A Message from Dawn

We have some really big paper at the Community Foundation. It’s lovely and large at a full 11 X 17. We see it make an appearance when we have lofty ideas and need space to organize some equally lofty plans. These are ideas that a mere 8 ½ X 11 could never handle, even on its best day. In fact, sometimes when we get stuck, we simply get the big paper out—it’s magnitude feels like sheer potential. Like anything is possible. That’s when it gets exciting! It’s like we know we’re on the cusp of something great--it’s just, that something great, hasn’t been born yet. Yet. I guess artists probably feel like this a lot. They have ideas. They make something out of nothing. It’s magical how they sit down and invent something that’s never been seen, done, or heard of before. A blank slate. The clean white piece of paper just waiting to turn into something extraordinary. And all it needs is you. You and your wrinkly brain. You and the ideas you brought from a place you visited or lived. You and your memory from long ago and dreams for far from now. You and your willingness to pour whatever...

Please tell me that you also play the New York Times app games like Connections and Wordle! I love them. In fact, it’s the first thing I do each morning. Another fact, if I don’t ‘win’ it may impact my mood that day. Sure, they’re just silly little games, but I want to win! You don’t have to be athletic to be competitive! So, last week some friends and I navigated the rough terrain that is currently known as Upland construction and found a roundabout way to Ivanhoes. Something about ice cream and that strawberry shortcake that made us say ‘challenge accepted’ even with road closures everywhere. It wasn’t long before the topic of Wordle came up. So, I asked one friend what word she used to begin their Wordle game. You see the premise of Wordle is to guess a five-letter word in six tries. Sounds much easier than it really is, trust me! Your first try is a literal guess out of the clear, blue sky.  Some people use the same word to begin each day like it’s a religion. I go rogue and switch it up! But I learned something MAJOR about this game that night at Ivanhoe's.  You see, when...

As you may have heard, this year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Community Foundation—so, we’ve been all-things-80’s around here! Ironically, that’s when "Total Eclipse of the Heart" the single by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler debuted. We had no idea waaay back then that we’d be celebrating a “Total Eclipse of the Sun” in 2024—and apparently, it’s kind of a big deal, especially around these parts of Indiana. You see, Grant County is in the path of totality.  In the 80’s we would have said that was ‘totally tubular’! Can we bring that phrase back in vogue? Anyway, people much smarter than me tell us that being in the path of totality will allow you, and approximately 32 million friends, to experience the moon completely blocking out the sun’s disk. Boom!  In the middle of the day, it will be total darkness for nearly 4½ minutes. That’s almost two minutes longer than the Great American Eclipse of 2017. eclipse | noun | i-ˈklips  1: the total or partial obscuring of one celestial body by another 2: a falling into obscurity or decline As definition #1 from Merriam-Webster states, the moon will totally obstruct the sun, the sky will fall dark, and millions of people will be able to step outside their front doors...

Wheels, wheels, wheels, wheels, wings. Most of us know this feeling well—"the moment of lift" is what Melinda French Gates calls it. You’ve waited on the runway for your turn to take off. Finally, the plane picks up speed—wheels, wheels, wheels, wheels. Sometimes it seems like it takes forever until the wheels finally come off the ground and the wings take over—lift. Other times it’s quicker than you’d ever imagine. But the process is always the same—wheels, wheels, wheels, wheels, wings. Every time I fly, I say those words in my head. And each time I lead a new initiative, I say it, too. Sometimes the lift is quick; most of the time, it’s not. That must be why patience is a virtue. Perhaps I’m not virtuous; patience has never been my strong suit. But in my many years of leadership in Grant County, I’ve learned how to build some lift into those runway moments. And today’s a great day to tell you all about that! Happy International Day of Happiness, Friends! Who knew there was actually a single day in the calendar dedicated to being intentional about celebrating all things happy? I wish I’d thought of it! The truth is, we look...

Remember your first broken heart? I do…vividly.  I was 6-years-old and in Mrs. Leckron’s first grade classroom at Westview Elementary. I folded and traced just like she had taught us, but as I cut the penciled line, I ended up with a perfectly symmetrical broken heart. So, I tried again. This time with determination. This time with feeling. This time with the fold on the correct side of my cut. Success…my very first paper heart. It was like time stood still and for a moment and all was right with the world. I can’t say for sure how many Valentines I sent out that year, but I know every one of them was adorned with a perfectly symmetrical heart—and not one of them was to a spouse! I mean I’m all for a date night with my hawt husband! <hubba, hubba> But, Valentine’s Day should be much more than that! It deserves to be a national reminder highlighted with bold chocolates, italicized with flowers, and underlined with $8 dollar Hallmark cards to show and tell those we love that we love them. That means All The People That We Love! In grade school, we never sent just one Valentine—every kid in the class got one! But somewhere...

