Ready for the Next Mile

Even as the Community Foundation’s Board looks back with pride on the landmarks of the past 17 years, members also are keeping their eyes on the road ahead. One of the Board’s major projects right now is to develop a new three-year plan.

The last plan looked inward, with the aim of making the organization more lean and efficient. As part of that initiative, the Foundation fine-tuned its staffing to better match our resources to our mission. We also defined the kinds of funds that the Foundation should seek to establish to best serve the community.

We have fully implemented that most recent plan. Now the Board is looking outward, seeking ways to more intentionally align the Foundation’s grant making with the most pressing community needs.

As a first step, during a retreat in October 2012, the board conducted a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of our five-county region. The purpose was to identify the greatest needs and the best strategies for meeting them.

The Board’s Planning Committee will continue that work throughout 2013 and 2014. Members will use data from the Community Needs Assessment that the Foundation completed in 2011, as well as data from many other sources, to paint a comprehensive picture of community requirements in our region.

The Committee also will examine the Foundation’s past grant making patterns. Then, based on the knowledge they gain, members will reassess our grant making process and, most likely, recommend a new grant making focus.

Rather than simply respond to requests from nonprofit organizations, the Board expects to take a more proactive approach. When the Board decided to use the Community Fund’s Spring 2012 grants to help organizations and communities recover from the floods of 2011, that choice proved extremely successful. In a similar vein, in the future, Board members hope to use a significant portion of the Community Fund to target specific, urgent issues.

Along with this plan to reshape the grant making process, the Board will continue to look for new ways to make the Foundation run more efficiently. In late 2012, the Board launched a new sustainability study, closely examining every aspect of the Foundation’s operations and overhead costs, from staffing to the administration of our funds. That initiative continued in 2013.

With careful planning, the Foundation will be able to keep moving forward while always giving donors the best possible return on their investments in the community.

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