LIN Center for Community Development

LIN's mission is to provide support services to local NPOs, skilled volunteers and donors who are committed to building strong communities. The LIN Center for Community Development serves grassroots not-for-profit organizations (NPOs) and individual and corporate philanthropists located in and around Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. By helping local people to meet local needs, LIN aims to promote a healthy environment for philanthropy in Vietnam and strengthen the communities in which we live and work.
Jul 30, 2015

June Retreat for Young Nonprofit Leaders

YNLC June Retreat
YNLC June Retreat

On June 27th and 28th, just 45 minutes outside of Ho Chi Minh City, 15 young leaders of nonprofit organizations joined a two-day retreat focusing on "The role of leadership and how leaders can take care of themselves".

The objective of the retreat was to support young leaders that are focused on making a difference in our communities by enhancing their ability to stimulate community engagement and by facilitating peer sharing among organizational leaders and . A special guest speaker was Mr. Yoshitaka Ohara, Founder of Habataku who, in collaboration with Mr. Pham Truong Son, Director of NPO Services at LIN, shared their career paths, the reasons behind choices to work with nonprofit organizations as well as the challenges occuring in their work and and lessons they learned when they were young leaders.

Mr. Pham Thanh Nhon, Founder and Director of 5giosang (a nonprofit partner of LIN since 2009) designed and facilitated the retreat. Through the event, he helped members of LIN's NPO Young Leaders Circle to look at themselves as individuals, explore their strengths and weaknesses and learn how to take care of themsevles as they work to build a stronger community. He also shared with them how to connect and work well as a group.

According to Mr. Son (LIN), "The retreat was an experiment in leadership. Members of the NPO Young Leaders Circle were asked to organize the logistics, find a location for the event, communicate the plan, organize an activity for the whole group, prepare dinner and listen and learn from one another in order to create a harmonious atmosphere."

At the end of the training, the 15 members joined a networking event organized by LIN's Board of Advisors, who invited skilled volunteers and donors from the LIN Community. The event gave the Young Leaders an opportunity to approach and connect with potential supporters. Learning how to build networks is a key objective for the NPO Young Leaders Circle 2015, as the ability to enhance and grow one's network of support is essential to the sustainability of a non-profit organization.

***

Impressions of one member of the NPO Young Leaders Circle 2015:

Ms. Pham Thi Thuy Tien, the youngest member of the group, lives in Ben Tre provice, which is 150 km from Ho Chi Minh City.  It took Ms. Thuy Tien 3 hours to travel to the training, by bus. As it was her 1st time to the training location, she faced some difficulties.  Fortunately, Ms. Thuy Tien received a lot of help from the members of her team (Note: The Young Nonprofit Leaders Circle 2015 was divided into four teams, each electing to be responsible for one key component of the program).

As Ms. Thuy Tien shared afterwards, “This training model is so inspiring and engaging.  Other members in my team helped me so much, they instructed me on how to get there, they shared their ideas and experiences with me. We exchanged so many things over the course of two days...Actually, I learned most about listening skills, how to think twice in real life, especially in realizing, boosting my strength in study, work and life. To live and shared experiences with people who work in the same field is really useful for young people like me.  I have learned how to talk with and better understand different people."

When asked about the networking event, Ms. Thuy Tien added, "This was my first experience to network with potential donors, so I was a bit confused at first about what I should do. But, by observing those around me, I was able to calm myself down. I greeted and talked to people that I never met before. I feel like a stronger person."

"Overall, I really liked this two-day training because it was a unique and special first-time experience for me. I learned so much from my peers and even from people working in fields so different from my own.  It was great to learn from their hands-on experiences. It made me feel more confident, reflecting on myself and assuring me of the career path I have chosen. I am so looking forward to the next event!”

***

The NPO Young Leaders Circle 2015 includes 15 members from 15 of LIN's Nonprofit Partner Organizations.  Among the 15, there are 9 female and 6 male participants ranging in age from 21 to 35 years of age (26 is the average age). The first meeting took place in May, when each member was asked to join one of four small teams responsible for a key component of the program: Communications, Networking, Peer Sharing and Trainings. One LIN staff member is paticipating and one is coordinating the Circle, which will meet at least one time each month from May 2015 until April 2014.

