August 11th, 2006Many articles and books have been written about mission driven organizations and how important it is to focus on the mission. Mission drift is a term used to identify when an organization seems to "float" away from its intent and purpose. Jim Collins in his writings in the books Good to Great and in the recent essay "Good to Great and the Social Sectors", speaks to the notion of hedgehog - staying focused on what you do the best.
Recently, I have had the experience of explaining to various people and groups that one of our key distinctions is that we are this community's permanent endowment serving the entire community - not just one cause, one program, one organization. This is in addition to making a positive impact on the critical problems in our community in concert with many others.
Our mission is: To build and manage our community's permanent endowment and lead the community to strengthen the lives of its people. Our mission focuses on the things we do best.
And we cover all of Kent County, the southeast corner of Ottawa County and host the Ionia County Community Foundation - that serves all of Ionia County.
Build - this community's permanent endowment
Lead - to Strengthen the lives of people in our community
Trust - that this Foundation will be here in perpetuity
When we work with various agencies, organizations, and communities to help them grow their endowments and provide the needed assurance to their donors that their gifts will live on forever and be used to grow needed resources for the future, some are under the mistaken impression that this is only for small, emerging organizations. OR for those organizations that don't want to deal with the extra attention to detail in terms of wise investments and management.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Holding the endowments of various groups is one of our ways to reach out to our community in a service capacity. Nowhere in our strategic plan or annualized work plans will you find that we are adding agency endowments as a strategy to grow our assets. In fact what you will find are objectives and metrics that are strictly customer service oriented with an emphasis on efficiency.
Trust is hard to build and earn. One way is to look into our endowment program serving agencies, organizations and communities. On this webite is a link under Nonprofits to a section that is entitled, "Why a Nonprofit or Civic Endowment Fund?" If you are interested, please give us a call at 454-1751. Marilyn Zack, VP for Development, would be happy to review all aspects of our services.
Mission Drift? Not at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation!