AmandaStPierre“Powering Communities”: Expectations for the Fall Conference

By: Amanda St. Pierre In: 2010 Fall Conference| Community Foundations

2 Sep 2010

For an organization with nearly 50 percent of its assets in discretionary funds (either unrestricted or field of interest funds), we often discuss the sustainability of our model. Generational research tells us that younger donors may not be as trusting of institutions as their previous generations were—and that many of the younger donors prefer to make their own giving decisions and want to see measurable results. We must find the balance between empowering donors to make decisions while still utilizing our internal grantmaking expertise to provide community leadership.

At the Council on Foundations Fall Conference for Community Foundations, I am most looking forward to exploring new ways of thinking about this conundrum. What’s more, I get to start my exploration first thing Monday morning with the compare and contrast between the opening plenary with Charles Best of (and others) and the morning concurrent session called Measuring Progress, Inspiring Action Through Key Indicator Projects. I had the pleasure of attending the Community Foundations of Canada Conference in 2008 where I first learned of the Canadian Vital Signs projects (here’s a great example from the Victoria Foundation). I’m intrigued to see how they are using data to inform and help guide donors giving decisions—seems like great customer service.

I’m also looking forward to the concurrent session titled Not Your Mom’s Engagement Strategy: How to Connect With Your Community in New Ways. I’ve done some research on crowdsourced philanthropy and want to hear more about how other community foundations are using technology in this way and most importantly, making it part of their community leadership work.

On Tuesday, I plan to bounce new ideas from Monday’s sessions around with some of my communications colleagues during the mini-concurrent session titled Meeting Your Community’s Information Needs. This sounds like a great opportunity to learn from one another and talk with technical assistance providers about the steps to move our ideas into action.

If any of this interests you, let’s connect in Charlotte!

Amanda St. Pierre is the public relations and marketing specialist of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation

3 Responses to “Powering Communities”: Expectations for the Fall Conference

Tim Richards

September 7th, 2010 at 10:20 pm

I too look forward to opportunity to gain insights and learn how other CF are adapting to new reality and maximizing impact for community.
developing focus for grant making so as to be catalyst for change not just transactional distribution of funds will be key to really helping opur communities to recover and provide improved quality of life for all. While we have limited discretionary funds (80% of distributions are Donor Advised) we have engages local communities as affiliates to create funds to support local projects and seek how to attract addtional investment for the future. Expec the seessions to kickoff peer discussions that will perculate over the year…

Emily Jones Rushing

September 8th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

What a powerful crowd will be gathering in Charlotte! Great minds from all over the country, joining forces to show the special strengths of community foundations in these challenging times.

Anne-Marie McElrone

September 14th, 2010 at 11:21 am

If you like the Victoria Foundation example and would like to find out more about Canadian indicator projects, check out our national Vital Signs website at You can also follow us on Twitter at CFCVitalSigns or our blog at

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