Creating the Conversation
August 24th, 2009Striving for transparency in all that we do is a discussion we have at the Foundation often. What are the factors involved when grant decisions are made? Who is making those decisions? How do we decide what issues to pursue? What role does the Board of Trustees play?
At first I was going to write about a conversation I had this past Saturday on Facebook regarding the decision to help Rob Bliss in the financing of his latest event* to take place in late September. The person with whom I was conversing questioned that decision. This is not a problem frankly as this comes with the territory as a leader of a major Foundation. My question back to the individual had more to do with being transparent as to why the question was being posed than discussing the background on the decision. But that passed and while the decision still may not set well with that person, creating the opportunity to have the conversation was good! Transparency is two-way.
Then I received a message that referenced negative blog entries and commentary about the planned event and our funding. The message bearer was stating that in truth more people were supportive than not and was passing along his support. I went back to local media sites and references to the announcement of the September event. The reaction was mostly positive. However some comments did get personal in terms of me and in terms of the Foundation. Again this comes with the position so I don't really get exercised about it.
In fact, I was heartened by the fact that Roberta King our VP for PR and Marketing told me that when The Rapidian, our Neighborhood News Bureau partnership with the Community Media Center, is launched on Tuesday, September 15th that all who comment on stories will not be given the choice to hide behind a moniker. I believe if you are going to express an opinion then stand behind your opinion with your true identity so a conversation can occur if necessary like I was able to on Facebook.
*The decision re: the aforementioned event is a small part of a bigger effort that is coming up in a few weeks.