Celebrating 100 years of community philanthropy

October 29, 2014 at 12:41 pm Leave a comment

headshot of suzanne allenCleveland, 100 years later, continues to serve as the focal point of the community foundation world. Since the inception of the idea of a community of people making small gifts to create change on a large scale – to the gathering of over 1,500 people to share ideas about the changing community foundation world – Cleveland has been in the spotlight.

The Council on Foundation’s fall conference for community foundations was a grand statement to the important role community foundations have in “placed-based” giving. And for me, it was a wonderful opportunity to connect with many friends from Ohio’s community foundations and those in our neighboring states, as well.

stage lit up at conferenceIt also reinforced for me the importance of collaboration and sharing our successes and failures with each other as an experiential learning exercise.

A gathering of community foundation leaders from Ohio, Michigan and Indiana made it clear that while our communities may be different, the roles of our community foundations are remarkably similar: to discover and understand the differences; to challenge the status quo; and to be the change agent and problem solver each community needs.

Thanks to Suzie Light, executive director of the Kosciusko County Community Foundation in Indiana; Carla Roberts, president & CEO of Fremont Area Community Foundation in Michigan; and Keith Burwell, president and CEO of Ohio’s Toledo Community Foundation; for their panel discussion demonstrating how they play these roles so effectively in their communities.

clevefdnAnd kudos to the team from The Cleveland Foundation  and other Ohio foundations for their work in making this conference a stellar event, reinforcing the role of Cleveland in this philanthropic movement.

The community foundation field continues to grow, both predictably and in nuanced ways, and Philanthropy Ohio remains committed to serving these needs. We are dedicated to engaging, listening and developing learning opportunities to help all our members become problem solvers. In The Cleveland Foundation video,  which won an award at the conference, Frederick Goff (the founder of the Cleveland Foundation in 1914) said that the role of a community foundation is to identify the causes of a problem, like poverty, and then “fix it.”

Each week, we share news about the “fixers” and problem solvers in Ohio in our news digest. [Sign up to receive our news digest.] We love hearing your stories about the meaningful work you do in your communities and your regions. At the end of the day, it’s what we all appreciate… making a difference.

Congratulations to the field of community philanthropy, happy first 100 years!

suzanne signed in blue ink



Suzanne T. Allen, Ph.D.


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