February 20th, 2006I just spent two days with my colleagues from across Michigan and Ohio. It is our opportunity to share good ideas, brag a bit, and revitalize ourselves with the resolve necessary to push on making a difference in our respective communities.
However, this year's session made me feel a bit empty. Why? Because it appears as if the quality of a community foundation is measured by the asset value of the foundation versus the impact it is making. And I thought we were beyond all that. How sad to be sure but not unlike many other sectors or businesses.
While I am immensely proud of the fact that the Grand Rapids Community Foundation has surpassed the $200 million mark by almost $3 million just recently and that we are edging up to the $100 million mark in grants distributed to our community, the value of this foundation is more about what impact we are making, the leadership we display and the mettle we have to stick with addressing tough issues including public education, planning for the future for our aging population, and lifting families and children out of poverty and horrific living conditions.
This field needs to change its view of success - I am certainly ready to measure our success by a variety of measures that may NOT include the asset level of the community foundation. We need to demonstrate bold leadership! Our community definitely deserves the best!