Thursday, May 31, 2012

Stop. Collaborate and Listen.

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 verb”!  We like to see things cross the finish line.
Recently, I attended a state conference for community foundations and heard Keira Amstutz from the Indiana Humanities Council speak.  Now Kiera is a verb if there ever was one.  The mere title of her speech inspired me: “If we don’t do it, who will?” 

Good question.  As Vanilla Ice would say, we have to “Stop. Collaborate and Listen.”  There is no ‘they’.  It’s us. 
Do you want graduation rates to improve?  How about improving economic development?  A reduction in crime?  Well, stop talking about it and find out how to collaborate with and listen to others who share your passion.    

On a recent trip to New York City, our tour guide recited this Theodore Roosevelt quote that is held in the American Museum of Natural History.  It takes Vanilla Ice’s “Stop.  Collaborate and Listen” sentiment to a whole new level.  It’s entitled The Critic and is one that I will be memorizing.

"It is not the critic who counts:
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles
or where the doer of deeds could have done better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood,
who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again,
because there is no effort without error or shortcoming,
but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions,
who spends himself for a worthy cause;
who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement,
and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
who knew neither victory nor defeat."
"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910
The Works of Theodore Roosevelt

Don’t spend your time with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.  Go out there and be a verb!

Peace and Blessings,

Dawn

Click here to view the Community Foundation's eNewsletter.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I’m Not Afraid to Die on a Treadmill

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 that one thing.

So, what’s the moral of this story?  Well, obviously Will Smith believes that hard work pays off.  And he has a good track record to prove just that.

But, ultimately, I believe it has a charity moral as well.  You see, just like it’s not always the most talented, smartest, best looking actors that make it in Hollywood, it’s also not always the one with the most well-known last name, the professional athlete with the biggest contract, or the business tycoon that is the most generous.  Sometimes it’s just the people that care the most.

And when you really care about something, you give your time, you give your expertise, you share your experiences, and you donate financially to make a difference.  In other words, you will die before you give up and get off of that treadmill.

What do you care about that much?

Something to think about,

Dawn

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What's Your Super Power?

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 quarterly to non-profits all across Grant County.  Generosity is their super power.

We just couldn’t do it without all of our superheroes.  What’s your super power?  Figure it out and use it.
Peace, Blessings, and Common Sense,
Dawn

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Celebrate Good Times, Come On


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 shouldn’t we celebrate philanthropy and generosity?  Margaret Meade once said, "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Well, we agree.  So, RSVP today at 662.0065 or at wordsofthanks@comfdn.org to help us celebrate good times.  Come on!

Click here for more information.

Hope to see you there,

Dawn

Click here to read the Community Foundation eNewsletter.
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