Monday, April 30, 2012

Mr. Irrelevant

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.  And part of that freedom is the right to vote. 
So the question begs to be asked, “Who will be Mr. Irrelevant in the elections to be held next Tuesday, May 8th or even the next presidential election or the one after that?”

That one is actually an easy one to answer.  Mr. Irrelevant is always the one who doesn’t vote.
So, do your civic duty and go vote next Tuesday.  And, if you’re not registered yet, do it now.  A vote is a terrible thing to waste.

Celebrating Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,

Click here to read the Community Foundation eNewsletter.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are?

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 we have any accountants out there that can relate?  Another accountant stated that she didn’t really want to have dinner with anyone, but maybe Harpo Marx would be a good choice since he doesn’t actually speak.  (Who knew that accountants were so funny?)
Several board members talked about visionary leaders within the business and political genres.  And, many, many more talked about their relatives…parents, grandparents and the like. 

The multiple mentions of family members were interesting to me since I’ve just recently gotten hooked on the new show “Who Do You Think You Are?” produced by Lisa Kudrow (Yes, that’s Phoebe Buffay from Friends fame).
WDYTYA is an American genealogy documentary show that airs each Friday evening in the NBC primetime lineup.  Every episode highlights a celebrity who goes on a journey to trace his or her family tree.

Each family tree is as different as each tree in Matter Park, but all are historically fascinating and, dare I say it, emotionally charged.  Some celebs find out that their relatives had been jailed for horrific crimes.  Others find out that they still have living relatives that they never knew existed.  It’s definitely pretty cool stuff.
All of this has gotten me thinking about the recent deaths we’ve had in our own community in the past three weeks.  Great leaders and philanthropists right here in Grant County.  Men that will be missed by their families and also missed by their community.  But, their imprints on our community are indelible.  They forged paths where there were no paths before.  They were role models for the younger generation.  And, now their legacies lives on.  Let’s do our best not to forget all that they’ve taught us, all that our history has taught us.  We can apply what we’ve learned right here, right now.

My wish would be that if anyone ever asks ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ that we could all answer that we were people who made a difference by giving, living, and loving.
And, if that’s not your answer today, it’s never too late.  We are a work in progress.

Peace and Blessings,
Dawn Pin It

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New Math

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 the Marion Public Library to find out how you can help.  Hopefully, many hands will make light work there on this Olympic-sized event.

The Garfield Garden is a downtown beautification project in the lot north of the Foundation office.  Thanks to the CVB, the City of Marion, and some funds from the Foundation, we’ll be getting our own Garfield and creating a beautiful garden area to highlight it.  We’d love for you to join us on May 1st for the upcoming groundbreaking to celebrate this exciting collaboration.

So, today it’s good news all around.  And, the best news is that you don’t have to understand math to get involved in something bigger than yourself. 

Peace and Blessings,

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I Volunteer as Tribute

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 dust.  And who needs one more thing to dust?  Not me!

This is why Tributes started to gain popularity.  You get to be charitable and select a fund at the Foundation that you think your loved one would really appreciate.  A list of all of our 300 funds can be found on our website at Then, you make a check payable to the Community Foundation and let us know who you’d like remember with a Tribute. 
Once your donation is made, we will send a custom card to the Tribute recipient, or their family, to let them know that you made a Tribute in their name.  The cards are amazing and would be something that I would be proud to receive myself!

It’s really win-win.  You get to make a charitable contribution and the “tributee” feels special and doesn’t have to dust.  That’s definitely worth volunteering to make a tribute!
May the odds be ever in your favor,

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

mis•sion (noun) \ˈmi-shən\

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.

The ever-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.

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 can make.  So, we use our mission, as all quality organizations should, to guide and direct decisions…all of our decisions.
This is why the mission of the Community Foundation of Grant County has always been “to enhance an improved quality of life in Grant County”.  And, this is why each and every decision we make aims directly for that target area.  Just like you, we want what’s best for the place we live, work, play, and worship. 
We do this by continuing to increase endowed assets. The more endowed assets we hold, the more we can distribute to the Grant County community annually.  Currently the Foundation holds nearly $18M in endowed assets and distributes nearly $2M via grants and scholarships annually.

We rely on the generosity of the citizens in our community to help us hit this target each and every year.  If you have an idea of how the Grant County community can improve our quality of life, contact us.  Perhaps you could start a family fund or a fund to support a specific cause in which you are particularly passionate.  You could help us boost our number of funds to over 300 and help us help others.

No matter what the idea, if you have an arrow that can help us hit our target, call us, Facebook, us, tweet us, email us.  Whatever works for you, just contact us in some way, so we can work together to make it happen.  So, as Sitting Bull once said, “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.”
Peace and Blessings,
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