A Message From Dawn

I’m no Imelda Marcos.  I don’t have 3000 pairs of shoes.  And, I definitley don’t have a shoe musuem.  But, I do have one fewer pair of shoes this week; thus, momma’s need for a new pair of shoes.It all started out rather innocently.  I went over to my brother and sister-in-law’s home Sunday night to catch an episode of The Secret Millionaire (ABC, Sundays at 8:00). It’s a fascinating show where millionaries go incognito into an impoverished community and agree to donate money to the causes they see that are truly making an impact.  Of course, as the Executive Director of the Community Foundation, the concept of this show intrigues me.  We work with non-profits in Grant County all the time.  We see true servant leaders giving their all to make a difference.  This is what happened on Sunday night as I watched The Secret Millionaire.  The co-founders of Anytime Fitness went to Oklahoma City where they visited the Oklahoma City Youth Wrestling Foundation and Llimbs for Life.While at the Wrestling Foundation they learned that the organization not only helps the local children with fitness, but also provides free tutoring.  It’s during a tutoring session in reading that they...

The Community Foundation has the privilege of being a leader and a neutral convener in Grant County.  This means that we get to work with some of the coolest people around these parts.  No, seriously these people rock.  I was reminded of this at our recent Annual Meeting when Vectren Foundation President, Jeff Whiteside, told the audience, “You’ve got something special here.  I hope you know that.”  I believe he’s right. Just in the past week, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a group that has weatherized over 100 homes in 4 months and another group that is working on proactive ways to address local poverty issues.  I got to sit in on a strategic planning session for the YMCA, one of the largest non-profits in Grant County that’s thinking toward the future.  Plus, I got to help with this amazing Summer Passport project for Pre-K through 6th grade students which is chock full of fun activities—all based on the 40 Developmental Assets.  It’s truly incredible to know that so many positive things are happening in my our community.  Action.  Progress.  Impact.  Project Leadership Director, Tammy Pearson, and I used to say we wanted to “be a...

I read this weekly eNewsletter by Jon Gordon called Positive Strategies to Fuel Your Life and Career.  Who wouldn’t want to read that, right? Well, this week, Jon asks us, “So, what does Will Smith have to do with you?” This really caught my attention because lately I can’t stop listening to the MIB3  (Men in Black 3) soundtrack Back in Time by Latin rapper Pitbull. I know, I know…I probably didn’t strike you as a Pitbull fan, did I?  I’m a bit surprised myself, but it’s a catchy tune. In his article Gordon says that Will Smith was once asked by an interviewer how to explain his success.  Smith replied, “I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill.” Ok, not your anticipated reply, but intriguing.  Smith goes on to say that people may be more talented, smarter, or better looking than him, but if you get on a treadmill together you WILL (no pun intended) get off first or he’s going to die. You see, this is what Will Smith knows for sure…he knows that he cannot be outworked.  His strong work ethic is the one constant in his life and he attributes all of his success to...

My husband once said that he hoped our kids would have his IQ, but be as smart as me.  I laughed.  And for good reason.  You see, he’s super smart.  The kind of smart where you never want to be on the opposite team as him in Trivial Pursuit, ever.  Put him on the same team as my brother-in-law Mike and you might as well just hang it up, because you will never win. But, why did he say he wished the kids were as smart as me?  Well, you see, common sense is my super power.  I may not always, or ever, win at Trivial Pursuit, but if you want to get something done, I’m your (wo) man!  All of this talk, combined with the frenzy of our Annual Meeting being held this week, got me thinking.  We’ve been working on this Annual Meeting theme, Many Words of Thanks, to be able to show our donors just how much gratitude we have for each of them.  Really, their generosity is what allows the Foundation to provide scholarships to hundreds and hundreds of students each and every year.  Their generosity is what allows the Foundation to give grants out...

How does a Community Foundation celebrate good times?  Well, while we're no Cool and the Gang, we get the concept of celebrating all of the good things happening in Grant County thanks to the generosity of our donors. Each year we have an Annual Meeting—this year it will be May 17th at 6:00 p.m. at Roseburg.  And, it’s now a tradition to give away $5000 to some lucky donor that can be used to start an endowment or add to their favorite endowment…IF they are present that night. We also honor three Spirit of Philanthropy Award winners for the year.  This year we’ll be celebrating Vectren Foundation for their local work with the Magnificent Se7en Project, Mike McMillen for all he’s done with the United Way, and the Boys and Girls Club for their continued work with the youth of Grant County.  This year our theme is “Words of Many Thanks”.  Why?  Because we should celebrate all of the donors that we have who make the hundreds of scholarships we give possible, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars that are given toward projects and programming in the Grant County area. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.  Why...

