Jessie Ball duPont was one of the original place-based philanthropists. She had a keen understanding of the importance of place in creating community, and of community in creating a sense of belonging. As a Virginian (and later a Floridian), as a professional, as a philanthropist, and as a businesswoman–she understood the importance of belonging, stemming from her own strong identity born of growing up in the close-knit Northern Neck of Virginia as a member of the well-known and historic Ball family.
We believe—as Jessie did—that where people live, work, learn and play is critical to how they grow, develop and contribute. People who feel a sense of belonging have the confidence to find creative solutions to society’s greatest challenges. And communities are stronger when everyone is part of building the vision for the future. Everyone has the right to live in a great place, and most importantly, the right to contribute to making the place where they already live great.
Our investments in placemaking are driven by four underlying convictions:
- Belonging: People’s connections to each other and the places they care about matter a lot, and when successfully nurtured, result in a cohesive community spirit and a sense of belonging.
- Strengthening: Strengthening low-income neighborhoods while building social capital is critical to belonging. People of color and members of other historically marginalized communities have unique knowledge, power and resources to influence their neighborhoods and communities.
- Partnering: People’s efforts are maximized when they work in partnership with each other.
- Leading: People participate in projects and decisions that affect them, and creating opportunities for emerging leaders helps to build individual and organizational capacity for civic engagement.