The Impact of Time

Brian Treece photo
Brian Treece - President & CEO of The Community Foundation

Over the last few years, The Community Foundation has been working on a big project. Not only did it take two years, but this project took more than 1,000 people and resulted in 2,500 data points to comb through.

What We Did

In 2022, The Community Foundation launched a second iteration of Community Conversations. In 2017, the community came together to identify shared priority areas to address together. In 2022 and 2023, we took the conversations a step further to develop actions. And since those conversations, much work has been happening with so many groups behind the scenes.

Also, the Foundation collaborated with several partners to reference their community studies, like the Community Health Improvement Plan, Findlay Forward Plan and more, to develop its report and a list of actions.

What We Learned

The two tiers of priorities the community developed in 2017 were affirmed and expanded. The asterisk notes new priorities added to the list in 2022-23.

  • Tier I: housing, mental health/harmful substance use, safety, transportation, workforce/financial stability.
  • Tier II: childcare, community activities, diversity/equity/inclusion/belonging, education, food security*, health/health equity*, youth activities/services*.

To summarize, the greatest needs remain consistent. The additions reflect the ever-changing landscape of needs in our community.

What’s Next

So many community members invested their time in this project, and we don’t take that lightly. The Foundation staff, board and committee members have spent time digesting the results and brainstorming how to use the information to make change in the community.

Our action plan is broken up into three areas of our work: advocacy, grantmaking and leadership. There are several actions in each area, which you can read about in the full report, but I wanted to share one with the community. In grantmaking, the Foundation is committing to dedicate a minimum of $1 million in the community’s endowment funds to support priority areas annually.

What’s the Impact

Community’s Endowment funds are awarded through the Foundation’s responsive grants program. The organization seeking funds applies through our online system, and grants are awarded by the Foundation’s grants committee and board. Of the approximately $4.5 million we award annually, about $2.5 million is granted through the responsive grant program.

By dedicating at least half of our available grant dollars to priority areas, the Foundation is making a meaningful investment every year, an investment that is guided by your input.

To give you an idea of what these projects could look like, here are a few examples of grants made by the Foundation in these priority areas since 2022:

  • $100,000 for the SafeDefend™ active shooter protection system (safety, education)
  • $35,000 for a community health fair (mental health, health)
  • $250,000 for Martha’s House, City Mission’s shelter for women with children (housing)
  • $6,689 for a community childcare study (childcare)

There are many more examples since we first prioritized these areas in 2018. We know just how important the work in these fields will be, and we’re looking forward to partnering with the coalitions and organizations spearheading the efforts.

Click here to read either of the Community Conversations reports.

This editorial was originally printed in The Courier Friday, March 29, 2024.

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