In the late 1990s, a group of committed community foundation leaders had a dream for the future of the field and set a course to make that dream a reality. The Committee on Community Foundations went through a “revolution” of sorts, morphing into the Community Foundation Leadership Team (CFLT) as we know it today.
As the changes were taking hold, two major developments unfolded.
One was the articulation of values that helped define community foundations. It led to the standards that shape and guide the field today. The other was the creation of courses designed to provide staff and board members a solid knowledge base regarding community foundations. This professional development program is called the Center for Community Foundation Excellence.
Basic Fundamentals was the first course developed. Other specialized courses were created in the areas of finance and administration, resource development, and community leadership. The course Basic Fundamentals is designed to provide newer staff and board members key information about the field, as well as a review of the legal issues relevant to all community foundations.
Mary Jalonick, president of The Dallas Foundation, and I, as president of Grand Rapids Community Foundation, recently had the pleasure of again teaching the two-day Basic Fundamentals at the Council on Foundations offices in Crystal City, Virginia. We shared a mountain of critical information through presentations and interactive exercises that brought to life the experiences and scenarios facing community foundations.
The class members were from every corner of the United States and represented both small and larger community foundations. The group actively participated and presented thoughtful and enthusiastic questions.
The Basic Fundamentals course implies an introduction to community foundations. It is anything but. It represents a firm foundation to start any career in the dynamic field of community foundations.
Diana Sieger is president of Grand Rapids Community Foundation