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Over the course of several years the IE Funders Alliance implemented a multi-sectoral campaign to shift to a strengths- and opportunity-based perception of the Inland Empire and its people, and away from the prevailing problem-based narrative. The campaign also produced tools to help local nonprofits build communications capacity to tell their story from an asset-based frame.

The Funders Alliance partnered with The 20/20 Network and the Inland Empire Community Collaborative (IECC) on Phase I of the campaign. Thanks to both groups for their creativity and flexibility during this campaign.

Find out more about the Changing the Narrative Campaign

The Narrative
The Goal and Outcomes
Training for Nonprofits
Resources for Communication


Inland Empire: The New California

Southern California’s Inland Empire (San Bernardino and Riverside counties) comprises one of the fastest-growing population centers in the United States. Located 40 miles east of Los Angeles, the IE is rich in diversity, culture, history and economic opportunity. It’s also home to innovative, resourceful, mission-driven nonprofit organizations that work in partnership to transform lives, communities and the region as a whole.

While significant challenges remain, the Inland Empire’s nonprofit community has shown the collaboration, creativity, commitment and capacity needed to positively impact lives throughout a region of 4.5 million people. What these resilient, highly efficient organizations need is capital – the financial support that will allow them to help California’s newest population center fulfill its extraordinary promise and potential.

For foundations, government grantmakers and donors looking to make a difference, the IE’s 11,000 nonprofits and the growing region they serve offer a unique opportunity. The support of elected leaders, businesses and forward-thinking educational institutions helps ensure that philanthropic dollars spent here will achieve the desired outcomes.

A growing number of entities are putting money behind this close alignment between nonprofits, influencers and decision makers.

The IE can embody a new California Dream – one where the opportunity for a better life is very much within reach. Challenges or not, more than 120 people a day are moving to the IE. Join them and us as we seize the California Dream!

We are the IE.
We are the New California.


The goal of the campaign was to demonstrate the region’s strategic importance to California, which will attract investment of many kinds to the region. Outcomes would include:

  • Attract more philanthropic investment to the Inland Empire
  • Provide the region’s nonprofit organizations with tools to tell their stories, in an asset-based manner
  • Better position our nonprofits as difference makers
  • Promote a stronger sense of place
  • Promote greater alignment, collaboration, and a shared vision Success!
  • Demonstrate the region has smart, creative people who have pride of place
  • Highlight the challenges AND the persistent nonprofit leaders taking them on
  • Justify the utility of investing in our nonprofits to improve quality of life
  • Lift up nonprofits by equipping and training them to use asset-based messages
  • Center a bottom-up community perspective in the narrative, while aligning it with top-down civic narratives


IECC developed a full-service Nonprofit Training Series and delivered it across the region.

  • Curriculum developed for both a longer training and a short 1 hour version for boards
  • Facilitator notes and tools also provided
  • Participant workbook for in-session practice and back-at-the-office adoption
  • 6 diverse groups of nonprofits in Riverside, Big Bear, Coachella Valley, Victorville, First 5 San Bernardino Academy, and the THRIVE conference
  • Nonprofit staff liked the narrative and saw its potential
  • But felt that more training and some accompanying communications assets would be helpful