Letter to the GRCF Prez in 2058!
November 13th, 2008In the April 15, 1923 edition of the newspaper The Grand Rapids Herald (no longer in existence) a headline celebrated the creation of this Foundation and it read: "Foundation Destined to Make G.R. Croesus". Wow what an unveiling - - - what an entry into the community - - - - what excitement! A great way to reinforce the role of philanthropy in our community.
The first paragraph exclaimed: "Grand Rapids may be a multi-millionaire 50 years hence - through inheritance. The means are provided by the recent formation through an Association of Commerce initiative, of the Grand Rapids Foundation." This was our name for more than 78 years until we inserted the word community.
We were introduced those many decades ago in a dramatic fashion but this did not overpower the vision that Lee Hutchins, our founder, and the leaders involved had when actually the Foundation was created in 1922. The many people who followed Mr. Hutchins and others certainly contributed greatly to see that the vision came to fruition!
So 86 years later we are now celebrating our move into our new home - a 104 year old historic building that has been lovingly renovated and restored as a place for community convening and problem solving. There is a brief video on our website produced by Chuck Peterson and a video and article in today's edition of Rapid Growth - video shot by Andy Dragt.
As part of the celebration of moving into our new home, a time capsule is being tucked away in a wall in our lobby to be opened 50 years from now and I'm in the midst of writing a letter to the person who will be the Foundation's president in 2058 to be placed in the capsule! This is a great exercise!
Here we are in the midst of a recession - now the financial leaders are actually saying it - trying to assure the community that we will still be making grants into the community, that we are holding our own and that we care very deeply about the needs of the people in our area. It will be interesting to note to my successor how we communicated in 2008 - how we responded in good times and in down times. But mostly that our staff is exceptional and that our board is remarkable and I trust that the leadership in future years will carry on in the same fashion just as we have since the Foundation was introduced in 1922. Croesus indeed but more importantly a Foundation that is effective and having a positive impact working together with many people, donors, businesses, governmental entities and organizations in our community. Here's to the future!