Youth generally lack the skills and desire to take positive social action in their communities. The Making Changemakers program of Pravah, an Indian nonprofit, designed and implemented a school-based curriculum enabling Indian youth (ages 12-16) to become informed and proactive citizens. Over the course of four years of Lodestar funding, the program evolved from working directly with students to preparing teachers to administer the program, thereby broadening the reach of the program and creating an opportunity for sustainability. An additional technical support grant from Lodestar enabled Pravah to engage a professional fundraiser to support sustainability efforts. Lodestar partnered with the Tata Foundation of India in funding all of Pravah's activities.
Because many donors are not aware of the nonprofits operating in their community and nonprofits do not have adequate resources to promote their activities to the public, the Arizona Community Foundation (ACF) created a virtual online marketplace for grantors and grantees, accompanied by a generic online grant application, to facilitate grantmaking. Lodestar provided one of the lead grants to develop the system software, which enabled nonprofits to: 1) post organizational information on a website for viewing by funders; and 2) apply for grants using the common grant application. ACF subsequently sold the system to a for-profit entity that is marketing the product nationally.
Foundation professionals have relatively few opportunities to discuss with each other their accumulated experience and expertise. The Senior Fellows Network program of The Synergos Institute identifies talented foundation leaders from vanguard philanthropic institutions worldwide and links them to a global learning and service network, with the goal of strengthening foundations in the developing world. Fellows serve as peer consultants to other foundations around the world; their work produces knowledge on trends and innovative models, which Synergos distributes to a wide audience. A Lodestar grant, which helped underwrite an annual meeting of the Senior Fellows, also supported the development of a marketing plan to promote the Senior Fellows Network program to the foundation community.
The Synergos Institute, with its expertise in expanding philanthropy around the world, wanted to create a culture of philanthropy in the former Soviet Union; the Eurasia Foundation has done extensive civic and economic development community work in the region. Pursuant to an invitation from Lodestar, Synergos and the Eurasia Foundation secured a planning grant that enabled both organizations to jointly assess the readiness of this region for philanthropic development. The grant led to a work plan, which can serve as the basis for an initial pilot project in the selected countries.