Janis Foster Richardson

Janis Foster Richardson is Executive Director of Grassroots Grantmakers. Janis came to Grassroots Grantmakers with experience as a neighborhood leader, the director of a neighborhood technical assistance center, a community foundation executive, and a consultant to funders and community building organizations. Janis’ career began in her own neighborhood in Memphis where she worked with her neighbors to develop an effective block organization system, establish a community newspaper, and turn a blighted strip of land into a community asset through an innovative redevelopment strategy. After serving as President of her neighborhood organization and a coalition of neighborhood associations, she went on to serve as Director of Memphis’ Center for Neighborhoods, a non-profit organization charged with serving the 300 neighborhood associations in the Memphis area. Following her tenure at the Center for Neighborhoods, Janis joined the staff at the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis to design and direct a grantmaking program for grassroots neighborhood associations in Memphis. Over her nine years with the Community Foundation, Janis served as Program Officer, Vice-President of Programs, and Executive Vice President. Of special note is her work with the Foundation’s Board of Governors to refocus the Foundation’s discretionary grant-making activity on community building and to position the Community Foundation as a catalyst for community development in the Memphis area. Janis is an adjunct faculty member of the Asset Based Community Development Institute and is certified as a coach from the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara. She has served as a trainer for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Training Institute and a consultant to dozens of funders and change-oriented nonprofit organizations. She has a Masters degree in Urban Anthropology and resides in South Central Texas.

What’s Complicated About a Pocket Park?

What could be complicated about a pocket park? I am digging into that question to explore some of the ways we can over-think, over-judge, over-complicate and get in our own way as big thinkers about small grants — unaware of...