When GRCF says no but I want to say yes!

The 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.