the Foundation can fill.

To enhance our collective impact, our work must be bold. In fact, it must be bolder than ever. Achieving a more just and vibrant Sacramento region will take cooperation and collaboration. It will take continued listening, continued trust-building. We’re in. 

As we continue to pore through the quantitative and qualitative data, I’ll update this space to keep you abreast of progress and outcomes. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at  

Once again, thank you for your invaluable contribution to this effort. 


A Foundation for the Future

We are excited to work alongside you — our partners in the community — to inspire bold philanthropy in the Sacramento region for years to come.

Learn about our Strategic Roadmap