Mr. Irrelevant of 2012 is Chandler Harnish.  Now, for all of you out there that aren’t uber-sporty (like me), the prestigious title of Mr. Irrelevant is bequeathed upon the very last player picked in the NFL draft each year. This year, Mr. Irrelevant officially became an Indianapolis Colt; so Hoosiers definitely haven’t heard the last of this Northern Illinois quarterback. But, all of this talk about being irrelevant got me to thinking.  Is it really irrelevant to be the last one picked?  Seems like the very last one picked in the draft would be knighted Mr. Lucky or Mr. Getting-a-fat-paycheck.  Maybe even Mr. ThankGoodness, but not Mr. Irrelevant.  That title should be saved for the first one not picked, right? Well, maybe not.  In the recently published 2011 Indiana Civic  Health Index, it states that Indiana ranked 48th in voter turnout among citizens (age 18+) in 2010, with a turnout rate of 39.4%, six percentage points lower than the national average of 45.5%.  Just so I’m clear here…Out of 50 states, Indiana ranks 48th in voter turnout.  48th!  The last I heard, Indiana is still part of the land of the free and the home of the brave. ...

The Community Foundation had the first board meeting of our new fiscal year last week.  Since we had some new board members joining us, we decided to do a new icebreaker activity to get to know each other a little bit better. However, the icebreaker itself wasn’t new at all.  In fact, we have all probably read about this specific icebreaker at least once a year for many, many years! The question was, “If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would that be and why?”  Sound familiar?  If it does, it’s because the Chronicle-Tribune has highlighted this question annually when we celebrate our Academic Excellence Award winners.   We ask our best and brightest students this question every year.  But personally, I had never answered the question myself…neither had many of our board members, until last Thursday.Some of the answers were funny.  Some were noteworthy.  Others were along the lines of, “Hey, why didn’t I think if that one?”  All were intriguing. Perhaps the most do-able, yet hilarious, was that of one of our CPA’s.  After just surviving another tax season, she was hoping to simply have dinner with her husband and daughter!  Do...

They say 5 out of 4 people have a problem understanding jokes about math.  (Think about it for a minute and then insert gratuitous laughter here.) Seriously though, some math is really hard to comprehend.  But, I’m not talking about algebra, geometry, trigonometry, or even calculus.  I’m talking about that kind of math that you witness in great communities like Grant County.  This is the kind of math that involves the cooperation of many to make one truly great thing happen.  In his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey calls this Synergy.  Synergy is the act of combining energies to accomplish a goal -- working together and making use of all available resources. This week, the Foundation is announcing two examples of this math on steroids concept:  the Synergy 2012 Coach’s Meeting and the Garfield Gardens Groundbreaking.  You’ll find more information about these events in this edition of the eNews.  Both are examples of the huge projects that could never have been done without extreme collaboration of multiple community leaders / community organizations. Synergy 2012 needs coaches, so I hope to you’ll check your calendars to see if you can make the meeting Thursday at 4:30 at...

No doubt many of you have seen The Hunger Games and have heard those famous words spoken by Katniss Everdeen, “I volunteer as tribute.”  (I saw it on opening day and thought it was great, by the way!) However, I wouldn’t recommend the playing of any real Hunger Games in Grant County, nor would I advise anyone to actually volunteer as tribute.  That kind of crazy talk can be left to the movie-makers!   But, making a tribute and volunteering as tribute are two very different things. All this to say that the Foundation Team has been working hard this past week to give our Honorary and Memorial Tributes a much-needed facelift.  After all, the concept of donors making a tribute in honor or in memory of special people in their lives has been around for quite some time.  We’ve received donations to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, honor roll, and various holidays.  Often we’ll receive donations in lieu of flowers to memorialize the loss of a loved that has passed away.  You name it; we’ve probably received a Tribute to commemorate it! But, why make a Tribute?  Well, more often than not, you just know that another gift will just be one more thing to...

A mission is a: a specific task with which a person or a group is charged, b: a pre-established, and often self-imposed, objective or purpose. Theever-present mission statement. Every organization has one.  Maybe even every organization needs one.  But, why?  Because mission statements guide.  They inspire.  They advertise what an organization stands for.  And, they differentiate one organization from every other. Target But, most importantly, mission statements serve as a target.  Yes, a target, as in a bulls-eye. They provide a direction in which you aim for, shoot for, try to hit directly.  Targets are important.  Why?  Because without them you’ll never know if you’re making progress or how accurate the progress is that you’re making.  John Collin’s, in his book Good to Great, refers to the real target in his Hedgehog Concept. Each April the Community Foundation begins a new fiscal year.  Thus, our target for the new year is crucial.  The team here at the Community Foundation is deeply passionate about Grant County.  We believe we can be the best in the world at improving the quality of life right here where we live.  We know that the more our economic engine is primed, the more impact we...