I don’t know what holiday traditions you have in your home but every year we could always count on getting new socks and underwear for Christmas. We continued that tradition when our kids were small. Anyone else have that tradition? They called them soft presents. And in case you forgot, most toys aren’t soft, so soft presents weren’t a bit hit back then. Fast forward to this past Christmas, lo and behold, what was on the Christmas list of not one, but both sons? You guessed it, soft presents. I guess once they embarked on adulthood and realized how much those basic items actually cost, they’d much rather get them as gifts vs. use their own discretionary income to buy such things! I get it. But it doesn’t mean I can’t have a little fun with it, too. And you know I like to have fun! So, this year I gave my nieces socks that hold hands. Yeah, you read that right. They can hold hands with each other or with friends that have similar socks. They literally have tiny little magnetic ‘arms’ and when you get close to your own foot or someone else’s foot, Bada-Bing-Bada-Boom, you’re holding hands! How romantic?...

My husband sends me an encouraging text message every day.  Sometimes it’s a funny meme, other times a silly .gif or video, and occasionally—my favorite times—he authors his own creations.  For example, who wouldn’t want to receive a text like this—from anyone—to start your day? Exude awesomeness all over the place like you do every day!!!!!! Love!!!!! See what I mean?  Folks, I married well!  And I’m so grateful to have that man in my corner—best decision I’ve ever made.  Shortly before I took this job, I remember sitting down to talk with him about what was about to happen.  Leadership is hard.  Oftentimes, when you’re truly leading, no one else has forged that path before. So, you walk by faith and experience and a whole lot of intuition—along with the support of those who love you and believe in your ability to be a visioneer—a visionary engineer. After that conversation, I decided to take this awesome job to lead the Community Foundation of Grant County.  I promised him that I wouldn’t drag him along to all the chicken dinners and he promised to back me on the good days and the bad days. Sometimes that support is in the form of a...

As an education major for my undergrad degree, I had to take a music class. Seemed pretty harmless.  I love music. My Spotify playlist right now has all the summer vibes and it’s making me so happy! Little did I know that this specific music professor would require every student to sing on-key in order to get an ‘A’ in the class. Crud, this just got a whole lot harder. It’s likely no surprise to you that I’m a Type A personality—as in, I needed to get all A’s. That was a hyper-vigilant obsession I developed back during my school years that I’ve spent every minute since trying to overcome. I’ve heard the saying “C’s get degrees” plenty of times; after all, what do you call a doctor who got all C’s in school?  Yeah, DOCTOR!  Nonetheless, I was on a mission to learn how to sing on-key. By week 2 of the class, it wasn’t looking good. So, I approached the prof and asked him if he could ‘tutor’ me. He agreed and said that with a bit of his help, I’d be singing on-key by the end of the quarter. From then on, every Tuesday and Thursday after class, I’d...

You see it every day. Two kinds of people are roaming our planet. One type flies by the seat of their pants. They wake up and don’t know exactly what the day will bring. They just see who calls or emails or texts to guide their energy. They have no plans. Life happens to them and they seem just fine with that reactive anti-system. Then you have your planners. They are the ones who have checklists. And the first item on the checklist is ‘make a checklist’. Or they happen to complete some task that wasn’t on the checklist, so they hurry up and write it down so they can gleefully tick it off as complete.  They love a good system and will create one, if needed. And while being hardcore on either side of the planning continuum might not be a healthy best practice, the CoFo team definitely lands on the side of planning our work so we can work our plan. That’s exactly how we completed our last strategic plan one year earlier than projected. Literally, we directed our minutes and our money relentlessly toward achieving our goals. So, then we spent three months working with Wendy Puffer and her awesome...

Eighteen years ago, Jessica Simpson was married to Nick Lachey and asked the world, publicly, if she was eating chicken or tuna because the outside of the tuna can said, ‘Chicken of the Sea’.  That’s when someone in my family might say, ‘You’re so pretty” because it’s a good thing she at least had that going for her, if nothing else. I love to look back at what happened in the years where big things took place in my life.  In fact, my go-to wedding and baby shower gift is one copy of Time Magazine’s Annual ‘The Year in Review’ and one copy of People Magazine’s ‘Yearbook’ for the year their special occasion took place.  I typically order these in January and send them to my friends who were so busy planning for their momentous event the prior year that they might have missed some really big news.  It’s always a hit, unexpected in January long after their occasion took place, and a definite keeper for the time capsule. The year 2005 also brought the premiere of How I Met Your Mother, the oh-so-in-love Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch declaring his undying love of Katie Holmes (Spoiler Alert: ...