YNLC June Retreat_Group Photo
YNLC June Retreat_Group Photo
YNLC Networking with Philanthropists
YNLC Networking with Philanthropists

Links:

Jul 2, 2015

LIN Promotes Skills Based Volunteering at AmCham

Q&A Session
Q&A Session

On 30 June, LIN co-hosted an event with the HR Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam on the topic, "CSR as a Human Resource Management Strategy". The event was sold out and attended by over 80 professionals, including the business community, INGOs, local nonprofits and academia. 

LIN provided context by describing how different companies participate in skills-based volunteer programs not only to support the community but also as a strategy to improve business outcomes. Ms. Uyen Ho, Intel Vietnam's Corporate Affairs Manager shared a video describing Intel's community and employee initiatives, which are focused on education and environment. She also talked about the deep commitment of Intel as a company and its staff to its CSR programs and the benefits the company and staff receive from those programs.  The third and final speaker was Ms. Hong Hoang, Founder and Director of CHANGE, a local nonprofit that works to raise awareness and promote actions to protect the environment and wildlife.

The event presented an opportunity to help companies to understand the benefits of skills-based volunteering while raising their awareness about LIN resources and program to help connect companies build more effective partnerships with local nonprofits.  We introduced the VietnamCauses website - the only online, searchable directory of local nonprofits in Vietnam. We introduced BlueBees website - matching skilled volunteers with bit-sized opportunities to support nonprofits in Vietnam. We also pitched the Community Partnership Initiative 2015, which teams of 10 companies with 10 nonprofits to help them address their HR challenges.

Below is a link to the event description, as well as the two presentations by LIN and by CHANGE:

Early feedback from AmCham was that the event inspired many companies represented in the room to think more deeply about how they could improve employee engagement in their own community programs.  AmCham is now exploring follow-up events and is looking for more case studies from companies in particular. 
Below is the feedback LIN received from Ms. Nguyen Thi Mai Huong, Program Manager at AmCham Vietnam:
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank you very much for your very Informative presentation, experience sharing, great support, sponsorship and, more importantly,  your precious time... I would [also] like to share with you some feedback from the event participants -
The most beneficial aspect of the event: 'Everything', 'Got more Ideas on HR Contribution opportunities now'; 'Leaning more about how other corporation Integrate CSR Into the staff curriculum'; 'Learning from Intel and LIN’s sharings'; 'Quality of the speakers'; 'Understand NGOs organization In Vietnam and how corporate conduct CSR activities'; 'Networking'.  

Participants suggested related topics for future AmCham events:
  • Corporate engagement to development;
  • More on CSR/CSV;
  • More on employee volunteering; and
  • How to develop a learning culture In a company."
Again, thank you and I look forward to working again with you all In the future."
LIN, CHANGE and Intel at AmCham
LIN, CHANGE and Intel at AmCham

Links:

Apr 1, 2015

Roundtable on Community Philanthropy

LIN Presentation at Roundtable
LIN Presentation at Roundtable

Community Philanthropy – The Missing Link in Development

On 20 March 2015, on the occasion of a visit by Ms. Jenny Hodgson, Director of the Global Fund for Community Foundations (GFCF) and an exchange with two representatives from the Learning for Development Association (Laos), the LIN Center for Community Development was pleased to co-organize a roundtable discussion on “Community Philanthropy – The Missing Link in Development: Global Trends and The Vietnam Experience”.

Based on a quick survey of roundtable guests, which included 20 members of the donor community, academia and peer organizations from Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Vientiane, few felt that they understood what was meant by “community philanthropy”. Ms. Hodgson, a globally recognized expert in the field of community philanthropy, reassured our guests by explaining that while community philanthropy is not new, the field is not well understood throughout the world. Ms. Hodgson then went on to describe six distinguishing features of a community foundation:

  • Bridging institution
  • Multi-stakeholder governance (not “owned” by anyone person or entity)
  • “Grantmakers Plus” (i.e., doing more than just giving out grants)
  • Locally owned, locally led
  • Building (on) local assets
  • Flexibility to adjust to the changing needs of a community

“Many [community philanthropy organizations] feel under pressure to give out money that is too big,“ observed Ms. Hodgson. “But grassroots groups do not need a lot of money. They need other kinds of capacity building support such as networking and mentoring… and other, non-financial, assets that exist within a community.” Sharing examples of the Haiti Community Foundation Initiative, the Kenya Community Development Foundation and TEWA - in Nepal, Ms. Hodgson demonstrated how local community members are building local assets, capacities and trust to strengthen their own communities rather than rely on international development workers to do it for them.

