Although we can’t claim to be rocket scientists like those at NASA, it doesn’t mean there’s no science behind our business model. In fact, over 850 community foundations in the USA do three main things:
Asset development sounds like it’s about money, but it’s really all about people—think philanthropic astronauts. Like astronauts, assets are often raised through remarkable individuals who often dedicate a large portion of their lives to ensure a better future for others—oftentimes people they may never even meet. Without our first donation of $40,000 from the Gannett Foundation and the generosity of thousands of donors since, we couldn’t serve the various needs that Grant County has today. Their investment toward a better tomorrow is what inspires others. Truth be told, it inspires us, too.
When people think community leadership, they often think about the noun—the leaders. But, in reality, it’s about the verb—the leadership. A rocket on the launchpad doesn’t do much good, does it? It’s when there’s liftoff that things really start getting good! Community leadership works in much the same way. There will always be meetings and planning and talking and researching, but real change happens after liftoff—that’s when systemic problems meet systemic solutions. Community Foundations across the country have always leveraged their most exceptional leaders because leadership is an action verb.
Grantmaking is our rocket fuel. Our difference-making donors leave their legacies through named funds to benefit specific grantmaking purposes. The Foundation currently holds over 400 individual funds that are as unique and varied as our donors. And, because our mission is to build the community’s endowment, each dollar donated is invested for long-term growth. That growth turns into grantmaking—rocket fuel that turbo-boosts our entire community. Endowment is what jet-propels our sustainability and relevance—every donation is invested, and the growth of our investments allow us to deploy grantmaking dollars to the most significant needs during any given year.