How to Use This Guide

Get the most out of this “open source” knowledge-share

Over Sprout’s two decades, we’ve been lucky to work with grantmakers, governments, nonprofits, schools, startups, community organizers, and more. The common thread among these many “friends of Sprout” has been their commitment to catalyzing change in their communities.

We wrote this guide to “open source” Sprout’s approach to catalytic funding and community building. If you count yourself as someone who endeavors to create more inclusive and vibrant communities, then you might be attracted to the ideas within this publication.

The Catalytic Funding section of this Field Guide will be most helpful to grantmakers and people who work in the philanthropic sector, especially those who hope to imbue their work with the insights and priorities of the communities they endeavor to serve. This section includes templates, advice, and key questions we distilled from 17 years of community-decided grantmaking in Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, the Community Building section of this Field Guide will be relevant to grantmakers too, and we also think they apply to an even wider audience. This section documents Sprout’s expertise in mobilizing networks of like-minded people to achieve shared goals. Sprout used the tactics described in this section in support of our grantmaking work, and we’ve found that these best practices are effective in many other contexts, from education to community development to public art.

We encourage you to read our reflections, fork this guide, remix Sprout’s approach, and apply these ideas within your own context. Feel free to draw on ideas that resonate with you and focus on the sections that feel most relevant to your work.

You can read the publication straight through, jump to your favorite section, or search for key terms. However you use it, we hope you’ll be inspired to catalyze positive change and cultivate connected communities!