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How Philanthropy Can Help Community Development Survive Trump

Gar Alperovitz and Ted Howard

Donald Trump will not be president forever, but in his time in office he can do substantial damage in many areas of American life. As one donor told us, "We risk having 40 years of progress in community development unraveled in the next 18 months."

Principally, that’s because the new administration, along with Republican congressional leaders, is targeting federal spending on social programs and community development — a major bulwark against the consequences of generational poverty and ever-growing wealth inequality. Hundreds of billions of dollars are at risk.

Philanthropy, which awards about $60 billion in grants annually, cannot possibly meet this shortfall. But it can help ensure that when the political winds change, as they inevitably will, the pieces are in place for a progressive agenda. One key way to do this is to support innovative local and regional programs that can be expanded nationally when the opening occurs.