How ACS Helped One Foundation Find Its Vision and Voice

Place-based foundations have a unique capacity to bring people together, address systemic inequities, and improve quality of life for residents. But to continue building that capacity in response to evolving community needs, foundations must be truly and deeply of and for the communities they serve.

When The Arras Foundation in Lancaster, South Carolina, (formally J. Marion Sims Foundation) wanted to transform its grantmaking based on community input and engagement, it partnered with ACS to hone its vision and identity. Today, Arras is a recognized force in the community and the eighth-largest philanthropic funder in the state.

ACS knew from long experience in advocacy, communication, strategy development, and capacity-building that establishing and developing a community-based vision on a solid footing of trust would be paramount for taking the Arras Foundation in the direction it wanted to go.

Over time, this deep, close work resulted in changes to the way the foundation does business externally and internally — touching everything from how Arras is staffed to the process for evaluating grant requests to how it collaborates with other organizations in the community.

Learn how Arras has redefined its place-based philanthropy in our latest case study.

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