Capacity Building means different things to different people. Some see capacity building as a synonym for learning, others see it as developing infrastructure, or partnering with foundations for non-monetary assistance.
Our family sees capacity building as work that improves the effectiveness and faithfulness of the organization in achieving its mission. This might include capital gifts, such as the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, where the space is designed to facilitate collaboration among non-profit organizations, the University community, and the wider public. We also funded the Weitz Center for Creativity at Carleton College to be a working laboratory for cross curriculum creative partnerships.
Capacity building to us has at times meant adding staff for a specific goal, like hiring field workers to do deep canvassing with Heartland Workers Center, or an instructor for a citizenship course at the Intercultural Senior Center. Sometimes shoring up operating support allows for organizations to focus on their mission and fundraise for projects or programs. Capacity building might also mean bringing in consultants or evaluators–allowing for greater or new perspective on the organization’s work. While many projects may fit within capacity building, it is our intention to fund agency capacity building in ways that will support agency’s ability to be faithful to their mission, increase racial equity, and lead to greater organizational effectiveness for years to come.