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Summoned to Washington

Posted on Dec 5, 2014, by

IIMG_1028 just experienced what “being summoned to the White House” feels like.

On Dec. 2, I and about 100 colleagues from across the country in the community foundation field, convened with White House officials for the first time. This event marked the 100th anniversary of community foundations. Our foundation ranks in size among the top 60 of more than 800 nationally.

President Obama said in a statement that “community foundations promote accountability and effectiveness in charitable giving, and the investments these organizations make today help find solutions that will shape the Nation we leave to our daughters and sons.

“I am deeply grateful to those who demonstrate the power we each hold to make a lasting difference in the lives of other,” he continues. “As you reflect on 100 years of helping families thrive and communities prosper, I wish everyone gathered the very best and look forward to the next century of impact.”

It is clear to me that our federal government officials now have a fresh perspective for how local communities are changed for the better through their community foundations. We were challenged to be the R&D for the social sector to develop the ideas that work. And to share them with one another and with government officials with the ability to help the most promising ideas achieve a scale and impact beyond the reach any of us can achieve on our own.

This conversation helped me to understand more clearly that our community foundation is on the right track. We know we are here to help and partner with people to make a bigger impact with their giving than they could do on their own. In community work nationally and locally, today’s reality is that our biggest challenges are so great and complex  that we need all sectors to work together to build the community we aspire to be. Let’s do this together.

Curt Detjen is President/CEO of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. Email him at [email protected].

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