I recently hit my 100 day mark as the president/CEO of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF). During my 25 years in this region, (I was formerly the president/CEO of The Children’s Home of Cincinnati) I’ve come to appreciate its many assets.
As the new leader of GCF, I see these assets – and our opportunities – as never before. While I knew this role would provide a bird’s-eye view on the region, I appreciate the magnitude more and more with each passing day.
As a community foundation, we exist to leverage our donors’ generosity into solutions to our region’s problems, to support and enhance its great assets and to create a more prosperous community. Our perspective on the many regional initiatives launched to address issues such as education, arts and culture, the environment, human services and economic development is both broad and deep, and we want to share our knowledge with our donors in support of their determining how best to deploy their charitable resources.
What I have come to understand more than anything in the past 100 days is that GCF’s unique place and opportunity is in being donor-driven. We are known for our leadership as a critical funder, but how we lift this community must be determined in partnership with our donors. A community foundation is developed by and for a community of people. Helping donors most effectively invest their charitable resources in the areas for which they are most passionate is the engine of our work.
I am inspired to work with our donors and the community to demonstrate the power of philanthropy – together.
Last week at Philanthropy Forward ’15 in Cincinnati, we celebrated philanthropy and presented three awards to individuals who are advancing the field and doing some really great things. The annual Philanthropy Awards this year honored a lifetime achievement honoree, an emerging philanthropist and an honoree who celebrates and is dedicated to improving diversity, equity and inclusion.
Philanthropy Ohio congratulates these individuals and we’re delighted to celebrate their accomplishments!
Ohio Philanthropy Award
Gordon B. Wean, chair of the Raymond John Wean Foundation and board member of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, has won the 2015 Ohio Philanthropy Award. “Gordon realized early on that grantmaking in the Mahoning Valley had to change in order to be effective and meaningful. His vision transformed the Wean Foundation from one that supported the family’s personal interests to one that now provides benefits to a diverse array of nonprofit organizations and has become a leading force in the Mahoning Valley for building community and facilitating change,” said his nominator.
In his role as board member of the local community foundation, Gordon was instrumental in transitioning the foundation from one focused on attracting funds to one focused on strategic philanthropy and community impact, says Shari Harrell, president of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley (CFMV). “He led CFMV’s strategic planning process in 2011 and continually brings new ideas and energies to committees and the board,” she noted.
Gordon also served on the Philanthropy Ohio board for nine years, which he chaired in 2012 and 2013. While chair, he led the organization through a strategic planning process that resulted in new membership categories and a name change.
Michael G. Shinn Award for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Philanthropy
Kristi Andrasik, program officer at The Cleveland Foundation, is the first recipient of the newly-established Michael G. Shinn Award for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Philanthropy. The Philanthropy Ohio Board of Trustees created the award to honor Shinn, who died earlier this year. He chaired the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, taking on primary responsibility for guiding the organization’s work in this arena.
Cleveland-area colleagues who nominated Kristi wrote of her professional and personal commitment to making philanthropy more inclusive and equitable. Since joining the foundation three years ago, Kristi has focused on helping the Cleveland LGBT community mobilize resources and strengthen community infrastructures to prepare for the 2014 Gay Games and improve the well-being of Greater Cleveland’s LGBT residents.
One of her nominators described her impact, saying that she “helped frame Gay Games 2014 as more than just a game but as a movement – one that ushered in a greater level of awareness and acceptance of LGBT issues. In every exchange, Kristi is always mindful of the implications of the work in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion outcomes.” Another peer remarked that “Kristi has made it her mission to strive for equity, which I believe to be a daunting task. I have witnessed Kristi build bridges between philanthropy and non-profit organizations to be inclusive and dedicated to diversity.”
Emerging Philanthropist Award
High school sophomore Connor Reed Thomas is this year’s Emerging Philanthropist Award honoree. Connor attends Goshen High School in Loveland, Ohio, where he serves as class president, holds a 4.3 grade point average and is a star athlete in football and track and field. Outside of school, his philanthropic passion is in raising funds to support veterans and the military, most recently organizing a 5K run that raised $10,000 for homeless veterans suffering from addiction. He is also active in programs that send care packages to troops and runs a website devoted to military heroes.
The Philanthropy Ohio award is just the latest in a long list of awards and citations Connor has garnered so far for his volunteer efforts. The Army Chief of Staff, Governor Kasich and Cincinnati’s Mayor Granley are but a few of those who have recognized him for dedication and accomplishments.
Congratulations to all three recipients for their outstanding contributions to their communities!
Claudia Y.W. Herrold
I’m writing today’s post from our new Columbus offices, the third since I began my career here at Philanthropy Ohio in November 1998. We’d been in that space for 15 years, so you can imagine how much stuff we’d accumulated that had to be sorted, tossed and packed.
