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This morning we went to a panel discussion organised by Alliance magazine and the Big Lottery Fund. Discussion centred around the role of philanthropy in creating sustainable cities, in light of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We took away two important messages.
First, working at a local level, supporting bottom-up change through engagement, networks and relationships is becoming increasingly important for funders. Here it will be more effective for funders to see grantees not as a problem to fix, but rather bringing something to the table that can be built upon. Funders can then provide the support for local actors to enable change, keeping their own interventions at arms-length. This approach has some resonance with the work of the JP Morgan Chase Foundation and the London Community Foundation in Lambeth borough, which BOP is currently evaluating.
Second, supporting the creation of digital infrastructure was highlighted as a good way for funders to both enable action at a local level and achieve maximum impact with limited resources. This will improve data sharing more generally, as well as community data gathering specifically, in order to enable local influence on policy and service provision. Examples include Understanding Scottish Places and the National Neighbourhood Indicators Partnership.
Similar phenomena linking cities and culture more specifically include the Arts Council’s collaboration with Bristol City Council, as well as cities worldwide sharing data on common indicators through our World Cities Culture Forum network.
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By BOP Consulting
Co-Founder and Director
Paul is a leading international advisor and practitioner in cultural policy and creative economy. He is Co-Founder of BOP, and alongside his fellow directors he has pioneered now well-established methods to measure the impact of cultural policy.
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