Feeling like a child again
April 24th, 2006Nothing slows me down than a family crisis. My mom is having some medical problems and my sister and I are reviewing options we have regarding her care. Just when I think I can make good, solid decisions as it relates to running this wonderful foundation, whew - - - care for an elderly parent certainly slams me back to feeling helpless as I enter territory that I know about in GR but not in the metro Detroit area.
For those of you who are of a certain age and have parents who are struggling with their independence, you can definitely relate. The Foundation's work with the Area Agency on Aging entitled, Creating Communties for a Lifetime is trying to address these very issues. And here I am trying to sort through options. One thing is for sure, if my mom's internist was a partner it would make all the difference in the world. She, however, is not. So that will have to change soon.
While this may seem to be a bit more personal than my normal entries, I just believe that when one's work in the community does mesh with personal experiences, that is important to share these perspectives.
Plus I have a goal to keep up on this blog! More later.
We reach every corner of Kent County!
April 17th, 2006In the past few weeks, I have had the occasion to talk to a number of people who are not aware that we serve every community, city, township, town, village, unincorporated area, every blade of grass . . . in Kent County! Since 1922, we have funded thousands of projects, programs and worthwhile causes throughout our metropolitan area.
For more than 75 years this foundation was known as The Grand Rapids Foundation. We are a part of a field that now numbers more than 600 community foundations in this country and many more developing globally. (In fact, I have participated with the development of community foundations in northern Italy.) We decided that we needed to identify ourselves as a community foundation more specifically due in part to a broad marketing effort that was underway throughout the state of Michigan through the Council of Michigan Foundations focusing on community foundations. We officially changed our name more than six (6) years ago to the Grand Rapids Community Foundation.
This foundation was formed by committed leaders in 1922 to be a "community foundation" - independent of any other organization or governmental entity like a city. A novel idea then - we were one of the first 40 such entities formed in the United States - and a great Foundation today!
Community foundations are now in the process of adhering to rigorous standards adopted by the Council on Foundations in Washington D.C. Having participated as a key leader nationally with community foundations, I understand that this field is evolving but changing rapidly. I also know that many communities want to create funds that will focus on funding needed improvements and to enrich their areas.
A representative of a community that has a fund with our organization noted in a meeting recently that "we'll fund this organization in our city and you can fund something in the city of Grand Rapids." I said we have funded many efforts in your community and we do cover all of Kent County.
So here is the real deal:
The Grand Rapids Community Foundation covers all of Kent County and actually the southeast corner of Ottawa County as well as hosting the Ionia County Community Foundation. We were known for more than 7 decades as the Grand Rapids Foundation and did not want to deviate too far from that identity. So the board, staff, donors and volunteers went the route of changing the name to the Grand Rapids Community Foundation.
Kent County, metro Grand Rapids, every suburb, rural area, city, and so on . . . we are the Grand Rapids Community Foundation serving you!