Our new space is south of the downtown core, in the Brewery District, and still just minutes from the Statehouse and many of our members’ offices. Since we moved in two weeks ago, we’ve unpacked most of the boxes, have a functioning kitchen and technology and are rapidly getting settled in. Which is all good news, since we head to Cincinnati on Wednesday morning to hold our Philanthropy Forward ’15 conference.
While the space is about the same size of our previous office, moving allowed us to better configure our cubicles and offices for more collaborative work, build out a conference room/innovation space in which to hold board and member meetings and showcase our brand and values. We’ll have an open house later in the fall so everyone can see our new digs.
Just as in any move, whether commercial or residential, we learned a few things over the past weeks.
First, find and rely on the experts. We had great help in finding the office space, with numerous trips with our agent, Dan, cheerfully hauling us to different parts of the city to view potential space. He even washed his car for us, during those snowy, gritty days when we sloshed through typical Ohio winter weather. And, as he informed us early on, he had never missed a move-in date and he didn’t intend for ours to be his first – and he didn’t. His expert scheduling during the build-out kept everyone on track and informed.
Still, something will go wrong. That refrigerator that looked so great at the big box store? When delivered, we discovered the doors opened smack into the cabinet and counter. So, back it went, and a new one was purchased and delivered two days later.
We also learned that one person needs to “own” the move – and for us, it was Steve Phallen, our vice president for finance and administration. We crowned him King of the Move in recognition of the great job he did managing all aspects of the move while keeping up with all his other tasks. We knew he could juggle (really, he has a juggling ball set in his office) and have a new appreciation for how well and calmly he managed the move.
Moves and change are stressful but also invigorating and refreshing. Our new space, along with a new strategic action plan crafted for the next three years (more on that later), we’re excited and poised to pursue a future of empowering our members to achieve greater impact in their communities.
Stop by for a visit,
Claudia Y.W. Herrold
Ohio’s largest gathering of people engaged in philanthropy is just a few weeks away and it is bigger and better than ever.
Building on the success of past conferences – including incorporating adult learning techniques, more time for networking and lots of interaction in workshops – the planning committee and staff have developed a three-day event that offers something for everyone who invests time, expertise and resources to help communities become strong, thriving places in which to live and work.
Here are the top 5 reasons you should attend:
Develop your leadership capacity and strengths with Paul Schmitz, CEO of Leading Inside Out.
Socialize with peers during the Oktoberfest Welcome Party at the iconic 21 C Museum Hotel.
Learn alongside other smart Ohio philanthropy colleagues in 27 breakout sessions and deep dives on everything from investments to cross-sector partnerships.
So if you are interested in building the network, tools and knowledge that will help you become a more effective, powerful change agent in your community, register today while there are still hotel rooms and conference seats available.
See you in Cincinnati,
Claudia Y.W. Herrold
This statement has stuck with me since reading it in a recent GEO publication, probably because of two things: first, I was reading it on the way to the annual conference for staff of regional associations like Philanthropy Ohio, where I hoped to learn from and with my colleagues. Second, I had just sent the final copy of our own conference brochure to print, both of which led me to think about the importance of professional development, whether that happens in formal ways – like conferences and webinars – or informally as I network with colleagues and members working in the philanthropic sector.
My hopes were realized at the conference I attended with 150 of my peers (about 40 percent of those eligible to attend – did I mention that we’re a small niche of the nonprofit sector? There are only 33 regional associations of grantmakers spread across the U.S., but we’re the largest philanthropic network with over 5,000 grantmaking organization members.)
So what did I learn?
- I learned about a different way to think about and organize setting goals and assessing outcomes from David Grant as he shared the framework and tools from his book, The Social Profit Handbook. A lively and engaging presenter, David was the president and CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation for 12 years, a teacher at heart, world traveler and committed social change agent.
- As usual, my peers from across the country helped me think about how to do my day-to-day work better, whether it was during the 50 Shades of Engagement or job-alike breakout sessions.
- I built my network of professional colleagues, meeting many new people and reconnecting with some seasoned veterans (there were six of us there who have worked at regional associations since the 1990s – we’re taking suggestions for our quintessential theme song).
- And, there was plenty of time to socialize and relax as we explored Baltimore restaurants near the harbor, with an emphasis on seafood and wine.
As I head into the final days leading up to our conference in mid-September, it of course occurs to me that these are the same kinds of experiences and learnings that I hope our conference registrants are looking forward to – and will realize. Our thought leaders, Innovation / Flip Lab, deep dive sessions, networking breaks and Oktoberfest welcome party will all come together to provide Ohio’s philanthropic sector with a great learning experience that will help create lasting progress on the issues we all care about. See you there!
Claudia Y.W. Herrold