Philanthropy Southwest’s Spring Summit Service Project focused on innovation in grantmaking with a two-part session at The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in Little Rock, AR and a follow-up roundtable discussion at the Capital Hotel. The tour of the facility was led by Arkansas State Representative and Innovation Hub Executive Director Warwick Sabin, who explained how the Hub, outfitted with computers, drawing tables, a ceramic station and a screen printing studio, was designed to be a place where inventors, artists and entrepreneurs could gather to share ideas and equipment. In line with its goal, the Hub quickly became an economic engine for communities in Arkansas through its emphasis on collaboration and entrepreneurship. Following the tour and overview, participants concluded their morning at the Hub with an interactive team-building exercise in the ceramics studio.
In the afternoon, Philanthropy Southwest members reconvened for a roundtable discussion to share their observations from the Hub and consider how innovation can be applied to grantmaking strategy to increase impact. Facilitated by Rep. Sabin, Regan Moffitt of Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and Laura Duty of the Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation, participants shared experiences and ideas about how foundations can think outside the box when it comes to philanthropic giving and their own guidelines. As Rep. Sabin advised, "Innovation can be both in what you fund and how you fund it."
Thank you to Philanthropy Southwest members and the panel of experts for this insightful seminar on demystifying innovation so it can be utilized as a tool for funding community solutions.