Rough waters ---> great leadership!

I've been struggling with a variety of situations and issues relating to community politics and GRCF strategies. How to convey this in this blog presents a challenge.

The original intent behind this blog initiated in January 2006 (4 years!) was to accomplish two things. #1: Offer a glimpse into the inner workings of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation - being transparent beyond the facts and figures bringing to life the background on issues staff and board believe are critical. #2: Provide a perspective on philanthropy from a local view - or as is the buzzword these days with many foundation pros - a more "placed-based" perspective!

I am one that harps endlessly about collaboration and I don't mean forcing this on the social sector but how the GRCF behaves in the community. Initiatives and programs just seem to be on more solid and sustainable ground if there is a real partnership between and among funders and programs. Leveling the playing field and letting the best just do their best.

That hasn't been happening on a number of fronts and I don't know if it's because people are just plain sick of the long winter or what. Lately I've experienced as the song from 1974 goes "Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes they don't tell the truth" sung by the Undisputed Truth.

It is all about our community leadership - that "secret" ingredient we are trying to describe more clearly. Advice that Warren Buffett gave in 2006 along with his massive infusion of money to the Gates Foundation was: "Don't just go for safe projects. You can bat a thousand in this game if you want to by doing nothing important. Or you'll bat something less than that if you take on the really tough problems."

We have been taking on the tough problems that is for sure and it's been a leadership challenge. So I just have to say - here's to our lower batting average!