The number of community foundations around the world has nearly doubled since 2000. As of 2010, there were over 1600 community foundations. According to Ms. Hodgson, such growth can be explained by a number of factors, including: dramatic changes in the political and economic landscapes of many low and middle income countries; a new wealthy class and growing middle class; reductions in international development assistance; and growing inequality. LIN shared its own rationale for supporting a community philanthropy approach, setting out to address real challenges faced by local nonprofits, which lack training and reliable sources of funds; by local donors, who are focused on short-term solutions; and local people, who do not know how best to engage in the development process.

During the discussion, participants asked about the development of community philanthropy organizations and whether the receipt of foreign funds for this purpose makes them less like community philanthropy organizations. To this, Ms. Hodgson addressed the advantages and disadvantages of using external funds. “The groups that have been most successful in raising local money are those that have no other choice because there is little to no foreign money available.” For communities that are able to attract external funds, those funds can be used to build local assets such as educating local donors, facilitating engagement in local projects (volunteerism), stimulating matching funds and in-kind donations (venues, food and beverages, supplies, etc.).

When asked whether community philanthropy organizations should focus on a single theme Ms. Hodgson clarified that community philanthropy needs to be as broad as the community it represents. “There is no blueprint,” she said, adding, “there needs to be a mechanism to listen to the community, an ability to play a facilitating role and [to] be open to different groups… The beauty of community philanthropy is that it can change as a community changes.”

The roundtable included representatives from organizations that are engaged or interested to engage in community philanthropy. The goal of the roundtable was to improve the quality of life in our community by making us more informed and effective contributors to local development.

Postscript:

LIN & Global Fund for Community Foundations

The Global Fund for Community Foundations (GFCF) gave LIN its first grant in 2009, which allowed us to conduct research on local philanthropic practices, develop materials for core programs and support the education of LIN staff in grantmaking and foundations. Since then, LIN has received two additional grants from GFCF, which also funded LIN staff and board members to participate in peer exchanges in Latvia, Slovakia, South Africa and, most recently, Thailand.

GFCF is a grassroots grantmaker working to promote and support institutions of community philanthropy around the world. Since 2006, GFCF has awarded $3.2 million in grants to 157 community foundations and other local philanthropic institutions in 52 countries.

Jenny Hodgson is GFCF’s Executive Director, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has been working in the field of philanthropy and development since 1992 in the former Soviet Union, sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia. She was Co-Director of the Charities Aid Foundation office in Moscow, she worked as a consultant to the Ford Foundation office for Eastern Africa and she also advised the European Foundation Centre, the Singapore National Centre for Volunteering and Philanthropy among others.

LIN & Learning for Development Association

Learning for Development Association (LDA) seeks to become a central networking home for nonprofit associations (NPAs) in Laos who work in development for poverty alleviation. LDA provides space and opportunities for NPAs to come together to learn new skills, share their knowledge and grow their organisations. LDA is a locally established, non-political, nonprofit network, emphasizing the achievements of its members’ goals and objectives in continuous development of the poorest and most disadvantaged communities in Laos.

From 13 to 14 November 2014, in Vientiane, Laos, Vietnamese grantees of Irish Aid and representatives of Laos nonprofit associations met together to exchange experiences, lessons learned and best practices in capacity building for nonprofits, good governance and accountability, and working with local government and businesses. During the workshop, LIN and LDA met for the first time and discovered many similarities in experience, mission, objectives and programs. With support from CDI, a nonprofit based in Hanoi, LIN and LDA organized a follow-up exchange visit, from 16 to 20 March, in Ho Chi Minh City to share experiences, best practices and lessons learned in community philanthropy.

Jenny Hodgson Presentation at Roundtable
Jenny Hodgson Presentation at Roundtable
Q&A
Q&A
Q&A during the roundtable
Q&A during the roundtable

Links:

 
   

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