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Planning the future Community Foundation's new strategy sharpens focus on region's key problems

The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo's decision to change the way it awards money to worthy causes is an encouraging sign that this region is thinking through its approach to the future, and not just thinking about its problems. That's a very good thing.

The $159 million charitable foundation recently unveiled a new strategic plan called "The Way Ahead," describing it as a blueprint for increasing philanthropy in Western New York and targeting the community's most pressing problems. The plan narrows the foundation's focus to specific areas -- seeking to develop public-private partnerships to improve education and improve families' chances at pulling themselves out of poverty, for example.

Other strategic goals will include restoring and enhancing the area's water resources, parklands and historic places.

There is an invitation, in this, for other foundations and agencies to join in the strategic effort. Joined to such things as the United Way's push for more cooperative efforts, better delivery of service and less duplication in social services programs, or to the cooperative marketing and program linking occasionally done by the city's museums and cultural attractions, strategic giving becomes part of a better path to the future.

The Community Foundation has turned its own steps to this new course; that, in itself, is a worthy contribution to the future.

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