Creative insights for social change.




Rethinking the Funder-Grantee Relationship (2018) Blog post on strategies for flattening the power between grantees and funders. — Justin Wiebe

Does Philanthropy Need a New Story? (2017) How emergent and grassroots funding strategies are challenging the traditional “donor-beneficiary” paradigm—Oksana Orecheva and Barry Knight

Thinking Big: Community Philanthropy and Management of Large-Scale Assets (2017) Three case studies exploring how community philanthropy can be a model for communities to manage large funds and design and manage their own development projects. – Mary Fifield

An Untapped Resource? The Extractives Industry and Community Self-Management of Assets (2017) Research on the implications, opportunities, and risks of corporate investment in community-led foundations. – Mary Fifield

Smart Risks: How Small Grants Are Helping to Solve Some of the World’s Biggest Problems (2016) A collection of essays by global practitioners on how small grants can support community-driven development. – Jennifer Lentfer & Tanya Cothran, Eds.

Danger, Opportunity & a New Path for Community Philanthropy (2016) A discussion on emerging research about communities managing their own large-scale natural and financial assets to determine their development path. – Mary Fifield

Community Philanthropy Chimes with SDGs (2015) A case study on the connection between community philanthropy and the UN Sustainable Development Goals – Avila Kilmurray and Jenny Hodgson

The Great Untapped: Revolutionizing Development through Community-Based Organizations (2012) A discussion of the benefits of community self-development for grassroots organizations and international funders – Mary Fifield

Finding Room for Error (2012) An example of how pressure to meet donor expectations precluded learning about what really works. Published on How Matters and Admitting Failure, 2012 — Mary Fifield


Communities must be the drivers of their own development.

They offer the greatest hope for a vibrant, healthy future for people and the planet.


Communities in the Driver’s Seat: A Global Perspective
From the panel presentation Whose Project Is It? Fostering Community Ownership, Alliance for Nonprofit Management Conference, October 7, 2015 – Mary Fifield (co-panelists Pedro Moreno and Lara Jones)

A Tale of Two Foundations
Poster presentation for Global Summit on Community Philanthropy, Johannesburg, December 2016 – Mary Fifield and Jenna Rose




Community engagement spectrum

A visual tool to help organizations assess and foster community ownership in local projects and policy-making.

Grantwriting for Grassroots Projects

Tips for involving community members in writing and implementing successful grant proposals

Community Philanthropy Guide for Donors

How Community Philanthropy Shifts Power, by Jenny Hodgson and Anna Pond, is a discussion and how-to guide for donors to incorporate community philanthropy practices in their programs and grantmaking.


Amazon Partnerships Foundation Publications


Community Self-Development Methodology: An Implementation Handbook

Reflecting six years of fieldwork in community grantmaking and project management, this handbook details APF’s method for supporting community-based, community-driven sustainable development projects. This handbook offers adaptable practices for  grassroots community work.

In English *Graphics and Handouts (English) En español. Gráficos español.



Oil and Water: Empowering Community-Based Alternatives to Extractive Activities

APF’s unique model helps empower communities dealing with oil, mining, and timber extraction in their territory.

Read the white paper: In English or En español.




Evaluation of Rainwater Catchment Projects

A 2011 study of three communities that installed ecologically friendly rainwater catchment systems with APF support in 2008 showed that 86% of families surveyed were very satisfied with them and 100% continued to use them. Most feel that their community was more organized , too.

Download the report (in English).

A 2014 survey of a community that installed rainwater catchment systems and planted native and fruit trees from 2010-2012 showed that 92% of families were still using the catchment systems and all of the trees were still living. Respondents reported increased awareness of  conservation and organizing skills.

Read the summary (en español).



Amazon Partnerships on LA Talk Radio

Connecting the dots between community empowerment, composting toilets, and climate change, Executive Director Mary Fifield talks with Jani Schulz during an interview on Rainforest Radio/LA Talk Radio.

Listen Now.

Q&A with Mary Fifield

Executive Director Mary Fifield spoke to Global Fund for Community Foundations about fostering environmental leadership through simple, practical projects that communities design and implement themselves.

Read the interview.


APF Videos

Life and Breath: Kichwa People Confront Climate Change in the Amazon

What do Kichwa people, whose ancestors have lived for centuries in the Amazon rainforest, think about its destruction? And what are they doing about it? Filmed in Kichwa with English and Spanish subtitles, the documentary features interviews with Kichwa community members, policy makers, and researchers to examine how climate disruptions are impacting Ecuador, the sixth most bio-diverse country on the planet, and how communities are confronting this immense threat to the planet.

Selected for the 2010 Green Screen Environmental Film Festival, Life and Breath is a testimony from Kichwa communities, whose message to their own people and the world is one of urgent action—and hope.

Life and Breath was produced in conjunction with award-winning Luna Productions and has been screened for thousands of communities, elected officials, university students, and viewers in the U.S. and Ecuador.

Download the video » 


Water For Life: Rainwater Catchment Projects


What did 32 families in the Amazon do when faced with contaminated rivers, their main source of drinking water? They collaborated with Amazon Partnerships Foundation to install rainwater catchment systems, which provide safe drinking water without affecting delicate ecosystems. Learn how these families changed their own lives with APF’s support.

Planting Seeds: Organic Cacao


Better chocolate, healthier rainforest, happier families: Amazon cacao farmers learn how to increase their yield, protect the environment, and provide for their families in collaboration with Amazon Partnerships Foundation.