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Community in Practice: What We Are Learning from Our Grantees

St. David's Foundation partnered with Bavu Blakes to emcee its Grantee Convening Series. Blakes’ style and approach to cultivating community spaces amplified grantee voices to share in discussion and feedback with our staff on community and the roles we could plan to meet community needs.

As a place-based, community-focused, equity-driven organization, we believe in the power of partnering with our community to improve the health and well-being of our most underserved Central Texas neighbors. Earlier this year, we hosted three grantee convenings in which we sought to gather input related to the Foundation’s mission of advancing health equity through investment and action in Central Texas.

With a newly adopted strategic vision and direction, we know that bringing this vision to life will rely on the vital work of our grantees, collaborators, and community. In that spirit, the Foundation invited grantees to join in conversation and connect them to us, each other, and offer intentional spaces on how together we could explore ways in which the Foundation’s resources could most effectively advance health equity in our region. Featuring representation from more than 125 nonprofits, the conversations centered on questions related to the vision of a vibrant and inclusive community, learning in community, and the role of philanthropy in accelerating systems work.

It's been a long time since we have been in a room with other leaders, and it really helped me step out of the daily rush and think bigger picture. It is great that St. David's Foundation is reaching out and listening to the grantees so we can work together to address and achieve health equity within our community.

Grantee Convening Participant

Our intent with these gatherings was to listen deeply, recognizing the power of lived experience, and the unique stories each community and organization holds. We committed to listening more than speaking, and we asked trusted friends to lead and co-create these spaces and experiences to support our role as listener and learner.

This communal practice and its lessons learned will help inform our strategic planning efforts throughout the remainder of the year. Building on what we have learned as we move forward, you will see us test new ways of engaging community to create a shared understanding of needs and opportunities. Grounded in the belief that those most impacted by health inequities are best positioned to help design solutions, our hope is that by serving as a connector and convener across the sector, we can support communities in leading their own change.

We welcome feedback and questions related to how these convenings and conversations are informing our work as we move forward. Join the conversation by emailing [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you.

To learn more about key insights and themes from these convenings, please read Engaging our Central Texas Community to Create a Shared Vision for the Future on our Research and Insights page, authored by our President and CEO, Edward Burger.