A periodic message from Community Foundation Board Chair, Paul Salina, and President, Jim Williamson
More Than Just Money
Recently I had the opportunity to talk about the Foundation’s work at a “Friend-Raising” reception hosted at the Plainville Historical Society by CFGNB Board member Gail Millerick, and her husband, Bill, President of the New Britain Chamber. While there were some familiar faces in the crowd that evening, most were not. For them, it was probably the first time they’d heard more about the Foundation than just our name or an occasional local grant we’d made.
My role that evening was to talk about the Foundation’s “Beyond Grant Making” efforts-- the things we do that you don’t always read in the paper. I call this philosophy being “More than Just Money.” As one example, I described our partnership, now 4 years old, with Tunxis Community College’s Early Childhood Development Department. Together, we have created a 40-member regional Early Childhood Professional Educator’s Consortium of local day care providers. With Tunxis’ help, and grants from our First Years First Fund, the Consortium helps day care teachers become better trained, enhances curriculum quality and encourages centers to pursue National Accreditation. This is work we are very proud of, but not the kind which attracts sustained media interest (which is why I talked about it that night in Plainville and again here.)
Along the same “Beyond Grant Making” lines, I had the pleasure of representing the Foundation recently at the One Year Anniversary of the New Britain Academy of Health Professions (a “school-within-a-school”) at New Britain High School. The Academy introduces students to the broad opportunities of healthcare careers and uses a nationally-tested curriculum to help prepare students for these careers. This initiative has been supported by the Mayor, School District, local business community and, most importantly, has received direct financial support from two major area healthcare employers; the Hospital of Central Connecticut and the Hospital for Special Care.
Our role has been as a member of the Academy’s Executive Committee, working with others to raise private funds for the program’s start-up and assisting with long-range planning. It’s been extremely gratifying to be a part of a school-community partnership which will so positively impact the lives of New Britain’s young people for many years to come. I know that the whole community will be strengthened by this effort and we’ve been privileged to play a small role.
In so many ways, I think this is the best kind of work your Community Foundation can do – far better than simply sending a grant check along with a letter of “best wishes for success”. Rolling up your sleeves along side others, finding common ground on complex issues and working to create promising solutions multiplies the impact of our funds in a way that is incalculable to a community and its sense of hope for the future. Can it get any better than that?
And, in this season of giving and giving thanks, having the opportunity to be “More than Just Money” is something for which we are exceedingly grateful. We believe that philosophy aligns with our Foundation’s deep desire to have real impact in everything we do and makes the best use of our outstanding volunteer and staff resources. I believe it’s what you would expect of us. I know it’s what we strive to accomplish every day.