David Haskell, former international regional director for Habitat for Humanity, has a unique perspective on networking. “Imagine that you were tiling a floor,” Haskell says. “You could use uniform tiles that all fit together nicely but are rather expensive. Or, if you cannot afford those tiles, you can make a mosaic of discarded tile shards. It winds up far more beautiful and functional than the fine tiles.” Networks function just like the mosaic Haskell described - each piece of the network connects to and supports the other to produce better results than a single organization ever could on its own.
Using a networking approach that embraces collaboration is integral to furthering the field of philanthropy and connecting for the good of communities. I hope you’ll join me next month at the Council on Foundations’ 2013 Fall Conference for Community Foundations: Connecting for Good. I helped design this conference with a team of volunteer foundation executives and the Council staff, and it is with this exact idea in mind - the idea that the contributions of many within the network can promote the greater good - that we’ve launched this year’s fall conference for community foundations.
The conference’s experiential curriculum is rooted in San Diego, and integrates the notion of place as canvas so that attendees can venture deep into the community to gain a comprehensive, aerial-like view of the model of place-based philanthropy. The conference is a unique opportunity to see how diverse organizations working toward a shared vision connect and leverage their individual strengths to reach more efficient and effective solutions, with relevant place-based challenges such as veteran transitions and border relations serving as real time case studies.
It’s a journey that utilizes the San Diego landscape as a compass to connect you with people whose passion lies in implementing solutions for the communities that define our nation. These are the nation’s most innovative thought leaders, thinkers, and strategists; visionaries who are cognizant of the fact that the contributions of their peers are essential to the future success of their own ideas. Collectively, we have the ability to pool our resources and transform into the grounded, firm anchors that our communities can rely on for continued support.
Place-based giving is unique to each place, however, this conference is a chance for all of us to come to San Diego and tap into our shared passion, our commitment, and our abilities. From Learning Tours to a dynamic and patriotic networking event aboard the USS Midway in San Diego’s harbor, we have planned this conference to inspire you and bring us all closer together as community foundations. While each of our respective foundations serves a distinct locale, this conference reminds us that we are all connected and all working together to advance the common good.
John Kobara is Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer at the California Community Foundation, and is serving as the chair of the 2013 Fall Conference for Community Foundations