Ingoma is the large, resonant drum used in the Zulu culture to call the community together to address critical issues impacting the village. The Ingoma Foundation is committed to this principle. Ingoma is a vehicle to bring the disparate parts of the community together toward sustainable change and to foster the development of vital and thriving com
After decades of work in support of community development, race and gender relations, support for justice organizations, and social entrepreneurship, founder Paulo Gregory Harris began to see the futility in common approaches to dealing with the problems of poverty. Harris says, “We establish programs to address the symptoms of poverty and most of these programs are indeed critical to help those most in need. But if we do not move upstream to address the sources of poverty and the resulting pain inflicted upon our children, families and communities, we will be stuck on this treadmill forever.” To create sustained change, we must change the way we think about the challenges of urban environments. This insight inspired the development of the Ingoma Foundation.
The Ingoma Foundation looks at community challenges in a comprehensive way. We develop interwoven strategies in concentrated communities to maximize the powerful assets of struggling neighborhoods. We combine those strategies with the assets of the broader metropolitan area to develop models that advance the community as a whole. This approach recognizes that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and creates synergies between neighborhood residents, businesses, community organizations, municipal structures, and creative and well-resourced individuals. Using a Collective Impact strategy to align resources, experience, and knowledge we can maximize impact and minimize waste. By weaving the segments of our divided social structure we create a holistic network that moves beyond isolating and concentrating social challenges and wealth, to one that moves the resources where they are needed to strengthen the whole.
In the years of work at all levels to understand and address these challenges we have learned that it is not important how large the effort is. On the contrary, very large efforts are doomed to consume massive resources and are often too rigid or cumbersome to reach the “tipping point” of achieving sustainability. Our experience has shown that small, integrated, replicable efforts have the flexibility and agility to reach that tipping point. Using this structure we begin to build the knowledge base and the momentum necessary to move individuals and systems alike toward sustainable heath and vitality.
Even the most devastated communities have integrity, intelligence, and vision. What is often missing is hope and faith, as the systemic disinvestment in these communities has all but eroded optomism, creating reinforcing patterns of decline. With small, incremental steps this faith can be restored and the power of these communities to steward their own transformation can be realized. With critical investment from socially conscientious and forward thinking investors, developers, City, State and Federal agencies, and public leaders, the tip toward the vision can be fostered.
This new approach to community development requires a leap beyond traditional thinking. We invite you to join as a partner, to walk with us, work with us, invest with us, and help to manifest this vision. Once proven, this vision can be migrated throughout urban neighborhoods throughout the City of Baltimore, and the nation.