Grand Rapids' Hip Quotient on the rise!
July 30th, 2010Last January I wrote about the impact of social media, the next gen coming forth with new ways to celebrate our great city bringing forward their philanthropic spirit as well! Well I'm back at it again to proclaim, as Todd Ernst does in his blog entry posted on today's edition of Grand Rapids Social Diary, our area's "Hip Quotient" (HQ) is rapidly rising! Todd is an electronic music DJ and promoter extraordinaire and is the resident DJ at Mixology Lounge at the JW Marriott Hotel Grand Rapids and he does so much more! He is also one very nice person.
There are seemingly many efforts underway in our community to attract and retain our next generation to help keep GR and the surrounding areas vibrant and growing! Job creation still reigns supreme for me to attract and retain a strong work force but keeping the vibe going is critical too. Todd knows that I have a few years on the intended audience for his commentary but that doesn't negate my understanding on how the growing Electronic Dance Music (EDM) movement has really taken hold here just down the road from Detroit where this movement has really taken off. (See end note) Rob Bliss is hosting the 2nd annual Grand Rapids Electronic Music Night tonight and it promises to be a grand event. And the weather is cooperating this year too!
We didn't need consultants and task force groups to study how to bring people down to the center of Grand Rapids! It's happening because the next generation is bringing to life what they like to do and they know how to attract the crowds! As Todd so aptly notes, "It's a good time to be part of the evolution in Grand Rapids . . . the Medical Mile is quickly defining medicine for a new generation, Fast Company magazine rated Grand Rapids as "America's Greenest City", we know we got Google's attention during the Google Fiber initiative . . . without question it is an appropriate time to ask the question about Grand Rapids "Hip Quotient" and what we can do individually to increase our region's HQ."
I couldn't have said it better myself! I'm so hip! ;)
Okay here's the caveat: I'm originally from Detroit having moved here a long time ago in the 1970's. I grew up listening and loving Soul music and I still do along with jazz. Electronic dance music may not lead the list of "my" music though I like it; it is "the music" for many in the generations coming up after the boomers! Bring it on I say!
So where does the money come from?
July 27th, 2010We have two floors in the "world corporate headquarters" of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. The first floor houses the grantmaking/community leadership team who are hard-working, passionate, resourceful and driven! There is a quiet yet energizing atmosphere on this floor.
On the second floor it is a bit noisier! In one area, our superb finance and administration staff diligently watches over our finances and investments. I'm sure they are sometimes amused and at times riled by the noise levels coming from the dynamic development and marketing teams. The sales and marketing staff strategize about increasing awareness for GRCF and are not shy about asking for support to accomplish the great work that we do. And then there's me! I occupy an office on the second floor with a great view of the S-Curve and the patio of the Grand Woods Lounge which can be interesting at times!
Why am I telling you this? Because there has been quite a lot of discussion up here on the second floor regarding the role of fund development and its place in community foundations. Twenty years ago, the actual words "fund development" "resource development" or "fund raising" were not uttered in our field that often. Rather begs the question, so where was the money supposed to come from after all? In fact at that time one of my colleagues chose to call fund raising "community relations" instead because he felt it was a bit more dignified! Good heavens fund development is a great profession!
One day recently, I noticed that the din in the conference room next to my office was growing louder and louder. I went next door to find out what was going on! Apparently the brochure promoting our field's annual conference listed the various functional areas of community foundation staff except for development. While there were sessions that relate to development in the lineup, on the page that advertised "Something for Everyone", resource development was not listed.
Instead of turning this experience into a negative commentary, I have to say what has emerged in our office is a great platform for our team to proudly highlight their role in making this community foundation strong and at the ready to turn our promises into reality by selling our donors on our ability to address the most pressing concerns! And also reaching out to people to help them shape their plans on bringing their charitable dreams to life! In fact read more about how we are doing in new reports entitled "Grants at a Glance" by scrolling down to these great profiles located on our website.
I experienced in a meeting yesterday with Marilyn Zack our exceptional VP for Development and Gina Bovee our Development Director a strong commitment to selling this foundation. Yes - selling and marketing what we do best in our community! We are giving people the opportunity to donate their assets and/or discretionary income to support great programs knowing that we are in the business of results! Marilyn challenged a statement I made commenting that it is not easy to sell this foundation and the roles that we play. She noted that in other organizations it isn't so easy either! It basically takes reaching out to people and asking them for their support. It may take time to build trust and the realization that we are truly making a difference!
Just like in the for-profit arena, sales, marketing and fund development are critical elements in growing our foundation. We have a great group of professionals who are devoted to this community, our donors, our leaders, and selling our dreams!
GRCF - Old School or Hip Happenin'?
July 14th, 2010
This is Leadership! You will be reading and hearing a great deal more about the Foundation's leadership efforts in the coming months and I hope you enjoy reading the stories and examples. For months, we have been creating ways to tell our story with greater clarity and in a compelling fashion that makes you want to learn more! The power of philanthropy and the strong collaborative nature of our community are dynamic forces! In the Spring 2010 edition of our news magazine Current I wrote about "this thing called leadership" pointing out that there are many efforts where the GRCF staff are addressing key issues and collaborating with many great organizations in our community. In the Summer 2010 edition of Current I wrote about the endowment building capacity of the Foundation and noted that it is definitely a strong form of sustainability - meaning it is truly a relevant and meaningful way to leverage support for major (and minor) issues! Take a look at the grants profiles (scroll down the page a bit) we are posting on the GRCF website along with other publications to gain keen insight on key issues in our area and the great grants we are making coupled with the strength of our staff and volunteers addressing knotty community issues!
Leadership! The Basics!!!
July 1st, 2010In the late 1990s, a group of committed community foundation leaders had a dream for the future of the field and set a course to make that dream a reality. The Committee on Community Foundations went through a "revolution" of sorts, morphing into the Community Foundation Leadership Team (CFLT) as we know it today.
As the changes were taking hold, two major developments unfolded.
One was the articulation of values that helped define community foundations. It led to the standards that shape and guide the field today. The other was the creation of courses designed to provide staff and board members a solid knowledge base regarding community foundations. This professional development program is called the Center for Community Foundation Excellence.
Basic Fundamentals was the first course developed. Other specialized courses were created in the areas of finance and administration, resource development, and community leadership. The course Basic Fundamentals is designed to provide newer staff and board members key information about the field, as well as a review of the legal issues relevant to all community foundations.
Mary Jalonick, president of The Dallas Foundation, and I, as president of Grand Rapids Community Foundation, recently had the pleasure of again teaching the two-day Basic Fundamentals at the Council on Foundations offices in Crystal City, Virginia. We shared a mountain of critical information through presentations and interactive exercises that brought to life the experiences and scenarios facing community foundations.
The class members were from every corner of the United States and represented both small and larger community foundations. The group actively participated and presented thoughtful and enthusiastic questions.
The Basic Fundamentals course implies an introduction to community foundations. It is anything but. It represents a firm foundation to start any career in the dynamic field of community foundations.