Kudos to our community's leaders!
October 31st, 2010What a week this has been! We hosted our annual Donor Reception this past Friday, October 29th at UICA. Thank you to all the wonderful sponsors of our event and to the great Heartside area restaurants that made the best food ever! And thank you to Jeff Meeuwsen and his great team providing the space when we had to change the venue due to the fact our elevator is out of commission. Much appreciated!
At the event we gave John Canepa the Jack Chaille Community Philanthropy Award which is given each year to a great leader who has given their time and resources back to our community. John certainly is one GRAND leader. We were proud to give him this award! He embodies all the key strengths of leadership - former President of Old Kent Bank and Trust which is now Fifth Third Bank. He consults with the firm Crowe Horwath and has led major development efforts in our community. Grand Action is led by him along with David Frey and Dick DeVos.
This week also saw the Grand Rapids Business Journal (GRBJ) release their annual listing of "40 Under 40" - those leaders who are indeed 40 years or younger and are truly making good strides in making our community the best ever!
I was amazed by their accomplishments and while I am not going to list all the winners, I will list those I know and/or may have a relationship with the Grand Rapids Community Foundation. I am so very proud of these leaders and their accomplishments and thank the GRBJ for honoring them! I have also linked their names to the websites of the businesses/organizations they represent.
* Bridget Clark Whitney: Executive Director of Kid's Food Basket
* Emily Stoddard Furrow: Partner, DVQ Studio
* Darius Quinn: Human Resources Manager, County of Kent
* Elissa Hillary: Executive Director, Local First
* Matthew Downey: Director, Nonprofit Services & Development, Johnson Center for Philanthropy
* Latricia Trice: Marketing Communications Director, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
* Rachel Hood: Executive Director, West Michigan Environmental Action Council
* Rosalynn Bliss: Director, Residential Services, D.A. Blodgett/St. John's Home and a City Commissioner, City of Grand Rapids
* Rachel Mraz: Wealth Management Advisor, Merrill Lynch
* Stacy Stout: Education Director, Hispanic Center of Western Michigan
* Steve Faber : Executive Director, Friends of Grand Rapids Park
* Lorissa MacAllister: President, Enviah
* Jason Paulateer : VP and Development Advisor, PNC Bank
* Amy Ruis: Owner, Art of the Table
* Ryan Slusarzyk: Marketing Programs Manager, Amway Hotel Corp.
Also, the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Greater Grand Rapids hosted their annual Leadership awards program and their website notes that this is "an annual opportunity for local nonprofit and community leaders to come together and celebrate their accomplishments."
Congratulation to all the winners:
Edison: Jamiel Robinson Open Book Project, Executive Director
Exemplary Executive: Elissa Hillary Local First & Local First Educational Foundation Executive Director
Good to Great: Denise Cheng Grand Rapids Community Media Center -The Rapidian Citizen Journalism Coordinator
Grantmaking Guru: Nicole Notario-Risk Kent County Nonprofit Technical Assistance Fund / Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation Program Manager / Program Consultant
DoGooder: Janelle Hill Arbor Circle Community Services Coordinator
Advocate: Ashley E. Nickels Grand Valley State University; National Organization for Women Women's Center Assistant Director; Grand Rapids President
Resource: Grand Rapids Community Media Center
Young Nonprofit Professional of the Year: Janay Brower Grand Rapids Area Coalition to End Homelessness Coordinator
The future is in great hands! Congratulations one and all!!!!!
When GRCF says no but I want to say yes!
October 7th, 2010The frustrating thing about the many voices and minds involved in making grant decisions for our great local nonprofit organizations is that I'm often overruled! However, it's the inclusive process that also adds to the thoughtfulness and value of the decisions.
Sigh . . . recently I learned that a favorite organization of mine didn't pass our initial step in the grantmaking process. I knew why but wanted more information. It has to do with our funding priorities that are broad-based AND emphasize our commitment to long-term, sustainable change in our system and orientation to key problems.
A prime example of our view was demonstrated in the successful collaboration of 17 area foundations that banded together in the fall of 2008 to create a resource that amounted to more than $2M to address critical essential needs that were glaringly apparent then and frankly still are. Some of the funds were funneled to organizations that were about the business of addressing homelessness - not just treating it but preventing it in the future. And now we are focusing on the food system to organize for long term solutions on the quantity and quality of food products as well as the distribution to isolated and/or vulnerable people.
It's not easy to say no. It really isn't but when we make grant decisions using the precious resources of the Foundation, we want to make sure as much as humanly possible, that long-term change is going to occur.
However, that won't stop me from making my own personal contributions to various organizations trying hard to keep up with the demands that emerge due to economic times or other factors out of the control of people in need.
Yes it is difficult when the Grand Rapids Community Foundation denies a funding request and I want to say yes! We do try hard to work with all nonprofit organizations to succeed in their endeavors as they are so critical to the vibrancy of our community.